You spoke about the scenes in the life of Jesus which moved you most: when he met men suffering greatly… when he brought peace and health to those whose bodies and souls were racked with pain… You were inspired — you went on — seeing him cure leprosy, restore sight to the blind, heal the paralytic at the pool: the poor beggar forgotten by everybody. You are able to contemplate Him as He was, so profoundly human, so close at hand!
—Well… Jesus continues being the same as then.
You asked Our Lord to let you suffer a little for Him. But when suffering comes in such a normal, human form — family difficulties and problems… or those thousand awkward things of ordinary life — you find it hard to see Christ behind it. —Open your hands willingly to those nails… and your sorrow will be turned into joy.
Don’t complain if you suffer. It is the prized and valued stone that is polished.
Does it hurt? —Allow yourself to be cut, gratefully, because God has taken you in his hands as if you were a diamond. An ordinary pebble is not worked on like that.
Those who flee like cowards from suffering have something to meditate on when they see the enthusiasm with which other souls embrace pain.
There are many men and women who know how to suffer in a Christian way. Let us follow their example.
You complain? And you tell me you have reason to complain: One pinprick after another!…
—But do you not realise that it is silly to be surprised at finding thorns among roses?
Let me continue, as I have always done, to speak to you confidentially. For not to have the heart to talk about my own sufferings it is enough to have a Crucifix in front of me… And I don’t mind adding that I have suffered a lot, though always cheerfully.
Are you misunderstood? He was the Truth and the Light, but not even those close to him understood him. —As I have asked you so often before, remember Our Lord’s words: “The disciple is not greater than his Master.”
For a son of God, contradictions and calumnies are what wounds received on the battlefield are for a soldier.
They say this and that about you… But what does your good name matter?
In any case don’t feel ashamed or sorry for yourself, but for them: for those who ill-treat you.
Sometimes they didn’t want to understand: it is as if they were blind… But sometimes it has been you who did not manage to be understood properly. You must change that!
It is not enough to be right. You have to know how to prove it and others should want to recognise the truth.
However, state the truth whenever necessary, without bothering about “what they will say”.
If you frequent the Master’s school, you will not be surprised at also having to fight against the misunderstandings of so very many people who could help you a great deal if only they made the effort to be a bit more understanding.
You have not ill-treated him physically… But you have ignored him so often; you have looked at him with indifference, as if he were a stranger.
—Isn’t that harm enough!
Without wanting to, persecutors sanctify… —But woe to these “sanctifiers”!
On earth, one is very often rewarded with calumny.
There are souls who seem bent on inventing sufferings, on torturing themselves with their imagination.
Afterwards, when objective sorrows and contradictions come their way, they do not know how to be like the Most Holy Virgin at the foot of the Cross with her eyes fixed on her Son.
Sacrifice, sacrifice! It is true that to follow Jesus Christ is to carry the Cross — He has said so. But I don’t like to hear souls who love Our Lord speak so much about crosses and renunciations, because where there is Love, it is a willing sacrifice — though it remains hard — and the cross is the Holy Cross.
—A soul which knows how to love and give itself in this way, is filled with peace and joy. Therefore, why insist on “sacrifice”, as if you were seeking consolation, if Christ’s Cross — which is your life — makes you happy?
We could get rid of so much neurosis and hysteria if people were taught — together with Christian doctrine — really to live as Christians: loving God and knowing how to accept things that annoy us as a blessing from His hand!
Do not pass by a neighbour’s affliction with indifference. That person — a relative, a friend, a colleague… someone you don’t know — is your brother.
—Remember the Gospel story you have heard so often with sadness: not even the relatives of Jesus trusted Him. —Make sure the scene is not repeated.
Imagine that on earth there was only God and you.
—Thus it will be easier to bear with mortifications and humiliations. And, in the end, you will do the things God wants and in the way He wants.
That sick person, consumed by a zeal for souls, said: sometimes the body protests a little and complains, but I also try to transform “those moans” into smiles, because then they become very effective.
An incurable illness restricted his movements. And yet he cheerfully assured me: “The illness suits me well and I love it more all the time. If I were given the choice, I would be born again this way a hundred times!”
Jesus came to the Cross, after having prepared himself for thirty three years, all his life!
—His disciples, if they really want to imitate him, have to convert their existence into a co-redemption of Love, with their own active and passive self-denial.
The Cross is present in everything, and it comes when one least expects it. —But don’t forget that, normally, the beginning of the Cross and the beginning of efficacy go together.
The Lord, the Eternal Priest, always blesses with the Cross.
Cor Mariae perdolentis, miserere nobis! — Invoke the Heart of Holy Mary, with the purpose and determination of uniting yourself to her sorrow, in reparation for your sins and the sins of men of all times.
And pray to her — for every soul — that her sorrow may increase in us our aversion to sin, and that we may be able to love the physical or moral contradictions of each day as a means of expiation.