THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
XXIII,-6′ CHARITY IS PATIENT.”-THE SOUL T’.IIAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST LOVES TO SUFFER,
But patience has a perfect work-(James i. 4). The meaning of this is that nothing is more pleasing
to God than to see a soul suffering with patience all the crosses sent her by Him. The effect of
love is to liken the lover to the person loved. St. Francis de Sales said : ” All the Wounds of
Christ are so many mouths which preach to us that we must suffer for Him. The science of the
Saints is to suffer constantly for Jesus ; and in this way we ·shall soon become Saints.” A person
that loves Jesus Christ is anxious to be treated like Jesus Christ,-poor, persecuted and despised.
St. John beheld all the Saints clothed in white and with palms in their hands : Clothed with white
robes, and palms in their hands-(Apoc. vii. 9). The palm is the symbol of Martyrs, and yet all the
Saints did not suffer Martyrdom; why, then, do all the Saints bear palms in their hands ? St.
Gregory replies that all the Saints have been Martyrs either of the sword or of patience; so that,
he adds, ” we can be Martyrs without the sword if we keep patience.”
The merit of a soul that loves Jesus Christ consists in loving :iud in suffering. Hear what our
Lord said to St. Teresa : ” Think you, My child, that merit consists in enjoyment? No; it
consists in suffering and in loving. Look at My life, wholly embittered with afflictions. Be
assured, My child, that the more My Father loves any one the more sufferings He sends him ; they
are the standard of His love. Look at My Wounds ; your tor ments will never reach so far. It is
·foolish to suppose that My Father favours with His friendship those who are strangers to suffering.” And, for our consolation, St. Teresa makes this remark : ” God never sends a trial but He forthwith rewards it with some favour.” One day Jesus Christ appeared to the Blessed Baptista Varani, and told her of three special favours which JI:e is wont to bestow on cherished souls : the first, not to sin; the second, which is greater, to perform good works; the third, and the greatest of all, to suffer for His love. So that St. Teresa used to say, whenever anyone does something for God, the Almighty repays him with some trial. And therefore the Saints, on receiving tribulations, thanked God for them. St. Louis of France, referring to his captivity among the Turks, said : ” I rejoice, and thank God more for the patience which He accorded me in
the time of my impriso-nment than if He had made me master of the Universe.” And when St.
Elizabeth, princess of Thuringia, after her husband’s death, was banished with her son from the
kingdom and found her self homeless and abandoned by all, she went to a convent of the Franciscans
and there had the Te Deum sung in thanksgiving to God for the signal favour of being allowed to
suffer for His love.