The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page
The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives


Sacred Scripture

Return to:  Home > Archives Index > Sacred Scripture Index

Understanding the Bible Series:
Enduring Pain - Part 2

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.


If I want to be happy, I must be willing to endure some pain. I put the adjective some pain in there to make it easy on you. This just even stands to reason. Say you women you are looking at a beautiful dress. You’ve got so much money. You look at the price. It should turn you away but for some women it turns them on. Pain for anything we buy is painful. Say, the most ordinary human relations, whatever we want costs us. Things we don’t like to do we do because we want something which has a price tag. Why then must I be willing to endure pain? Because true joy costs. It is expensive, it is dear. There are two kinds or levels of joy. There’s natural joy and there’s supernatural joy. And I am speaking from the depths of my soul, I may have to suffer internally, naturally and deeply if I want to be happy supernaturally or spiritually. These are not clichés, this is not poetry. The only persons who are truly happy are those who understand the meaning of pain.

I was out of state for two days, Thursday and Friday, got back close to midnight on Friday, then yesterday a mountain of things to do. I kept reminding myself, Hardon, you’ve got class on Sunday. The only way I could prepare for class was after other responsibilities were fulfilled. So I just, and believe me, I know, I like sleep, but to retire well after one o’clock this morning and get up early enough to continue preparing class. As I’ve told so many of my Jesuits, you cannot be a teacher unless you come prepared, come prepared every single class. And my average is three hours of preparation for one hour of class.

In the same context, still on patience we can also distinguish between two kinds of prudence. Natural prudence is to choose what my reason tells me is a suitable means for a predetermined end. That’s the standard definition of prudence—choosing suitable means for a good, predetermined end. However, once a person has the faith, that prudence will inspire that same individual to choose certain means for a predetermined good end that seem like positive folly, if not insanity for those who don’t have the faith. Like what? Like, [I don’t know if I’ve got it with me], you faithfully read the Detroit News and free press, faithfully, every day and sympathetically for six weeks and you will need miraculous infusion of grace to preserve your Catholic faith. I’ve said this before and I wish to insist, America is a hypnotized nation. Hypnosis is the ability to have another person do your will. That’s the essence of hypnosis. We’re hypnotized. And the media are doing just that. So then if I am to be prudent supernaturally, there are things that I will not use, I will not have. You cannot watch television day after day and turn on any station at random and keep, I don’t say your faith, even keep the most fundamental virtue. So that supernatural prudence, not may, but will tell us to give up, surrender certain things because we have another purpose than those who use these things and in life.


I’ve said this before but especially in this subject of happiness or joy, there is no substitute for having experienced true joy. I mean this, there are many people, I can prove it, who’ve never really been truly happy in their lives. I hope you believe me. But once you’ve experienced this true joy you will not be satisfied with any counterfeits. When you will talk to people, the way I’m trying to talk to you, they shake their heads, blink, but they do not understand your language. I divide the human race into people who are living in this world and this world only and people who are in this world but are living in eternal life. And that is why I tell them, ‘Look from what you are telling me I don’t think you have ever really experienced true joy. So follow my advice, try this out, a week, three days, one day, even just one day, and see what happens. It won’t be easy.’ But people have come back to me and told me, “Father thanks I never realized this kind of happiness is possible, it’s real. I want to get on top of a mountain and shout.”


If we’re going to be truly happy, we must not only have the faith or keep the faith, we must grow in our faith. In other words, we’re going to be only as happy as whatever we do, we do through the eyes of faith.

To illustrate, I’m always safe when I talk about this sinner. Last night, 5:30 we have dinner and it’s served till 6:30. I took a place at table, there are six men to a table. There was one seat still left when I sat down. In my heart I thought, ‘wouldn’t that be great if nobody comes to sit across from me because then I’ll finish in good time, smile and walk out.’ Just before I finished the meal one of my very dear friends, fellow priest, sat down, he’s a big man. So I looked at his plate and said, ‘Lord you want it.’ So I stayed put. Am I making sense? So we talked and we talked until 6:30 and so I wouldn’t just be patiently listening to him and because he saw, ‘John, don’t let me stop you.’ So what did I do I got an extra great big cup of Sanka. So I’d take more time. In other words, I’ve got to believe or we’ve got to believe that everything in our lives is planned by God. Including my, the Mass today, it was all planned by God. He knows what a proud scoundrel is Fr. Hardon, so I’ll teach him. I had two main subjects I could give my homily on, either Our Lady of Guadalupe or humility. I chose humility.

Second, reflect on the faith. Meditate on the faith everyday. And it means concretely meditate on your life as you are living it. Or the morning as you are anticipating, God will have you live it during the coming day. So you will see God in everything.


As we’ve said so many times, it is not enough to believe we’ve got to grasp the meaning of what we believe. Meditation, if you people do not practice some mental prayer, some meditation everyday I’ve been wasting your time. Spend some time just talking to our Lord about what’s on your mind. All you’ve got to realize is Whom you’re talking to, it’s not yourself or someone else but God. And then practice. In other words, live the faith and you will be happy. Remember what our Lord told us, “I came that you may have joy…” who can finish the sentence, “and have it…”? “abundantly.” That’s the come on. That’s way Christ gets us to do what He wants us to do. ‘I want to make you very happy.’ ‘Gosh, do I have to do this?’ ‘Yes, what are you grousing about?’


We need constant grace for both the mind and the will. And the very last statement on the bottom of page two, cultivate the habit of daily, frequent, conscious aspirations. I was ready to retire last night or pardon me this morning. About to turn off the lights, I said, “Hardon, just like you.” I forgot to mark in the number of Memorares I had said yesterday, I just want to be very open with you eighty-three. No matter what you’re doing, walking down the streets, cooking a meal, combing your hair, washing your hands, but you make some aspiration. I just hope you’re doing this. Did I threaten you, I was going to ask for a response today? Who remembers? [We, umm, say the Morning Offering Prayer first thing we do when we get up.] In the morning right? [Yes] Well, how many of you have copies of the Morning Offering? Seems not everyone. Remember this is the typed, you can peel off the back of this and paste it on your mirror for example. Everybody have a copy? Say the Morning Offering. Look you don’t get away from class here. During the day talk to our Lord and just if you want to complain, complain. ‘Lord this is terrible, I don’t like to do this’, that’s all right complain to your hearts’ content, He appreciates complaints. And with that I have twenty-six after, so…

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2005 Institute on Religious Life

Conference transcription from a talk that Father Hardon
gave to the Institute on Religious Life

Institute on Religious Life, Inc.
PO. Box 410007
Chicago, Illinois 60641

search tips advanced search

What's New    Site Index

Home | Directory | Eucharist | Divine Training | Testimonials | Visit Chapel | Hardon Archives

Adorers Society | PEA Manual | Essentials of Faith | Dictionary | Thesaurus | Catalog | Newsletters

Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association
718 Liberty Lane
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 815-254-4420
Contact Us

Copyright © 2000 by
All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of