Hi! I’m Hannah, and I’m guest-blogging today for my dad. Today, I want to share with you part of my story, even though you may have already read some of it in the post An Overdue Letter To My Children In Heaven. I was born fourteen years ago as a three pound, fourteen ounce baby. My mom had to deal with numerous complications when she was pregnant with me, and she delivered me on her birthday. I have three siblings in Heaven, and I know my parents have wondered many times why they experienced the miscarriages of Clare, Hope, and Therese. They had to endure suffering while waiting for God to fulfill His plan.
Suffering – The Kiss of Jesus
There are so many self-help books written today about living your life to the fullest and being happy. While I’m not saying that these books are bad, they seem to focus on avoiding suffering or eliminating it. Yet our Catholic faith tells us we can find joy in suffering.
I remember a few weeks ago reading a quote from Mother Teresa that has greatly impacted my view of suffering. Mother Teresa, who suffered during the last years of her life from spiritual dryness, said,
“Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. Only never put on a long face.”
Even though Mother Teresa suffered so much anguish, she stayed joyful and hopeful through it all.
Suffering – An Opportunity To Trust Jesus
When suffering comes our way, we are prone to give in to sadness and despair. But the Lord calls us to trust in Him that He will bring the greater good out of suffering (Romans 8:28.).
This brings me to one of the greatest saints of the twentieth century, Saint Faustina Kowalska. She had a “secret weapon” that helped her attain sainthood – her boundless trust in the Lord, even when everything seemed to be going wrong. She even went so far as to say,
“O my Jesus, despite the deep night that is all around me and the dark clouds which hide the horizon, I know that the sun never goes out.”
Truly, the Son never goes out.
Suffering – A Personal Perspective
I experienced this personally in May of 2010, when my grandfather passed away of Alzheimers.
During the last few months of his life, my grandpa came to live with us, and my parents focused all their energy on taking care of him and making sure he stayed safe.
I loved spending quality time with my grandpa and caring for him, but it was one of the hardest times of my life because I had to cope on my own.
However, I can honestly say that I have never felt closer to God than in times of suffering. When our hearts break, the Lord’s heart breaks as He sees us suffering. No parent likes to see his child suffer.
Jesus Never Gives Us A Cross We Cannot Handle
On May 26th of 2010, my grandfather passed away. Although that last week was rough because my grandpa was in a semi-coma, Jesus showed me how much He loved me by sending my incredible friends and family to support my parents and me. Everything seemed so rocky as we tried to adjust to life without a member of the family. It’s been two years now, and Jesus has continued to be so faithful. He never gives us a cross that we can’t handle. The outpouring of love that we received was God’s way of consoling us after our loss.
Suffering – The Inspiring Story of Montserrat Grases
In closing, I’d like to share a story of a little-known young woman named Montserrat Grases.
Born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1941, Montserrat was an outgoing, athletic girl. As a young teenager, she became close to Jesus in the Eucharist and strived for holiness.
However, in January of 1958, while skiing, Montse fell and was left with a sore leg. She had to wear a cast, and in June of 1958, the doctor diagnosed her with Ewing’s sarcoma, or bone cancer.
Her parents gave her this information, expecting her to panic, but she was extremely peaceful and surrendered her fatal illness to God’s hands.
Montse continued to live her life with complete trust in God, saying, “I’m not afraid of pain because I think that if I’m faithful to God each day in what He asks of me, he will help me when the hard part comes.”
Though pain racked her body, Montse was the epitome of joy. She endured countless nights with no sleep, and eventually her leg swelled so much that her skin cracked.
Nevertheless, she told her dad, “We’re the happiest family in Barcelona. When I die, I don’t want anyone to be sad. There has to be joy.” She died in 1959, at the age of nineteen.
Although she is not a canonized saint yet, I feel that we can all look up to this amazing young lady and imitate her courageous cheerfulness in suffering.
As a closing thought, I would like to share these powerful words from St. Faustina.
“Jesus, You said that a mother would sooner forget her infant than God His creature, and that ‘even if she would forget her infant, I, God, will never forget My creature.’ O Jesus, do You hear how my soul is moaning? Deign to hear the painful whimpers of Your child. I trust in You, O God, because heaven and earth will pass, but Your word will last forever.”
I’m just a girl in complete awe of Jesus’ love for me. I love (in no particular order) spring, everything sparkly, all the colors of the rainbow, my cats that act like dogs, kids and babies, spring, my Catholic faith, Texas, my family and amazing friends, country music, and baseball (especially the Texas Rangers.) Some of my hobbies include watching “I Love Lucy” and “The Waltons,” burying myself in books, dressing up for no reason at all, banging out tunes on the piano, dancing when no one’s watching, wearing my cowboy boots anywhere and everywhere, and pretty much being a total klutz when it comes to life. Thanks for reading and God bless you!!