One of the most pernicious lies of the modernity is that we were made for comfort. Every day, thousands of advertisements and so-called experts promise us a life free from suffering and pain—if only we buy one more thing.
Yet, the comfortable life they promise is an illusion. For all our advancements in science and technology, suffering is no further from being eradicated. For every problem we solve, we create several more.
Life involves suffering. We are made or unmade by how we respond to it.
There is an immutable law in the spiritual life: If you aren’t growing, you are slowly dying. Spiritual life is not automatic. It demands effort. And just as we must constantly feed and care for our physical bodies, so we must to an even greater degree care for our eternal souls.
One of the easiest means of attaining this spiritual development is embracing the inevitable sufferings and trials of life.
So often, we believe sanctity would come easily to us if we were only unencumbered by difficult circumstances, annoying people, or demands on our time. This simply is not true.
You cannot develop patience without trials to endure. You cannot become strong if nothing ever challenges you.
Ease does not produce sanctity. Any holiness that is not tested and proven is but an illusion. Saints are made in the fiery forge of struggle and tribulation.
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,” says St. James, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
It is the very resistance and hardship of physical exercise that builds strength. Likewise, the inner resistance found in the interruptions, distractions, and trials of life help us grow strong in spirit.
Every obstacle is an opportunity. Every trial is a gift. Embrace them and grow strong.
Prelates and priests attending the final day of the Third Eucharistic Congress of the United States held in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City on September 27, 28, and 29, 1904. (Image: Archive.org)