Reverend and Dear Mother,
I will not ask God to deliver you from your trials, but I will ask him earnestly to give you the patience and strength needed to suffer as long as he desires. Find consolation in him who keeps you fixed to the cross; he will release you when he judges it appropriate. Happy are they who suffer with him. Get used to suffering, and ask him for the strength to suffer as he wants, and for as long as he judges necessary. The worldly do not understand these truths, and I am not surprised; the reason is that they suffer as citizens of this world and not as Christians. They consider illnesses as natural afflictions and not as graces from God, and therefore they find in them only what is difficult and harsh for [our] nature. But those who regard them as coming from the hand of God, as signs of his mercy and the means he uses for their salvation, ordinarily find great sweetness and perceptible consolations in them.
I wish you were convinced that God is often closer to us in times of sickness and suffering than when we enjoy perfect health. Seek no other doctor but him. I think he wants to cure you by himself. Place all your trust in him, and you will soon experience the benefits we resist when we trust more in [medical] remedies than in God. […]
Be content with the state in which God has placed you; no matter how happy you may think I am, I envy you; no matter how happy you may think I am, I envy you. Such pains and sufferings would be paradise for me if I could suffer with God, and the greatest pleasures would be hell, were I to enjoy them without him. All my consolation would be to suffer something for him.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Letter 11 to a nun (excerpts)
17 November 1690
Lawrence of the Resurrection, B; De Meester, C 1994, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Salvatore Sciurba, OCD, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: Discalced Carmelites bear witness to the virtues of patience and strength in suffering each and every day. You can find this photo and others like it in our 2020 slideshow of scenes from daily life at Maryton Carmel in England.