EVIL AND ITS REMEDY
19. Is the Earth a place of enjoyment and a paradise of delights? Does the voice of the prophet no longer reecho in your ears? Did He not proclaim there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who were born into this valley of pain? So then, all who live here must expect bitter tears and suffering, and no matter how acute or how deep the pain, lift up your eyes to Heaven and offer thanks to the Lord for wishing to test you! ... Oh mankind! Can you not recognise the power of our Lord except when He cures the sores of your bodies, and crowns your days with beauty and fortune? Can you not recognise His love except He adorns you with all the glories, and restores the brilliance and whiteness? You should imitate the one who was given as the example. Having reached the final degree of abjection and misery, while laying upon a dung heap, he said to God, "Lord, I have known all the delights of opulence and You have reduced me to the most absolute misery; thank you, thank you, my Lord, for wishing to test your servant!" How long will your eyes remain fixed upon the horizon limited by death? When will your soul finally decide to launch itself beyond the limits of the tomb? But even if you suffer and cry the whole of this life, what is that compared to the eternal glory reserved for those who suffer their trials with faith, love, and resignation? Seek consolation for your ills in the future which God will prepare for you, and search for the causes in the past. And you, who have suffered the most, consider yourselves the blessed of this Earth.
As discarnates, when floating in space, you chose your own trials, judging yourselves sufficiently strong to support them. Why then do you complain now? You asked for riches and glory because you wished to hold fight with temptation and overcome it. You asked to fight with body and soul against both moral and physical evil, knowing that the harder the trial the greater and more glorious the victory; that as long as you have triumphed, despite the fact of your body ending up on a dung heap at death, it will release a soul of radiant whiteness purified by the baptism of atonement and suffering.
What remedy can be prescribed for those attacked by cruel obsessions and mortifying evils? There is but one infallible way: through faith, which is the appeal to Heaven. If at the moment of highest poignancy in your suffering you intone hymns to the Lord, then the angel at your bedside will show you the sign of salvation and the place which you will one day occupy... Faith is the only sure remedy for suffering. It will always show the infinite horizon before which the few cloudy days of the present will vanish. Therefore, do not ask what is the remedy for ulcer or sore, temptation or trial. Remind yourselves that those who believe are strengthened through the remedy of faith, and those who doubt of its efficiency, be it even for an instant, will be immediately punished because they will quickly feel the pungent anguishes of affliction.
The Lord has put His seal upon all those who believe in Him. Christ told you that it was possible to move mountains by faith alone, and I tell you that he who suffers, yet has faith to uphold him, will remain under the protection of the Lord and will suffer no more. The moments of greatest pain will become the first happy notes of eternity. The soul will detach itself from the body in such a manner that, while the latter is still writhing in convulsions, it will be gliding into the celestial regions, singing hymns of gratitude and glory to the Lord together with the angels. Fortunate are those who suffer and weep! Happy be their souls because God will heap them with blessings. - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1863).