Yesterday, we talked about suffering. Sometimes, we can desire to suffer with our Lord, but the suffering is on our terms.
In The Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales, he addresses this by writing: “Many people would be ready to accept evils provided they were not inconvenienced by them. One man says, ‘I wouldn’t be bothered by poverty if it didn’t keep me from helping my friends, educating my children, and living as respectably as I would like.’”
It’s a kind of false willingness. We are willing to suffer as long as it doesn’t stop me from living how I want. Or, doesn’t negatively affect the way others see me. Etc.
Another way to think of it is that there are some kinds of suffering more appealing than others. We can think here of the difference between the desire to touch the wounds of Christ, and the repugnancy of touching a leper’s sores. We can be tempted to bear the crosses only that make us look good.
St. Francis De Sales sums it up best: “We must have patience not merely at being ill but at having the illness that God wishes, where He wishes, among the people He wishes and with whatever difficulties He wishes. The same must be said about other tribulations.”
This is very difficult. It requires that we follow in Christ’s footsteps: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
Not as I will, but as you will.