Those who habitual seek to avoid all pain and experience only what is pleasant and comfortable, will sooner or later find themselves carrying far heavier crosses than those who try to consent to sufferings it would be unrealistic to try to eliminate.
We need always to be thinking and writing about poverty, for if we are not among its victims its reality fades from us. We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it.
The priest went on to say that we’re comfortable with Christianity and even with helping others as long as it doesn’t affect us directly. But anytime we have to get within the margins—leave our comfortable homes, or do anything more than write a check, we’re unable to act. We fail as Christians. Powerful words that had folks in the pews clapping by the end, but as I sat there I wondered whether or not anyone on Capitol Hill would heed these wise words?
The world tells us that happiness, joy and entertainment are the best things in life. And it looks the other way when there are problems of disease or pain in the family. The world does not want to suffer, it prefers to ignore painful situations, to cover them up. Only the person who sees things as they are, and whose heart mourns, will be happy and will be comforted. Thanks to the consolation of Jesus, not to that of the world.
We must allow our love for one another to overpower our love of being comfortable, and we must step out and stand beside the people who are rejected and alone, and wipe their faces. We may not be able to remove their suffering completely, but we can offer them hope by showing them that we are willing to risk our own comfort and reputation to be with them in their pain. This is something that we can do every day, with every person that we encounter, because everyone has some pain and loneliness within them. When we perform small acts of compassion, we are showing them that they are not alone, and that they are loved. I believe that God resides in all of us. This means that when we follow Veronica’s example and wipe the faces of the suffering, we are wiping the face of Jesus.
Consequently,no one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society. Who would claim to lock up in a church and silence the message of Saint Francis of Assisi or Blessed Teresa of Calcutta? They themselves would have found this unacceptable. An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it.
~ Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
It bears repeating: this Pontiff is continuing a lesson in trust that was begun the moment his predecessor announced his resignation. There is a sense that both Benedict XVI, and now Francis, are quite comfortable tossing everything into the path of the Holy Spirit — and seemingly taking great risks with their words or their actions — and trusting that the Holy Spirit will see it all to rights.
That we need these lessons modeled for us so starkly suggests to me that we are being made fit for something. Perhaps they are only trying to teach us to trust even in what can seem like a benign day-to-day, but I wonder if we are not being prepared for a time when we will, as Catholic Christians, have to run on trust, alone.
~ Elizabeth Scalia, Re Translating Francis’ Interview with Eugenio Scalfari
Jesus has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection.Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus—love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!
~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapter XI.