Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer. (St. Padre Pio)
There are days when I think to myself about the words Christ spoke to His Father at His Agony in the Garden, "Lord, please take this cup from me, but if it is your Will then Thy Will be done." As I sat drinking a cup of coffee this morning after praying Lauds, I pondered that thought in my heart, and how many times I have spoken that prayer to the Lord with a sense of dread and hesitation. I want to be able to suffer to become closer to our Lord, but how do I overcome the fear of suffering?
As I scooped up my sweater this morning and headed out the door my mother turned to me and said, "Padre Pio said pray, hope, and don't worry," and I responded with "I know." I have a great love of St. Padre Pio that developed more deeply as I experienced incredible suffering in my life.
I often turn to this beautiful, modern day saint for his intercession on days when I feel such a heavy burden in my heart and struggle immensely with carrying my cross. I can never seem to read enough books about him, and the more I learn about the tremendous cross that Padre Pio had to bear, the more strength and perseverance I gain in being able to not only carry the cross that Christ gives to me, but to kiss the heavy cross, and to be thankful that my Lord would choose me to share in His Cross.
The cross that Christ gives us is a precious gift that helps to purify us and prepare our hearts for the Kingdom to come, where we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Padre Pio did not feel worthy of receiving the stigmata because he knew what an incredible gift of love that Jesus gave to him. Christ permitted Him to physically share in His Passion.
We may not all physically share in the Passion of Christ, but there are times when we share in His Passion in other ways. Whenever I receive the cup of suffering from my Beloved Lord I hold the crucifix close to my heart with tears of joy flowing down my face as I know that He is permitting me to share in His Passion. We should think of the drink that we receive from Him not as one of bitter herbs, but as a cup of sweet honey and nectar.
The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat. (St. Padre Pio)
Our suffering in this world only brings us closer to the Bridegroom, who desires for us to become spotless, and without blemish as we make ourselves ready for His coming again. How can the Bride appear before the Bridegroom if she is not prepared for Him. We are the Church, and the Church is the Bride, and as members of the Mystical Body of Christ we need to prepare ourselves for the day when we meet the Bridegroom.
How can we gaze upon His glorified face if we are unclean and full of blemish? We need to trust and have confidence in God by praying, hoping, and not worrying because He will use our suffering to ready the way of the Lord, and to save souls. God will give us the grace that we need to endure any suffering, and we can offer our suffering for the sanctification of souls, especially the souls of priests, and the holy souls in purgatory.
Very well done!