Jesus has suffered for all of us, and suffers in all of us. He is the reason why redemption and glory are destined to rise up out of our own suffering, if we adhere to Him in faith, hope, and love. It doesn't usually "feel" this way when we are going through difficulties and pain. But in the life of the Church, God has given us signs that suffering has indeed been transformed. For example, some saints have experienced the marvel of an ecstatic and wholly supernatural joy—a kind of anticipation of glory—that penetrates the heart of suffering itself.
Such joy—the foretaste of glory—is a kind of miracle, a special gift of grace. It is given to chosen souls. It lights the way for us all. We can see radical examples of this miracle of ecstasy and glory in the ancient accounts of the early Christian martyrs.
The history of the church in Rome during the great persecutions includes the story of the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, whose luminous courage comes down to us through the ages in the form of an unconquerable (and profound) sense of irony and wit. When compelled by the authorities to surrender "the treasures of the church," Lawrence appeared in the presence of the magistrates with a crowd of poor people, proclaiming that "these are the treasures of the Church."
Later on, the story tells us that—as he was being roasted alive on a grill—Lawrence joked to his executioners, “You can turn me over. I’m done on this side”! In the spirit of this transcendent humor, the Christian people honor St. Lawrence as the patron of cooks—this is not a crude analogy, but a recognition in the heart of the Church that the triumph of the Cross penetrates all the way to the details of ordinary life.
The joy of St. Lawrence is a sign for us, not unlike the Transfiguration was for Jesus’s disciples. It is a flash of eternity in the memory of God’s People, reminding them of the real truth of the things of time.