Catechism of the Holy Curé of Ars: On the sufferings

Excerpt from "Esprit du Curé d'Ars, M. Vianney dans ses catechismes, ses homélies et sa conversation" (1864):

Like it or not, you have to suffer. There are some who suffer like the good thief, and others like the bad one. Both suffered equally. But one knew how to make his sufferings meritorious; he accepted them in the spirit of reparation, and turning to the side of Jesus crucified, he collected from his mouth these beautiful words: "Today you will be with me in paradise." The other, on the contrary, screamed, vocifered imprecations and blasphemy, and exhaled in the most awful despair.

« There are two ways to suffer: to suffer by loving and to suffer without loving. » The Saints suffered everything with patience, joy and perseverance, because they loved. We suffer with anger, spite and weariness, because we do not love. If we loved God, we would love crosses, we would desire them, we would plead in them... We would be happy to be able to suffer for the sake of the One who was willing to suffer for us. What are we complaining about? Alas! the poor infidels, who do not have the happiness of knowing God and his infinite kindnesses, have the same crosses as we do; but they do not have the same consolations.

You say it's hard? No, it's sweet, it's consoling, it's sweet: it's happiness! Only, we must love by suffering, we must suffer by loving.

In the Way of the Cross, see, my children, there is only the first step that costs. It is the fear of crosses that is our greatest cross... You don't have the courage to carry your cross, you're wrong; for whatever we do, the cross holds us, we cannot escape it. So what do we have to lose? why not love our crosses and use them to go to heaven?... But, on the contrary, most men turn their backs on the crosses and flee before them. The more they run, the more the cross pursues them, the more it hits them and crushes them with burdens... If you want to be wise, walk to meet him like St. Andrew, who said, seeing the cross standing for him in the air: "Hello, O good cross! O admirable cross! O desirable cross!... receive me in your arms, remove me from among men, and give me back to my Master who has redeemed me through you. »

Listen to this, my children: He who goes before the cross, walks opposite the crosses; he may meet them, but he is happy to meet them; he loves them; he wears them with courage. They unite him to Our Lord; they purify it; they detach him from this world; they take away from his heart all obstacles; they help him to cross life, like a bridge helps to pass water... See the saints; when they were not persecuted, they persecuted themselves... A good religious once complained to Our Lord that he was being persecuted. He said, "Lord, what have I done to be treated like this?" Our Lord replied, "And what had I done when I was led to Calvary?... Then the religious understood; he cried, asked for forgiveness, and did not dare to complain anymore.

People in the world are sorry when they have crosses, and good Christians are sorry when they don't. The Christian lives in the midst of crosses as the fish lives in water.

Look at Saint Catherine, who has two crowns, that of purity and that of martyrdom: how happy she is, this dear little saint, to have loved to suffer better than to consent to sin! There was a religious who loved suffering so much that he had attached a well rope to his body; this rope had skinned the skin and gradually sunk into the flesh from which it came out of the worms. The religious demanded that he be dismissed from the community. He went happy and cheerful to hide at the bottom of a rock lair. But that same night the superior heard the Lord say to him, "You have lost the treasure of your house." Immediately, we went back to look for this good saint, we wanted to see where these verses came from. The superior had the rope removed, which was done by turning all the flesh. Finally he heals.

There was a little boy nearby, in a parish in the vicinity, who was all skinned in his bed, very sick and very miserable; I said to him, "My poor little one, you are suffering well!" He replied: "No, Mr. Parish priest, I do not feel today my evil of yesterday, and tomorrow I will not suffer from my pain of today." — "Would you like to heal?" — "No, I was wicked before I was sick; I could become one again. I am good as I am... It was vinegar, but the oil won... We do not understand this, because we are too earthly. Children in whom the Holy Spirit resides shame us.

If the good Lord sends us crosses we put ourselves off, we complain, we whisper, we are so enemies of everything that upsets us, that we would always like to be in a cotton box; it is in a box of thorns that we should put. It is through the cross that one goes to heaven. Diseases, temptations, sorrows, are all crosses that lead us to heaven. All this will soon be over... Look at the saints who arrived before us... The good Lord does not ask of us the martyrdom of the body, he only asks us for the martyrdom of the heart and the will... Our Lord is our model; let us take up our cross and follow it. Let's do as Napoleon's soldiers did. You had to cross a bridge on which you were firing machine guns; no one dared to pass. Napoleon took the flag, walked first, and all followed. Let us do the same; Let us follow Our Lord who walked first.

A soldier once told me that, in a battle, he had walked for half an hour on corpses; there was almost no place to set foot; the earth was all tinged with blood. Thus, in the path of life one must walk on crosses and sorrows to arrive at the homeland.

The cross is the ladder of heaven... How consoling it is to suffer before god's eyes, and to be able to say to oneself, in the evening, in his examination: "Let us go! my soul, today you have had two or three hours of resemblance to Jesus Christ. You were scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified with him !...." Oh! what treasure for death!... How good it is to die when you have lived on the cross!

We should run after the crosses, like the miser runs after the money... Only crosses will reassure us on the day of judgment. When that day comes, let us be happy with our misfortunes, proud of our humiliations, and rich in our sacrifices!

If someone said to you, "I would like to get rich, what should I do?" You would say, "You have to work." Well! to go to heaven you have to suffer. Our Lord shows us the way in the person of Simon the Cyrenean; he calls his friends to carry his cross after him.

The good Lord wants us never to lose sight of the cross, so it is placed everywhere, along the paths, on the heights, in public squares, so that at this sight we can say: "This is how God loved us!"

The cross embraces the world; it is planted in the four corners of the universe; there is a piece of it for everyone.

The crosses are on the road to heaven like a beautiful stone bridge over a river to cross it. Christians who do not suffer pass this river on a fragile bridge, a wire bridge, always ready to break under their feet.

He who does not like the cross may be able to save himself, but with great difficulty: it will be a small star in the firmament. He who has suffered and fought for his God, will shine like a beautiful sun.

The crosses transformed in the flames of love, are like a bundle of thorns that are thrown into the fire and that the fire reduces to ashes. The thorns are hard, but the ashes are soft.

Oh! may souls who are all to God in suffering experience sweetness! It's like water in which you put a lot of oil: vinegar is always vinegar; but the oil corrects the bitterness, and it is almost no longer felt.

Put a beautiful grape under the press, a delicious juice will come out of it: Our soul, under the press of the cross, produces a juice that nourishes and strengthens it. When we do not have crosses, we are arid: if we carry them with resignation, we feel a sweetness, a happiness, a sweetness !... it is the beginning of heaven. The good God, the Blessed Virgin, the angels and the saints surround us; they are by our side and see us. The passage from the good Christian, tested by affliction, to the other life is like that of a person who is carried on a bed of roses.

The thorns sweat the balm and the cross sweats sweetness. But it is necessary to squeeze the thorns in his hands and squeeze the cross on his heart so that they distill the juice they contain.

It was the cross that gave peace to the world; it is she who must carry it in our hearts. All our miseries come from the that we do not like it. It is the fear of crosses that increases crosses. A cross carried simply, and without these returns of self-love that exaggerate sorrows, is no longer a cross. Peaceful suffering is no longer suffering. We complain of suffering! we would have much more reason to complain about not suffering, since nothing makes us more like Our Lord than to carry His cross. O beautiful union of the soul with Our Lord Jesus Christ through the love and virtue of his cross !... I don't understand how a Christian can not love the cross and run away from it! Is it not to flee at the same time the One who was kind enough to be attached to it and die for us?

Contradictions put us at the foot of the cross, and the cross at the door of heaven. To get there we must be stepped on, we must be vilified, despised, crushed... There are no happy people in this world but those who have the calm of the soul, in the midst of the sorrows of life: they taste the joy of God's children... All sorrows are sweet when one suffers in union with Our Lord...

Suffer! what does it matter? It's just a moment. If we could go and spend eight days in heaven, we would understand the price of this moment of suffering. We would not find a cross heavy enough, no trial bitter enough... The cross is God's gift to His friends.

How beautiful it is to offer oneself every morning as a sacrifice to the good God, and to accept everything in atonement for one's sins!... We must ask for the love of crosses: then they become sweet. I have experienced this for four or five years. I was well slandered, well contradicted, well jostled. Oh! I had crosses... I had almost more than I could wear! I began to ask for the love of crosses: then I was happy. I say to myself: Really, there is happiness only there!... We must never look at where crosses come from: they come from God. It is always God who gives us this way to prove our love to Him.…hisme-du-saint-cure-d-ars-sur-les-souffrances.html