In his homily at daily Mass yesterday, Pope Francis provided an excellent teaching on maintaining our joy in suffering, and the true meaning of patience during times of trial. I am not very good at this. I am still far too focused on myself, on my security, on my comfort. I often look to blame someone for my difficulties. Mostly I blame myself, at times I blame others, and sometimes I cry out to God questioning His lack of intervention on my behalf.
However, I was strongly convicted of my self-centeredness when Pope Francis said “The Lord carries us on his shoulders, with a lot of patience.” How easily my self-absorption causes me to forget that God is always there, always near. The foundation for all growth in holiness is remembering that God first loves us, and understanding the depth of God’s love for us. God wants us to freely love Him in return, especially by trusting Him. I should be increasing that love and trust of God in my own life by remembering the sufferings of Jesus (and uniting my own sufferings to them, and offering them for others), by taking time to recall with deep gratitude the ways in which God provides for me and protects me (and my loved ones) each day. I need to encounter Jesus every day in heartfelt personal prayer based upon Sacred Scripture. This will help my selfishness to diminish, and enable me to live in patient joy during difficult times.