Accepting Suffering

Life and Poetry Jul 3, 2024
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24

It is both surprising and disheartening that many of us, Christians, have forgotten the purpose of our sufferings and the potential they hold for transformation. I, too, struggle with accepting suffering, but understanding its significance makes the pain somewhat more bearable. Although we may accept it hesitantly, we do so willingly, knowing its greater purpose.

I believe we need no further proof, as even before the miracle witnessed by a crowd of thousands, including those up to 25 miles away from the site, in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, our Mother Mary had already revealed the transformative power of suffering to the three children to whom she appeared.

Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners? – Our Lady of Fatima to the three children, May 13, 1917
Pray, pray much, and sacrifice for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.” Our Lady of Fatima, August 19, 1917

Since its early days, the Catholic Church, guided by the teachings of St. Paul, St. Augustine, and Origen, has consistently taught the redemptive power of our sufferings when united with Christ's sacrifice for the salvation of humanity. Suffering holds such significance that many saints have devoted their lives to enduring it for the sake of sinners. Blessed with the grace to embrace suffering lovingly and without hesitation or complaint, they exemplify profound spiritual strength.

Suffering is my daily bread; my delight.” – St. Padre Pio: Miracle Man

We are all called to offer our sufferings to Jesus, not only for our own sins but also as reparations for the sins of our brothers and sisters whom we can assist through them. Let us also remember that God transcends time, allowing even our past sufferings to be offered. Therefore, if you have endured much suffering in the past, find solace in knowing that offering it to the Lord has served an even greater purpose.

The storms that are raging around you will turn out to be for God’s glory, your own merit, and the good of many souls.” – St. Padre Pio: Miracle Man

So, the next time you suffer, remember all the souls that your suffering can aid—souls in need of someone to suffer for them. May God bless you all!