“Suffering, considered in itself, is a terrible thing. But when we look at it in the Will of God, it becomes love and sweetness” (St. Francis de Sales).

Accepting suffering as coming from the hands of our Father is one of the most difficult lessons we have to learn on our journey of following Christ. This is not surprising, since suffering and death are the consequences of original sin and the loss of paradise. It is still alien to us and, considered in itself, suffering is a terrible thing, as our present companion on the way, St. Francis de Sales, tells us.

But there is a way to transform this difficult situation from within. To do this, we must take a great step of trust in our Father, because at first our whole being seems to rebel against suffering.  It is precisely this step of trust – which often takes place in the midst of a dark inner night – that our Father is waiting for in order to be able to transform the suffering from within. It is then snatched from hopelessness and meaninglessness, and it unites us to the suffering of God in His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, he willingly submitted Himself to suffering, moved by His immense love, knowing that we human beings could only be redeemed through His Passion.

In our suffering, therefore, we meet again the unfathomable love of our Father, who does not exempt us from pain, but fills it with His consoling presence if we bear it in His Will. In this way it can become a profound experience that matures us.

It is not necessary for us to long for suffering, as was the case with certain souls who had a particular vocation. However, when a cross comes to us that we have not chosen, and we accept it, our Father will use it for the work of salvation, as St. Paul makes us understand (Col 1:24).

From this perspective, we can add another great element of consolation in suffering: through it, we can cooperate in the most important service that can be rendered to humanity: to free it from its estrangement from God and its waywardness. In this way, the acceptance of suffering takes on a transcendental meaning and will give us that deep and sweet inner peace that can only come from our Father.