Before we become committed to the Lord, we naturally choose to live a life of maximum pleasure and minimum pain. Because true love often entails pain, the life of maximum pleasure and minimum pain amounts to a life of maximum selfishness and minimum love.
If we repent, choose love, and totally commit our lives to the Lord, we choose a life of maximum love — no matter what the pain. In effect, we choose to take up the cross daily and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23).
As we grow in holiness, we not only accept suffering in Jesus but rejoice in it (Col 1:24; see also 1 Pt 4:13). Moreover, we rejoice to suffer in Christ because we love others and we want all to be saved (see 1 Tm 2:4). When we realize that “suffering, more than anything else…clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls” (The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, Pope St. John Paul II, 27), we rejoice that the Lord’s saving grace is being accepted through a sharing in Christ’s suffering.
Are you committed to Jesus? Are you growing holier? To answer these questions, look at your attitude toward suffering in Christ.