We all recognize that as followers of the Lord, we cannot expect to have an “easier” time in life than He did. The Lord himself warns us many times in the Gospels that we must be ready to carry our cross, to sacrifice all that we have and to endure persecutions and sufferings for His name, if we wish to be His disciples. I am sure that we have all endured many sacrifices, in varying degrees, in our own lives of faith. When I face such times of suffering, I am consoled by the words that my mother often repeated, “The Lord does not give you a cross that you cannot bear.” While I know this to be true, I often wondered to myself why the Lord had to weigh exactly how much I could bear!
The Church reminds us that others who went before us in faith experienced great sufferings and endured to the end. They are our role models and inspirations. For example, today, we honor Saint Monica, who was the mother of Saint Augustine. She is the patron saint of mothers because of the sufferings she endured and tears that she shed while persevering in prayer and example, to lead her son and husband to the Catholic faith. Monica could easily have given up her spiritual quest but she did not. She showed tremendous perseverance in her life and in the end before she died, she saw the first fruits of her sacrifices. She is an inspiration for anyone who faces any suffering or challenge that is beyond your own ability to “fix”. At such times, like Monica, we are asked to unite our sufferings to Christ and in prayer, leave to Him what we cannot do ourselves.
As we continue this week of reflections, we will learn from other role models how we can bear our sufferings with perseverance and hope.