How the Saints were helped in bad times, and what they recommended us to do

(Image: Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash)

8 min • November 26, 2021

The Saints universally recommend that we meditate on the Passion of Christ, as the best thing we can do for our salvation. It’s also extremely helpful in dealing with bad times.

Consider two facts: Jesus didn’t deserve any punishment at all, and we deserve more punishment for our sins than we’ve received. And yet Jesus died the worst death on the cross.

So the bad things that happen to us are punishments, but are not nearly as bad as they should be, because Jesus lightened them for us by taking most of the punishment for us. That should encourage us to be grateful to Jesus. Pray for gratitude for this and you’ll have it.

Besides this, he did this out of love for us. Not just “all humanity” as some anonymous collective, but he died for each individual person as if he had only died for that person and that person alone. He made this sacrifice for you personally. Pray that this inspires you with love for Jesus.

Meditating on the Passion is the whole point of the Rosary. Mary was there in nearly all the important moments in the life and death of Jesus, and she intercedes for us in Heaven whenever we ask for it. So she’s able to help us to know Jesus the way she did, with her unique perspective.

And what does Mary want for us most of all? For everyone to know Jesus like she did, love Jesus like she did, and serve Jesus the way she did. Why? Because, like any good mother, she wants us to be happy.

Jesus is the source of all our potential happiness. First of all because he’s God. But second of all because he redeemed us from sin by his Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

But not everyone will be redeemed! Why? Because we have to choose to accept Jesus’s sacrifice, turn away from sins, and cooperate with his grace to do good and avoid sin. But not everyone wants to do that.

And consider this fact: God is always happy. I don’t mean giddy or gleeful, like those people who always smile smiles that you can tell are fake, or creepy people. But I mean nothing can take away God’s happiness.

That’s another big difference between Jesus and people who love sin: Jesus was happy while bad things were happening to him—even while he was dying on the cross! But people who sin are never happy no matter how many good things God gives them in this life.

So if we want to be happy even during bad times, we have to be like Jesus. Which means we need to imitate him.

That’s why there’s books with names like Imitation of Christ. Or why we’re called Christians, or “Christ-ians.” Either we decided we wanted to follow Jesus, or someone else decided it for us at our baptism when we were younger.

But it’s a conscience choice we have to make. If you haven’t yet made it, pray that Jesus helps you make the right choice.

He wants us to pick up our crosses and carry them. That’s what being a real Christian means. But that sounds scary! It sounds difficult, painful, and something to avoid, not to do!

But look: even while he was carrying his cross, he didn’t accept people’s pity. He said, “daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children.”

See! He was not sad or depressed because of the Passion. He did not weep like a baby, or cry out for help, or shout angrily at the bad men nailing him to the cross. Most people would have.

That’s probably why the Good Thief (St. Dismas) was convinced, and changed his mind. At first, he was scoffing and mocking Jesus just like the other thief. But then a little while later, he said, “do you not fear God? For we have received our just punishment. But this man has done nothing wrong! Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!”

He saw that this man was different than everyone else, probably because he was calm and peaceful even while he was dying on the cross, not sinning, not offending anyone, not sad or angry. None of that would be kingly behavior to convince a criminal he’s a real king!

It’s probably also why one of the soldiers said “certainly this man was innocent!” And why another of them said “truly, this was the Son of God!”

Because Jesus was strong, calm, collected, peaceful, and overall happy while dying on the cross.

And “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” His character doesn’t change, he is always just as strong and calm and peaceful. And he can share that with us! That’s what being a “disciple” means, it means learning how to be like the teacher.

But that word “disciple” also is related to “discipline.” The Letter to the Hebrews says “it is for discipline that you have to endure—God is treating you as sons! For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”

This is part of the mystery of Christ: all Christians are going to be made like Jesus, but it will involve sharing in a special way his sufferings and pain. But through that sharing in his Passion, we also share in all his blessings too.

And his blessings are far more than anything we could imagine. Read the gospels and you will see that the blessings of Jesus are on a whole other level than the good things of this life. The holy books on this website also say the same thing, and a good number of book snippets here do to, so click a random one to get an example or two.

That’s why St. Paul said “I consider that the sufferings of this life are not worth comparing to the glory of the life to come.” He doesn’t just say “are less than” but that they’re not even worthy of comparison! It’s like comparing the Sun to an ant. Who would win in a fight? The sun or an ant?

Do not worry. Trust in Jesus. Whenever temptations are strong, temptations to sin, or to be sad, or scared, or angry, or anxious, or to look at the threats of the world, of the devil, or of your own temptations, just look to Jesus. Especially his Passion. Call on him for help. Call his Precious Blood down upon yourself. Say some little prayer to Jesus Crucified in your heart whenever such bad or sad thoughts come to mind.

This is much easier to do when you have meditated often on the Passion. There are many good ways, a good variety of ways, that you can do this:

  • Keep pictures on your walls of Jesus in the Passion and look at them often

  • Keep a Crucifix on every wall and look at it often

  • Listen often to the Audio Bible linked to on this website, which has all 4 gospel accounts of the Passion, and an amazing voice actor for Jesus

  • Watch the Passion of the Christ if you’re old enough, or the safe parts if you’re still an early teenager (But make sure to skip those scary horror-movie parts no matter how old you are)

  • Wear a Crucifix on a necklace and kiss it often, and each time from your heart

  • Have some devotions related to the Passion, like devotion to the Sacred Heart, or the Precious Blood, or join some prayer group like Auxiliam Christianorum which has many benefits

  • Read good books that talk about the Passion of Jesus or explain it, especially ones on this website

Jesus said “it is not my Father’s will that any of these little ones perish.” God is not out to get us. And when we meditate more and more on the Passion, we will see God’s love in every good or bad thing that happens to us, and all of it will be useful to make us love God more and more, until finally we’re with God completely, first in this life and then the next.

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