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Defocused abstract loneliness concept. Cropped feet of lonely young woman sitting on stone. Solitude

In the past few weeks, I’ve found a great deal of inspiration from other women, some saints included, who — even in great physical pain and suffering — resigned their will to God’s…

And it’s given me a lot of pause.

When St. Zelie was dying from cancer, she made a trip to Lourdes in hopes that it would bring about healing.

I’ve made that sort of trip before. I know what that’s like.

And instead of receiving that healing and relief, Zelie continued to near the end of her life.

She didn’t get what she had hoped and prayed for.

She wrote, “The Blessed Mother didn’t cure me in Lourdes. What can you do, my time is at an end, and God wants me to rest elsewhere other than on earth.” (Letter 216)

This really struck me.

How often do I take God’s answer to a prayer — especially when it is not the answer I was looking for — and say, “What can you do? God wants something else.”

Instead, I more often fight it and keep searching for my answer — keep asking for it, anyway, in my prayers.

I need to learn better how to accept God’s answers, and to be willing to embrace them even, when they’re not what I had hoped for.

My Babcia (my Polish Grandmother) seems to do this pretty well — aloud, anyhow. If something bad happens, she’ll often say, “Whatcha gonna do?” She knows it’s in God’s hands.

Saint Bernadette is another woman who greatly suffered, but also accepted God’s will that she was not meant to be healed in this world or in her lifetime.

Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette and told her to dig a well where water would spring forth — water that would cure so many people (through Our Lady’s intercession, no doubt!), and yet, St. Bernadette didn’t drink of this water or bathe in it like those who had been cured… No. She was told by our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, that she would not be happy in this world, but that she would be happy in the next.

I have to believe that this can be true for all of us if we seek His will and accept it.

St. Bernadette said, “Why must we suffer? Because here below, pure Love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours.”

This reminds me of something one of my best friends does. When she might be suffering or having a hard day or a hard time with something, she thinks of others who are probably having a worse time — and others who are suffering more.

Who suffered more than Jesus? If our suffering can remind us of the suffering of others, then it should also remind us of the suffering Jesus experienced; great suffering, and all because of His great love — for us, for you and for me.

Do you know about the ‘lean in’ movement? It’s something that has been made popular by Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.” It’s about what holds women back from achieving their goals in the workplace, and elsewhere. The idea of “leaning in” is about taking advantages and opportunities that come your way.

Now, I’m sure I’m not using this term the way Sheryl meant it, but these saint’s stories of St. Bernadette and St. Zelie remind me to lean in — to lean in to God’s will, whatever that may be. Because that is how we’ll get closer to achieving our goals: greater union with Christ, and eternal union with our Father. This is the way to Freedom, and the only way to true Love.