Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the host of the show, “Life is Worth Living,” said, “When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her.” Echoing this sentiment, Victor Hugo, the author of the novel Les Miserables, was careful to preserve his purity while engaged to be married. He wrote this to his fiancee in 1820:“It is my desire to be worthy of you, that has made me so severe on myself. If I am constantly preserved from those excesses too common to my age, and which the world so readily excuses, it is not because I have not had a chance to sin; but rather it is that the thought of you constantly preserves me. Thus have I kept intact, thanks to you, the sole treasures I can offer you on the day of marriage; a pure body and a virginal heart.”
For most of us when we are in the midst of suffering the pain is more bearable when we understand the purpose. Granted, most of us will not get a clear answer on why we are allowed to suffer; however, when we trust Heavenly Father, as Jesus did, we gradually begin to grasp the meaning of the pain that we undergo.
This week as we enter into our own passion, pain, and suffering we must remember to unite it with the experience of Jesus. No matter what we do to tune out our pain and suffering, we cannot avoid it. Although we have been taught to numb our suffering, to drink it away, to medicate it away, to deny it, to replace it with some other quick fix, this is not the message of the gospel.
In accepting our own suffering we are able to understand the pain of others. Jesus walks in solidarity with every person on earth who is suffering. During this coming Holy Week, can we meditate on the Passion of Our Lord and seek the meaning of our own suffering?