The Lord said to me, I am taking you into My school for the whole of Lent. I want to teach you how to suffer. I answered, “With You, Lord, I am ready for everything” (Diary, 1626).
This courageous dialogue took place between God and the person who trusted Him and was aware that without Him she could not make use of the great grace of suffering. It is similarly with us. Fear and the attempt to escape is something natural in the face of suffering and pain. Who among us would be able to repeat sincerely in our hearts after Sister Faustina: Jesus, You know that I love suffering (Diary, 697), I accept joy or suffering, praise or humiliation with the same disposition. (Diary, 448)? She said these words only at the end of her life, after many mystical experiences and lessons that Jesus himself gave her. The first experiences were difficult: At the beginning of my religious life, suffering and adversities frightened and disheartened me. So I prayed continuously, asking Jesus to strengthen me and to grant me the power of His Holy Spirit that I might carry out His holy will in all things, because from the beginning I have been aware of my weakness (Diary, 56).
Suffering is evil in itself. God did not create it. But only He can transform it into a gift that will grant other people the grace of conversion and let us discover God who is very close when pain fills our hearts and minds. It is not easy to consider suffering, we instinctively want to take our minds to a more pleasant subject. Let us try to enter into this Lent with faith that God wants to transform our lives. He wants to reveal His love to us in places where we have not seen it yet. He wants to touch those wounds that still hurt in our lives. He wants us to tell Him about them. He wants to be invited to open our eyes to His Presence.
I am taking you into My school for the whole of Lent. I want to teach you how to suffer – with these words we start Lent recruitment to our school. You do not have to sign up and fill in tons of questionnaires. What is enough is just your decision. Every week we will try to discover God’s love towards us, in situations in which we are overwhelmed by suffering. We will do it on the basis of a textbook filled with words about His Mercy – the Diary of St. Faustyna.
Sr. Anna Maria Trzcińska ZMBM