Walking in the Faith that Saves Us
The love of God does not consist in mere words, but in sorrow and bitter sufferings, in being despised by the world, abandoned by all creatures, and it may seem, at times, in the withdrawl of even our Creator’s favor. In spite of all these trials, the Christian’s courage must be firm; he must not complain, nor lose heart; he should imitate the martyr who, while they were disemboweling him and tearing the flesh from his bones with iron hooks, had no word on his lips but the Name of Jesus, nor any thought in his heart but “Blessed be God.”
He was willing and resolute to bear even greater torments, if it pleased God to send them. Affliction, when borne for Christ, is both a gift and a grace, which he only bestows on his favorites…
Let us strive to be martyrs by patience, for though our pains may be less severe, they yet last longer. We ought not to wish for a happy life, but prefer a martyrdom on earth; it was our Lord’s portion, and he wishes ours to be the same. Some have died as martyrs for the faith, and others have gone to heaven without doing so, but we must all be martyrs of love, if we wish to arrive there. This love must be a torment and a pain to us, because of the offence given to God by ourselves and others; it must deprive us of all comfort in life, and load our shoulders with the cross. It must make us embrace hardships and overcome them by the burning charity God has kindled in us. This love so carries us out of ourselves that it make us perfectly insensible to dishonor, as wine takes away the reason of a drunkard. Like all strong affection, it makes a man forget himself; and care only for his Beloved, who in this case is God himself, and his most holy will…We cannot fully realize the strength of the love which tortures us here, and will console us in the next world. Let us believe what God has told us of it, and walk in the faith of his Word, for we have still a long journey before us.