Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God
The first wonder that the Holy Spirit works in the world is to preserve joy in our heart in the midst of sorrow. Therefore he is called the Comforter.
We may define consolation as joy in the midst of sorrow. When we are heartbroken, if someone knocks at our door and comes to pour into our stricken heart a drop of love, we experience consolation, a gladness in spite of suffering. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, the Comforter. In the midst of our griefs he pours into our heart a heavenly comfort, a divine consolation; he has the secret of consoling. He knows how to pour out some drops of joy in the midst of our sorrows and tribulations; all souls who suffer in a Christian manner experience this relief.
No, Jesus did not come to destroy suffering. He did not come to end its reign; he made of it an instrument of his power and his glory. He came to consecrate it, to transform it into a sacred happiness. The cross, the emblem of suffering, is the symbol of Christianity. Christ did not destroy sorrow; he revealed to us the secret of consolation so that we could carry our cross with joy.
Saint Peter speaks of the joy in sharing the sufferings of Christ: rejoice, in so far as you are partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice with exultation in the revelation of his glory (1 Pt 4:13). It is the Holy Spirit who inspires this blessed joy in hearts because he is the Comforter. Suffering is ordinarily the path that leads to true happiness. The Letter to the Hebrews says of Christ: who for the joy set before him, endured a cross (12:2). Thus we also ought to do: we need to suffer to attain joy, the true joy—not the false, not the gilded, not the superficial delight of the world, but the real, profound joy that reaches even to the core of our soul, the joy that anoints our hearts definitively…. True joy consists in suffering for Christ who wanted so ardently to suffer for us.
Servant of God Luis María Martínez
Archbishop Martínez († 1956) was a spiritual author and the first official Primate of Mexico. / From Liturgical Preludes, Sister Mary St. Daniel, b.v.m., Tr. © 1961, The Peter Reilly Company, Philadelphia, PA.