All of us, including and especially me, run away from suffering. Choosing to suffer is to follow Christ’s command to take up one’s cross.

The days in the poustinia will be part of my taking up the cross God has given me at this point in my life. But, like all crosses, all suffering, if one is humble and pushes down those strong feelings of revulsion against suffering, joy follows.

The Jesuits were known to seek out suffering for the sake of souls. St. Isaac Jogues actually was saved from more torture and sent back to France, but after visiting his mum, went back to North America to certain death. St. Edmund Campion, and the long list of the martyrs of England and Wales, also went to certain death when he stepped foot in Elizabeth I’s nation of Catholic-priest-killers.

Death can happen in other ways rather than being tomahawked or drawn and quartered. Death is in God’s hands. Facing a daily death is what it means to do sacrifice for others. This is hard.

I am not a victim soul, although I know one, a very holy woman asked by God to live a life of reparation for others. I am only a lowly woman called by God and allowed to pray for those who ask for prayers, as well as those whom God puts on my heart and in my mind. But, God asks penance to accompany prayer. Penance is hard for anyone. That is why it is necessary not only for one’s own perfection, but for reparation and intercessory prayer-penance is a necessity.

Only love for Christ and His Church can lead a person to embrace the Cross presented to him or her. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.