Learning to Suffer Well
To suffer gladly when we must for the love of others is indeed not only the closest imitation of Christ, it is the essence of our own Christhood; but when Christ is formed in us (as he certainly is when we have learnt that much about suffering) we shall have a desire to adore God. This is bound to be so, because our minds will be like Christ’s mind. We shall desire to be grateful, to respond for every good thing, every flower or star, every moment spent happily, we shall want to thank someone, we shall want to be conscious of the presence of One whom we can love without measure, in whom we can delight without fear of loss, in whom ultimately our griefs will be lost as a flame is lost in the light of the sun—in a word, we shall want to adore. This is certain, for Christ’s intellect was concentrated wholly on adoration of his Father; therefore he did not only pray, he made himself a sacrifice, the most complete adoration; the sacrifice of the cross.
This we also can do through our suffering. Adoration—were it widespread on earth—would not only use, as it were, this great burden of grief that is everywhere, it would lift it and put it on the plane of joy, for it would gradually draw every heart to the light of God, making us conscious of him in everything, and in him there is our only lasting joy.
Here, then, are reasons to learn to suffer well, natural and supernatural. We increase human happiness by allowing suffering to enrich our natures; we grow in understanding, pity and natural love; we pay our share for the debt of sin; we grow in Christhood and have the power of Christ to move God. We keep Christ’s Passion ever before God’s eyes, and finally, with the very heart and mind of Christ, we adore God.