That was a rather provocative statement to say the least.
Suffering has been the age old question mark concerning God. Why is their suffering? Why do good people suffer? Great minds have tackled this problem with varying degrees of satisfaction. I like C. S. Lewis’, “The Problem with Pain.”
Others have said, “God’s wrath and God’s mercy are two sides of the same coin.” That is, if there is suffering God is trying to use it to bring a person closer to Himself the only way the person might listen.
But what this priest was saying is that suffering, desiring, yearning, are all finger posts pointing us to God. We want something (or want something to stop) and so we can imagine something greater – a better world – a better way of being that seems to, yet seems to not quite exist here – but does exist somewhere. What our desiring is pointing to is God and heaven.
For example, the explosion of porn and porn addiction in our country, what is that really about? Men (mostly) are yearning for something. Is that something really just images? If you ask (most) men if they feel fulfilled by porn – especially after they are finished, you will receive a very mournful and emphatic NO! But there is a deep yearning there and porn can be a quick fix; empty calories to fill the stomach so to speak. The only problem is that it fails to satisfy. Afterwards men are left feeling even emptier (which may lead them back to the porn for more consolation, which make them feel worse – and a vicious cycle has begun.)
No real man really wants porn; they want something greater – something to fill a great need inside of them. They desire love, and communion, and a sense of self worth. Marriage can help this need. It will never completely fill it but it can last us for this life. That is why we have celibates in the Church – to point us toward something even greater. Ultimately these men sho use porn and all of us want – yearn for – that greatest good where we are completely and utterly loved and accepted for who we are and Who we can love back so completely and with utmost trust. As Chesterton said, “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.”
When we yearn, our eyes should turn from the thing we think we desire and realize what we want most deeply is God. Stare at the piece of chocolate cake for which you are not really hungry, and realize that you want the goodness of heaven which is far sweeter, far more comforting, and infinitely less fattening.
This is not a complete answer but gives us something to think about when we are tempted or are suffering.