INTO THE HOLIES BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
We all seem to be imbued with the idea, and to feel instinctively, that unhappiness is the common state of man in this life; so much so that when we see a person exceedingly happy or laughing heartily we are wont to exclaim: Something is going to happen to that person. A pagan philosopher has said that no man is so unfortunate as he who has never been unfortunate. Pere Laurent has given us an admirable treatise on The Mission of Pain. Pain is everywhere; it overtakes every human life at some time in its course. It comes to us all as a chief part of our inheritance and can be traced back to the origin of the world as the consequence of an overthrow at the beginning of things; it is the chastisement of a fault which upset the order of things established at the creation. Man is a sinner expiating the guilt of his first parents. Now this chastisement is neither blind nor brutal; Christianity has taught us that it provides a means of intelligent and soul-redeeming atonement. Pain, being a consequence of original sin, its mission must be, first of all, expiatory in character. Beneath the harsh envelope of the word, expiation, something sacred is divined, and, as it were, a consoling and godlike function is felt to underlie the painful thought it awakens. Expiation is made up of sufferings and alleviations, of smiles and tears, of dolorous lamentations, and solace administered. It galls our self-love, and crushes our offended pride, and yet we do not call down imprecations upon it, because we feel that it has within itself a secret of moral grandeur which it alone possesses; because by it we are rehabilitated in our own eyes. It unmans us, but at the same time it increases our spiritual growth; it humiliates us, but only that we may be given the right to behold ourselves without being ashamed.
In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed: we are straitened, but are not destitute: we suffer persecution, but are not forsaken: we are cast down, but we perish not. For which cause we faint not: but though our out ward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Since the mission of pain lies chiefly in atonement, what better aid could the sick employ in their sufferings than the devotion to the Precious Blood, which was shed precisely for the remission and expiation of sin? Your present suffering may not have been sent to you on account of your own actual sins, yet all earthly misery is a consequence of sin. Now, as we were ransomed from sin by the Blood of Jesus, can we not be healed of the effects of sin by the same Price of our Redemption? The Blood of our Redemption not only wipes out the stains of sin, but imparts to us along with sanctifying grace other spiritual and temporal favors.