Must we suffer to Grow? This question often arises when we see our loved ones suffering or in pain. The ancient ones gave us the symbol of the Rosy Cross to illustrate this point. This cross represents the body of a man with arms outstretched, petitioning God and the Heavenly Hosts to lessen the suffering, the trials, and the tribulations that seem to crucify the body, purge it of all unwanted frequencies, and then bring about regeneration.

The rose on the cross represents the heart centre of humanity in its spiritual unfoldment, becoming more fragrant and more beautiful and even more inspiring by overcoming the sufferings and trials of the body.┬áThis symbolism reminds us that it is a fundamental law of the spiritual world that through physical, emotional and mental suffering, and the tests and trials that come to the personality, humankind’s mortal, objective consciousness does grow and become more spiritual and masterful.

Trials and sufferings seem to attune us with the sorrows of the world. Once we have this awareness, it does make us more sympathetic, tolerant, and kindly in our attitude toward others. Our own personal experiences teach us the great lessons of life. Through these, we evolve and unfold our characters and personalities like the petals of the rose into the fulfillment of the seed from which it came.

The greatest of the earthly masters preceding Jesus or following him have tried to teach that to smile with the sunshine in human life and to grieve with its suffering makes life rich in expression. Until we can sense the heartaches of the millions who compose our brothers and sisters of the earthly human family, and until we can share wholeheartedly their sufferings, we cannot be one with them. Until we are one with all consciousness on the earth, we cannot be one with the Divine. This is the true law and principle of atonement.

The problem, however, is not that of sharing in the sufferings and tribulations of all mankind but of voluntarily sharing the trials and tribulations of our loved ones. Should we continue to hold back our own development to assist others in theirs? Should we allow the evolution of our soul and the growth and development of our character and personality to continue, unhampered by the restrictions that the lives of others seemed to demand? This is a real problem for many people. It is a serious one that must be faced by many who have loved ones who are very ill.

Must we suffer to grow? According to all of the spiritual laws of the universe, the soul resident within each one of us has been projected forward from the Logos. Its temporary residence in a physical body is for a specific purpose. That purpose has been divinely decreed and authorized. It is not within the power of man’s arbitrary decision or the jurisdiction of his voluntary judgment to direct the course of any soul in its growth or development, but to assist where necessary. For it is in helping others that we help ourselves.