Today we celebrate Sexagesima Sunday, just 10 days before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Great Lenten Fast. As we draw near to Lent we are reminded that suffering is a part of life. Why is suffering a part of life? Because of sin. One thing we do not comprehend, do not want to comprehend is how deeply sin offends God. How great even venial sin offends Him.
Suffering is a blessing because through suffering God gives us the circumstances to draw ourselves to Him. Sometimes we see some of the most beautiful people suffer what appears to be great injustices and wonder why? I think it is because God knows that these people... these saintly people... will use their suffering as an act of love for God by accepting it willingly. Does the willingness take the pain away? No it does not. Christ, during His Passion and Death felt pain yet accepted it willingly. Our Blessed Mother was so unified with Her Son and willingly suffered with Him.
It is only through suffering that we will find true Joy. I would suspect God sends us the challenges of every-day life as well as larger crosses because without them we would far too easily find our desires and joys in the things and people of this world. We would find ourselves content with the good things and forget that we aren't here for this world but for the next... which is Heaven. Christ gives us the example of how to get there... by carrying our crosses.
As we approach Lent, we should consider how to penetrate our hardened hearts, how to get rid of the rocks and thorns so that we can enrich the soil of our soul to bear good fruit.
What will you be doing for Lent? This is a great time to prepare!