Monday, June 24, 2013

Maximilian Monday: On Suffering.

There are times in life where we feel sorrow and pain, suffering and loss. It has been a part of us ever since sin entered into the world. Though times may get bad, and trials come our way, it is always important to remember that we are called to pick up our own cross and follow the path set before us by Our Blessed Lord. We have an opportunity to take the crosses presented to us in life, and unite them to that ultimate sacrifice at Calvary, where a fountain was opened to purify us from sin and uncleanness. This is a topic many shy away from, but not St. Maximilian Kolbe. This is what he says about suffering, in union with Our Lady:

"Notwithstanding its being paved at times with crosses and sufferings, the way of the Immaculata is not so difficult, so dark, so unclear that we can always feel her motherly warmth.

A cross consists of two pieces of wood, crossed at one point. In every day life our cross consists in our will crossing the will of God. In order to remove it, it is necessary to conform ourselves to the will of God. In practice it is necessary that we put off our own will.

The saints did not understand life without suffering.

Suffering for love nourishes love.

Let us not always wish to feel the sweetness of devotion to the Immaculata, for this would be spiritual greed. Let us permit her to direct us as it pleases her. It is not always time for sweet caresses, be they ever so holy. We also need the trials of dryness, abandonment and the like. Let her fit the means to our sanctification according to her will. We must have one quality, continually deepening it: allowing ourselves to be led by her, reconciling ourselves to her will ever more perfectly, giving obedience to her will.

Whoever in life strives to avoid crosses as much as possible and does not mortify himself in anything does not know what happiness is.

Whoever is capable of suffering much for love can be happy that his love is deep.

As the harvest is a period of the farmer's greatest efforts in gathering crops into barns and storerooms, so also the soul's harvest is the time in which it can gather for itself as many priceless merits as possible; these are the moments pregnant with suffering and the cross.

If God visits us with a painful suffering and our soul walks the thorny path, it behooves us to rejoice that God destines us for high perfection.

God exhibits a special love for those whom He chastises in this life, because the punishment of purgatory is both long and severe. In this life the voluntary acceptance of crosses merits us an even greater glory in Heaven. Hence the saying, "Whom God loves He chastises."

The more powerful and courageous a soul becomes with the help of God's grace, the greater the cross God places on its shoulders, so that it might mirror as closely as possible the image of the crucified in its own life.

We will lay up so many more graces if, while in external and internal darkness, full of sadness, overworked, suffering, without consolation, persecuted at every step, amidst continual failures, abandoned by everyone, ridiculed, alone- just as Jesus was on the Cross- we shall pray for everyone and strive in all ways to draw everyone to God through the Immaculata and unite them to him as intimately as possible.

If a sailor wants to sail against a current, he must continually row, otherwise the current will push him back. When we become tired, when it is hard for us, let us go to the Mother of God with greater confidence so that she will help us. And always, always forward, so as to fulfill the will of the Immaculata better and better.

Suffering and sacrifice are the proofs of love, although suffering itself is not the essence of love.

Without sacrifice there is no love.

In case of difficulties, confide them to the Immaculata, that she do with them what she pleases: remove them, lessen them, increase them, or leave them without change.

Difficulties, no matter how great, ought never disturb us, but they should on the contrary strengthen and steel our will in the direction to overcome these same difficulties.

When the most varied temptations, trials befall the soul; when it is abandoned and plunged into spiritual darkness; when it as it were hangs upon the cross without respite and consolation, after the pattern of Jesus crucified, and in spite of this, with the help of God's grace peacefully and joyously received and bears this cross even for a long time: this is true perfection. A soul cannot imagine to what great heights it rises and what a great glory God is preparing for it in heaven.

When love encompasses and penetrates us, sacrifices become necessary for the soul.

Spiritual joy is born of sacrifice.

Let us remember that love lives and nourishes itself on sacrifices. Let us thank the Immaculata for interior peace and for the exaltation of love, but let us not forget that all this, however good and beautiful, is not as it were the essence of love. Without all of this love can exist, and even a perfect love. Love's summit is the state in which Jesus on the cross said, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?"

Although storms rage around us often and thunder resounds, if we are unreservedly dedicated to the Immaculata we can be sure that nothing will happen to us as long as our best and dearest mother will not allow it. We shall rest sweetly as we labor and suffer for the salvation of souls.

Crosses may overwhelm us, but the grace of God, having warmed our hearts, will inflame them with such love that we will burn with the desire of suffering, of suffering without bounds, of humiliations, mockery, abandonment. Thus we will show how we love the Father and our best friend Jesus and His dearest Immaculate Mother. For suffering is the school of love.

What peace and happiness will penetrate us on our deathbed to know that we have much, very much toiled and suffered for the Immaculata."

As St. Maximilian Kolbe once said, "For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more."

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