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Thursday, September 20, 2018

St. John Paul: Suffering Is A Cause For Joy, Not Sorrow

The Pope wished to come among you to tell you that Christ, who is always close to those who suffer, calls you to him. Even more: to tell you that you are called to be “other Christs” and to take part in his mission of redemption. And what is holiness if not to imitate Christ, and identify with him? Those who approach suffering with a purely human vision cannot understand its meaning and can easily fall into despair; at most they may reach a point of accepting it with a melancholy resignation to the inevitable. We Christians, on the other hand, instructed in faith, know that suffering – if we offer it to God – can transform us into an instrument of salvation and put us on a pathway to sanctity, which leads us to Heaven. For a Christian, suffering is a cause not for sorrow but for joy: the joy of knowing that on the Cross of Christ every one of our sufferings has a redeeming value.

Today, too, the Lord calls us saying “Come unto me, who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Therefore, turn your gaze to him, in the sure hope that he will give you relief, that in him you will find consolation. Do not be afraid to show him your sufferings, and sometimes even your solitude; offer him this together with your your daily crosses, large and small, and so – even if they frequently seem to you unbearable – they will not weigh you down, because it is Christ himself who will carry them for you: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Following Christ on this path, you will feel the inner joy of doing God's will. It is a joy that is compatible with sorrow because it is the joy of the children of God, who know they are called to follow more nearly on the road to Golgotha.

- Pope St. John Paul the Great