A MEDICINE FOR ALL SORROWS
Is Earth a place of enjoyment, a garden of delights? If you think so, you must no longer hear the prophet's voice echoing in your ears. Didn't He proclaim that there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth for everyone born into this valley of pain ? Every person who lives on Earth experiences tears and suffering. But no matter how wrenching the pain, lift up your eyes and offer thanks to the Lord for the test. Oh humanity! Will you recognize the power of God only if the ills of your bodies are cured and your days are showered with beauty and good fortune? Will you recognize God's love for you only when the stars shine in your path and success follows you? You should follow the example of the faithful man who, finding himself in misery and total destitution and even as he lay in the arms of indigence, said to God, "Lord, I have known all the delights of wealth and You have reduced me to the most absolute misery; thank you, thank you, for wishing to test your servant!" For how long will you have your eyes fixed on a horizon limited by death? When will you finally see beyond the boundaries of the grave? Even if your whole life is fraught with suffering and tears, consider how little this is, compared to the bliss reserved for you if you bear up under your trials with faith, love, and fortitude. For the troubles you cannot change, seek consolation in the future God has prepared for you, and search for the causes of those troubles in the past. As for you who have suffered the most-consider yourselves the blessed of this Earth.
Remember that before taking a new life on Earth, and while enjoying complete freedom in the spirit realm, you made choices about the trials to undergo and chose those you felt strong enough to endure. Why, then, complain of then now? You asked for riches and glory because you wanted to overcome the temptations they bring. You wanted to master your base desires both physical and moral, and you knew full well that the harder the trial was, the greater and more satisfying the victory would be. You recognized, too, that, as long as you over came and despite the fact that you may be in the most abject misery at death, you triumph would release a soul of radiant brightness, purified in the fire of hardship and suffering.
As for those of you plagued by spiritual afflictions or suffering catastrophic illnesses, what cure is there? There is only one infallible way to come through faith-the humble appeal to the Supreme Power. If at the moment when you suffering is greatest you sing praises to the Lord, the guardian spirit at you bedside will direct your eyes to the signposts of wholeness and show glimpse of the future that awaits you.
Faith is the one medicine for all suffering. It illuminates your perspective of Eternity and makes the cloudy days of life feel unimportant. Don't ask us, the spirits, then, what the remedy is for an ulcer or sore, a torment or a trial. Remind yourselves that those who have strong faith already possess a powerful medication, and those who waver harbor in themselves an extra burden of distress and suffering. Those of you who believe in God have His seal engraved upon your soul. Christ told you that it was possible to move mountains by faith alone, and I would add that those who suffer, but are upheld by faith, will remain under his protection and will suffer no more. The moments of greatest pain will become the first happy notes of Eternity. The soul will detach itself from the body in such a way that, while the body is still writhing in agony, the soul will be gliding into the celestial regions, chanting odes of gratitude and love. Blessed are those who, strong in faith, endure the misfortunes and tears of Earth because God will heap blessings on them.
Saint Augustine (Paris 1863)
Gospel pgs 67-68