7. Suffering can only be perfectly consecrated to God, then, if it is seen as a fruit of baptism. It makes some sense only if it is plunged in the waters of the sacrament. Only these waters give it power to wash and purify. Only baptism sets out clearly who it is that must be formed and perfected by tribulation.
Suffering, therefore, must make sense to us not as a vague universal necessity, but as something demanded by our own personal destiny. When I see my trials not as the collision of my life with a blind machine called fate, but as the sacramental gift of Christ’s love, given to me by God the Father along with my identity and my very name, then I can consecrate them and myself with them to God. For then I realize that my suffering is not my own. It is the Passion of Christ, stretching out its tendrils into my life in order to bear rich clusters of grapes, making my soul dizzy with the wine of Christ’s love, and pouring that wine as strong as fire upon the whole world.