Every creature is endowed with what were called virtues during antiquity and which in artists and saints reach exceptional levels. The environment and the family often work together in a determining way to foster them or at least to reveal them.
When reading the writings and the testimonies of her spiritual sons and daughters one discovers that in Maria Aristea a capacity to bear physical and moral pain was especially developed, but what strikes one even more is the way in which she derived joy from this. An exceptional virtue.
She knew how to conceal pain from other people behind a smile or constant gaiety and then within her intimate self she transformed it into a feeling of joy, to the point that she became sad if she did not have it or at the least if it was attenuated. The people who knew her, or who learn today about her existence, rightly ask themselves if there can be a creature who prefers pain to joy.
The search for pleasure in suffering seems to be a characteristic of a person who is masochistic but for Aristea, by unanimous opinion, such was not the case. Is there perhaps an explanation for this propensity?
Yes, and it is the following. Maria Aristea had acquired ever since she was a little girl the awareness that she had a debt: the debt of justice towards God.
The Lord, in His infinite love for men, sacrificed his only begotten son Jesus Christ, a man who was poor, persecuted, slandered and condemned. He died on the cross! This, and only this, thought made Maria Aristea prefer pain to joy, humiliation to honour, the cross and suffering to an easy and comfortable life, and intimate union with the divine to human satisfaction and pleasure.
And it was precisely her environment and family that contributed to her awareness of this capacity of hers which with time was transformed into the purpose of her existence.
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