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St. Rose of Lima reminds us that grace comes through suffering

ROSE OF LIMA

Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 08/23/22

The spiritual life is not always full of roses. It also contains many thorns.

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At times we can become discouraged, especially when we encounter any type of suffering in our lives. This can lead us to think that God has somehow abandoned us, letting us endure more pain than happiness.

However, St. Rose of Lima reminds us that suffering is an essential part of our spiritual lives on earth and that it opens the door to God’s grace.

She explains her thoughts in an excerpt of her writing found in the Office of Readings, highlighting a private revelation she had from Jesus.

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.”

Throughout her life St. Rose would seek out suffering and perform severe penances, such as abstaining from meat for the rest of her life. She also engaged in various kinds of physical mortifications, seeking discomfort in any possible way.

While her pursuit of pain may be a little extreme for most people, a central truth behind it all is that whenever suffering increases in our lives, the grace of God will also increase.

If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. 

This truth can give us consolation whenever suffering is difficult to endure. We can remind ourselves that God is close to us in our suffering and has not abandoned us. In fact, God is ready to give us many spiritual graces, but we must be open to them and accept them willingly.

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