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Our topic this issue is suffering, something none of us likes to do or even think about. But it's the reason Jesus became man-to suffer, die, and rise again-overcoming sin and death. Suffering well defeats the enemy. How to do it? Listen well and persevere.

St. Francis of Assisi: [St. Francis who bore in his own body the wounds of the Master invites us to sanctification through suffering.] "O Lord Jesus Christ, I entreat you to give me two graces before I die: first, that in my lifetime I may feel in body and soul as far as possible the pain you endured, dear Lord in the hour of your most bitter suffering; and second, that I may feel in my heart as far as possible that excess of love by which you, O Son of God, were inflamed to undertake so cruel a suffering for us sinners... I give you thanks, O Lord God, for these pains of mine, and I beg you, my Lord, add a hundredfold to them if it please you. It will be most agreeable to me that in afflicting me with pain you do not spare me. Fulfilling your holy will is more than ample comfort to me." [From Daily Readings with St. Francis of Assisi, Templegate Publishers, 1988, pg. 90]

St. Francis de Sales: [Jesus teaches us how to suffer. Walking his Way of the Cross and meditating on his passion are our school.] "The hill of calvary is the mountain of lovers. Ah, why, then, do we not cast ourselves on Jesus crucified, in order to die on the cross with him who has voluntarily died upon it for the love of us? I will hold him, we ought to say, and will never forsake him; I will die with him, and will burn in the flames of his love." [From the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori]

St. Therese of Lisieux: [But how to do it? The apostle of the little way reminds us that even small humiliations and disappointments can offer opportunities to suffer well.] "You know, dear Mother, that I prefer vinegar to sugar; my soul, too, is tired of too sweet a nourishment...Ah! Truly [criticism] is more than pleasure, it is a delightful banquet which fills my soul with joy. I cannot explain how a thing which is so displeasing to nature can cause such a great happiness; if I had not experienced it, I could not believe it." [In her final days Therese suffered from many temptations against faith, but persevered.] "Must one love God and the Blessed Virgin so much and still have thoughts like this! But I don't dwell on them." [From the window of the infirmary she could observe the convent garden and saw a "black hole" among the trees.] "I am in a hole just like that, body and soul. Ah! What darkness! However, I am still at peace! ...Everything I have, everything I merit, is for the good of the Church and for souls." [From The Story of a Soul]

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: [Mother Seton put suffering in context when she made these simple statements] "I am satisfied to sow in tears if I may reap in joy.... How safe we are under the shadow of the cross. " [From Daily Thoughts of Mother Seton, Chronicle Press. ]

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