The Only Remedy For All Our Ills
1. Life is a continual battle. “Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?” (Job 7:1) If we consider only the material aspect of this battle, we are all among the vanquished. Admittedly, there is some joy and some victory. But our pleasures are as short-lived as the flowers of the field; they are soon “withered and dried up like grass.” (Cf. Ps. 101:5) Our conquests are also very insignificant; they can inflate us for a while, but they do not last long and cannot satisfy us. After death only our triumphs in virtue will persist. Moreover, whereas the joys of this life are few and fleeting, the physical and moral sufferings are innumerable. Sometimes they are so heavy and overwhelming that they cause us to despair. But surely there is a remedy for all the evils which afflict us? God is infinitely good, and He has permitted suffering. Will He not give us the means of enduring it and the medicine to cure it? In fact, Our Lord has given us a remedy for all our ills, even for the most distressing. It is a bitter medicine, but it will heal anyone who has the courage to swallow it, and it will give him perfect peace of soul. The treatment consists of three stages: (1) Doing the will of God in all things with complete resignation. (2) Doing everything for the love of God. (3) Doing everything and enduring everything for the love of God alone. When a man reaches this highest peak of the spiritual life, he acquires that perfect peace of soul which the Saints possessed.
2. The first stage consists in doing God's will generously on all occasions. Will God give us a little happiness and satisfaction in the present life? Let us accept whatever He allows us without becoming excessively attracted by it. Let us never lose our hearts in earthly pleasures, but let us preserve them intact for Jesus. Then the joys and honours of this world will not disturb our souls nor keep them apart from God. Will God send us suffering and privation? Let us accept these with resignation to His holy will. Our final end, which is eternal life, can be achieved equally well by means of joy or sorrow as long as we accept everything from God's hands and offer it to Him in accordance with His will. Let us remember that we have to do the will of God in any case, whether willingly or unwillingly. The only difference is that if we do it willingly we shall gain peace and merit in the sight of God. If we do it unwillingly, we can expect no reward and shall increase the weight of sin upon our shoulders.
3. We should not stop short at doing the will of God with resignation, but should aim at doing it from the motive of love. We should perform all our most ordinary actions and accept physical and moral suffering purely for the love of God. Then we shall have peace both in joy and in sorrow, and we shall be happy. Only the Saints fully understood this great principle of doing and enduring everything for the love of God alone. They made it their basic rule of life. If Jesus granted them consolation and favours, they thanked Him. If He sent them severe sufferings and spiritual desolation, they were equally grateful. “To me to live is Christ,” (Phil. 1:21) said St. Paul. Jesus Christ must reign supreme in my will and in my heart and in all my actions. Then sorrow and suffering will be all the same to me and I shall possess the peace and happiness of the Saints.