The saint is not one who accepts suffering because he likes it, and confesses this preference before God and men in order to win a great reward. He is one who may well hate suffering as much as anybody else, but who so loves Christ, Whom he does not see, that he will allow His love to be proved by any suffering. And he does this not because he thinks it is an achievement, but because the charity of Christ in his heart demands it be done.
The saint is one so attuned to the spirit and heart of Christ that he is compelled to answer the demands of love by a love that matches that of Christ. This of for him a need so deep and so personal and so exacting that it becomes his whole destiny. The more he answers the secret action of Christ's love in his own heart, the more he comes to know love's inexorable demands.
---Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, 1955.