Sacraments: Suffering can lead to salvation :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

By Brian Pizzalato

St. Paul’s understanding of suffering as a participation in salvation is especially evident when he speaks of how his suffering affects others.
In 2 Timothy Paul says, “Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2:3). Following this Paul speaks of his imprisonment for the preaching of the Gospel, “the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal” (v. 9).         continue

Sacraments: St. Paul explains the meaning of suffering :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Below is an article I found for our continued meditation and study on the value of suffering. 

Sacraments: St. Paul explains the meaning of suffering :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) 

By Brian Pizzalato

There is one person who stands out above all to give an answer to these deepest of questions, namely St. Paul. In St. Paul’s writings we find a greatly developed meaning of suffering. Pope John Paul II explains why St. Paul writes so much on suffering: “The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help – just as it helped him – to understand the salvific meaning of suffering” (Salvifici Doloris, 1).

Two questions have plagued the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike: why is there suffering? Why does God allow suffering?  continue here

Infertility, Suffering & Anointing

Some of us have been called to the cross of “infertility or sub-fertility” sufferings.  Have you ever considered what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about anointing of the sick?  Don’t you consider that your situation is a problem of health?  Just as Hannah found herself at the Altar of the Lord (where the sacrificial offering took place in the temple)  and Fr. Eli confirmed that her prayer was heard, isn’t this something we should also consider as we seek to build our family?  Anointing and prayer from our holy priesthood?  If Jesus is seen as the Divine Healer and the priest is considered standing in the place of Christ, maybe we should consider seeking him for this prayer.  Just something to be considered as we are all seeking God’s will and healing hand upon our daily lives.  As we seek healing in the physical realm from our medical doctors so should we seek healing and help from our good holy priests within the Catholic Church.

God Bless!

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church


I. ITS FOUNDATIONS IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION
Illness in human life

1500 Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.

1501 Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.




Suffering for What?

Here goes nothing…well, I was going to pour out my soul but obviously I wasn’t meant to as my computer froze and I lost my posting.  So, I will say that through these last 3 1/2 years I have never actually shared who I am because this Ministry is more about the one seeking comfort not about who I am and what I have suffered.  I will tell you that we all have our fair share of suffering and the only way to survive is through the gift of HOLY ACCEPTANCE.  I do believe that the chaplet of Hannah’s Tears is a great prayer to work towards this gift of acceptance as well as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and just the quiet reflection you get when taking care of your Domestic Church (your home).
 
Show me oh Lord  how to accept!  Below is a teaching about redemptive suffering I found from www.thedefender.org, hope it will be a blessing to you.  

 

Redemptive Suffering

A Summary:Redemptive suffering is the belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one’s sins or for the sins of another. Like an indulgence, redemptive suffering does not gain the individual forgiveness for their sin; forgiveness results from God’s grace, freely given through Christ, which cannot be earned. After one’s sins are forgiven, the individual’s suffering can reduce the penalty due for sin. 

 

 

We believe God loves mankind so much that He made Himself human in Jesus in order to redeem mankind. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16) 

 

We believe our suffering can be united to that of Christ and so in union with His Passion. “As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross.” (Matthew 27:32) 

 

Why Suffering: (1) Everyone asks the question (in some form or another), Why suffering? Each religion has a different answer. In Hinduism, suffering is seen as the result of karmic debt owed from a prior incarnation. Buddhists believe they suffer in life because of their desires that can be relieved by good meditation and prayers. In Judaism, suffering is seen as everything from senseless to positively willed by God as a result of Jewish disobedience. In Islam, suffering is seen as the result of Allah’s positive will. For some brands of Protestantism, suffering is always the result of personal sin. 

 

Every human being undergoes pain, and we all want it to have meaning (and so not despair). Amidst this, always remember: there are two kinds of suffering-redemptive suffering and wasted suffering…Which one will you choose? 

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages and reminds us of our vocation: “By His passion and death on the Cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to Him and unite us with His redemptive passion” (#1505). 

 

The Value and Meaning of Redemptive Suffering: (1)Redemptive suffering is any trial or tribulation (physical or mental) we offer up and UNITE to Jesus- as a “gift” to Him to express our love thru a costly way, in exchange for some other good. Notice the key elements: we consciously choose embrace suffering; it is precious (a “gift”) because it is painful (not fun or “easy”); it brings us closer to Jesus in an intimate and intense way; and the suffering may “spiritually repair” my own soul or others-and thereby help in the work of redemption (Christ’s allowing me to help Him save souls). 

 

Other names/descriptions of this phenomenon include: vicarious atonement (Jesus, Who alone can atone the sins of the world, chooses others to “vicariously assist Him” and thereby weave more people into the plan of salvation; victim souls (a person whose primary call as a disciple in life is to especially suffer for the saving of other souls); and co-redemption. 

 

Ask yourself these questions: How can I intensely merge my sufferings with Christ (i.e., more deeply)? How can I more readily blend my trials with Him (i.e. not hesitating in offering suffering to Him)? How can I consistently entwine my difficulties with Him (less sporadically)? 

 

The Bible and Suffering:There are many versus in the Bible referring to redemptive suffering. The following verses are a few of those most quoted: “Whoever follows me must take up his cross…” (Mt 10: 38). 

 

“So they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41) ” 

 

“Therefore we are not discouraged, rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (II Cor 4: 16). ” 

 

“With Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is now no longer I that live but Christ Who lives in me” (Gal 2:19-20). 

 

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, for I fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” (Col:24). 

 

“This indeed is a grace, if for consciousness of God anyone endures sorrows, suffering. unjustly.” (I Pt 2: 19). 

 

“For the Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.” (Rm 8:16-18) 

 

“What we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed in us…We know that all things work for good for those who love God…For I am convinced that neither life nor death…nor future things, nor powers nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Rm 8:18, 28,38). 

 

Offering it Up: (2)Offering it Up (or “Making a Good Intention”) is done in both formal and informal ways. 

 

Formally, many Catholics make the Morning Offering to give to Our Lord that day’s efforts, works, joys, sufferings, and intentions. At the Mass, we consciously, silently, and privately offer ourselves up, along with the Son, to the Father during the Offertory. 

 

Informally, we “offer it up” by simply asking God in our own words to use a suffering as it occurs; we often do this for specific intentions (ex., “Use this pain, Lord, for the salvation of my brother…”). We might follow the example of the young St. Thérèse of Lisieux and make use of Sacrifice Beads, or the extraordinary among us might make the Heroic Act of Charity for the souls in Purgatory. 

 

It’s quite a discipline to react to suffering this way! In mental or physical pain? Drop something on your toe? Putting up with a co-worker who is making your life a living Hell? Enduring the constant ache of arthritis? Standing in line at the grocery and hating every minute of it? Spill the milk? Accept these things in peace, and ask God to use them for the good of the Church or for a more specific intention close to your heart. 

 

You’ll find that it is not uncommon to hear one Catholic tell another who is suffering to “offer it up” as a way of dealing with his suffering. It should be remembered, though, that while it is most definitely good to tell someone to “offer it up,” it is also easy — and that we are called, too, to comfort those who are suffering, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to care for the sick, etc. Telling someone to offer it up without also helping him to deal with the temporal and emotional effects of whatever he is going through is not the fully Christian response. Even Our Lord was helped while carrying His Cross: St. Veronica wiped the sweat and Blood from His Holy Face, and St. Simon of Cyrene helped Him bear the Cross itself. 

 

And always help the suffering to retain (or regain) hope that his suffering is not in vain. Assure him that he will partake of “the consolation”: 

 

The Ultimate in “Offering it up”: Victim Souls (2)A victim soul is someone who has been chosen by God to participate in Christ’s Passion in a very special way by manifesting the signs of His sufferings, often in their very own bodies. Suffering for the sake of love is their vocation, and such suffering is willingly accepted for the benefit of the Church. The attitude and plea of the victim soul is summed up by this prayer of St. Catherine of Siena, “The only cause of my death is my zeal for the Church of God, which devours and consumes me. Accept, O Lord, the sacrifice of my life for the Mystical Body of Thy holy Church. “ 

 

St. Lydwine of Schiedam, the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) were three other such souls, and there have been many more. Often, but not necessarily, these souls receive the stigmata on the palms of their hands or on their feet, the wounds left by the crown of thorns, wounds in their sides as if made by a lance, stripes on their bodies as if caused by scourging, and other bodily phenomena that recall His Passion. 

 

In conclusion:“It is in suffering that we are withdrawn from the bright superficial film of existence, from the sway of time and mere things and find ourselves in the presence of profounder truth.” + Fr. Yves Conger, French priest-theologian. 

 

Jim Fritz 

 

Notes:(1) Why Do People Suffer? 

 

Wordless Wednesday (with some words)

“I know by experience that in hours of trial certain graces are obtained for others that all our efforts had not previously obtained. I have thus concluded that suffering is the higher form of action, the best expression in the wonderful communion of saints. . .Through it God consents to accomplish everything. Suffering helps Christ to save the world and souls. When I am overwhelmed by the immensity of my desires for those I love, . .it is toward suffering that I turn. It is through suffering that I ask to be allowed to serve as an intermediary between God and souls. It is the perfect form of prayer, the only infallible form of action. “

~Servant of God Elizabeth Leseur

The Church Suffering..

The feast of the Martyrs of Uganda is not until June 3, but with all of the suffering and struggles we are enduring, I thought it a blessing to find these great intercessors who endured with great courage for the true faith.  We must     also encourage one another, and truly pray like never before,  for the future of our Church and Her people.  I say this as it is very painful to think of Fr. Cor.api  unable to say a public Mass.  We should think of him as he is like someone without children, no flock to feed but spiritually… He is truly in the desert with Christ, and so we should also follow, during this season of Lent.  May God bless our suffering pr.iests and keep them hidden within His sacred wounds. 


Martyrs of Uganda, pray for the faith where it is in danger and for Christians who must suffer because of their faith. Give them the same courage, zeal, and joy you showed. And help those of us who live in places where Christianity is accepted to remain aware of the persecution in other parts of the world. Amen

Suffering with Love

I wanted to give my life to God but I didn’t want to suffer. No, I knew what suffering felt like and it was painful and I was too afraid to ask for more.
But God sent* me suffering despite my fears. He sent suffering like nothing I’d ever experienced before. A new depth of suffering that I thought I’d never survive.
My life was turned upside down when our baby Thomas was diagnosed with a life threatening abnormality during his 18 week ultrasound. I left the ultrasound crying and the tears continued for months as I contemplated the future death of our child.
Thomas was born. He was placed on life support equipment while his condition was stabilised and assessed. I watched his little body hooked up to tubes and wires and I cried and I prayed and I hoped. His condition changed from stable to unstable and back again, a dozen times an hour, and I felt I was riding an emotional roller coaster. One moment there was hope, the next moment there was despair. One moment I thought it would be easier to let him die, but the next minute I wanted to suffer any anguish if only he lived.
Thomas died. I looked at his tiny body marked by needles and thought, “Your suffering is over Thomas, but mine is just beginning.” Yes, the suffering that was to come was of a totally different degree to that I had already experienced.
I came home from the hospital with this huge pain within my chest. Something inside me had knotted up tight and was throbbing away, throbbing away constantly, never letting me forget my grief.
I was in anguish. I was in mental pain. I couldn’t forget. I couldn’t stop thinking. I couldn’t prevent the constant questioning. Why? Why had God let Thomas die? Why was I in so much pain? Was there any value in suffering and what did it all mean? Would the sorrow ever disappear?
God felt so very far away in those early grief-filled months. At first I was angry with God. I felt He’d abandoned me. I felt unworthy of God’s attention. I had begged Him to come to my aid but all was silent. How could I continue to trust Him?
But soon the anger dissipated and I began to accept that God knew what was best for me. I accepted the fact that He didn’t save Thomas’ life and then I expected the pain to lift. I thought God would rush in and save me as soon as I’d embraced my situation. But He didn’t. He still seemed so very far away and the pain persisted.
One day I discovered the book, Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr de Caussade. As I read and prayed, I slowly began to understand the value of accepting what God sends me at any moment, regardless of my feelings and my desires. I learnt to say, “God, if You want me to feel this pain, I will accept it. I trust that You know what is best for me. I would like to be happy but You have chosen to send me sorrow instead. In some way that must be good because You love me so very much…”
And so life continued although it was entirely devoid of joy. I no longer belonged to the normal world. I felt so alone.
Every day I’d drag myself from my bed. I’d check: yes, the pain was still intense. Accept it. God has allowed it. Keep going…one foot in front of the other…just get through this one day…don’t think of tomorrow or the next day…
I prayed constantly. Sometimes I was unaware I was doing this because to me, I was just thinking about Thomas. But in reality, I was pondering everything in my heart, trying to make sense of it all and talking to God all the time. Sometimes I deliberately prayed certain prayers: the prayer to St Michael the Archangel and “Jesus I trust in Thee”. I imagined Satan trying to pull me down into that pit of despair and I tried to fight back, “No, I trust! I am not going to despair!” Perhaps by saying I trusted, I could actually make trust a reality.
But there were times when it all seemed too much. I just wanted to give in. I wanted to lie down and never get up again. I was tired of everyone saying, “Sue, you have so much courage.” I didn’t want to be strong. I didn’t want to fight. I wanted to surrender to self pity.
I wondered if God had sent this great suffering to me as a lesson. Was I so worthless and such a great sinner that I needed to be taught in such a painful manner? And then I thought about St Teresa of Avila who’d said, “God, if this is how You treat Your friends, it’s no wonder You have so few.” What if suffering could be looked upon as a gift from God? Could it be that God gives suffering to those He loves? What if suffering has great value and does God use our sufferings? I thought about how closely we must be united to Jesus through our suffering. Could He use my suffering and could I actually be happy to suffer for Him?
Not many people would ask for suffering. I didn’t. It came to me unbidden. But could I still accept this cross and offer it back to God? Once I started thinking about suffering in this way, my sorrow didn’t seem so pointless. There was a reason to keep struggling along. My long painful days could be used. They were difficult to endure but some good was coming out of them. It helped enormously.
After understanding the value of suffering, I wondered, “If suffering is so good won’t God keep sending me more?” And although I was prepared to keep suffering, I also longed to feel joy again and to see my children smile and for us to be happy. I talked to a priest about this and he replied that God does want us to taste heaven while still on earth. There would be joy ahead again. I just had to keep plodding along.
I kept moving one step at a time, one day at a time, praying and hoping and offering up my sorrow. Gradually things got better. I’d look back and think, “Today was a good day…I haven’t had a bad day this week…this fortnight…this month.” Eventually I realised I’d come through the other side. I’d survived.
Some years later, a priest referred to those black months of my life as a dark night of the soul. I knew all about such nights from reading the works of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. But I had never applied the term to my own experience. Weren’t dark nights for saints? And I am far from saintly.
I am sure God was there beside me every step of the way through the suffering of that dark time. No, I couldn’t feel His presence. But I know He didn’t abandon me. Didn’t I learn to accept, to keep going despite the sorrow? And every time I tumbled down into that deep pit of despair, didn’t He send someone along to help drag me out and set me on my feet again? When I fell to the floor and wanted to give in, didn’t I always eventually struggle up again? Didn’t He bring me to the point where I could give myself completely to Him, accepting everything and trusting Him regardless of the pain? I could never have got there without God. Of course He hadn’t abandoned me.
I have had other sufferings since Thomas’ death and there will be more ahead. I still do not want to suffer. I am still afraid of the pain. But God helped me through the darkest experience of my life. Why should He abandon me in the future? I need to keep praying that I will always trust God whatever happens.
I still want to give my life to God. I still want to love Him above everything. I know now that this cannot be achieved without suffering. Today I can say, “I love you God!” It is easy. But will I still be able to utter these words in my darkest hour, when suffering has descended once again? If I can…  then, I will know that I truly love Him with all my heart.* Whether God actually sends suffering or whether He just permits suffering, I do not really understand. The end result however is the same.

Please share my stories at Sue Elvis Writes

A Grieving Father’s Thoughts on Suffering

I originally composed the following letter in response to an inquiry from an old friend regarding the deaths of two of our children. I share it now — despite much anxiety about such public vulnerability — in hope that these words may comfort other grieving parents.

Thank you for your message and prayers. The past two years have been very difficult, if I may understate a little. Burying Mary Bernadette was the most painful and sorrowful experience of my life. At 19 weeks in utero, just as we learned her gender, we learned she had a terminal genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. We prayed every day for healing and/or live birth, but God answered our petitions in the most mysterious of ways: He took her to Himself and healed her without granting us the opportunity to hear her cry. Mary Bernadette was born still at 33 weeks on July 26, 2009. It was especially heartbreaking to see our sole living child, Brighid, aware of everything, having to bury her sister while she herself was almost three years old.

Mary Bernadette Victoria's casket; handmade by Trappist monks; lovingly donated by our friends.Then nine months later, we experienced a miscarriage at around six weeks in utero. While a little less devastating — because we only knew of little Innocent for two weeks — it nonetheless reopened our deepest wounds. Again, Brighid has been fully engaged: just last week she told us Innocent was a boy. We still don’t know if she had a dream about him, or what, but she speaks as if she saw him.

Mary Bernadette Victoria's grave and headstone.Regarding being less certain of things than we once were: it is the hope and hubris of youth, to impose our wills upon the world, to assert our ideas as certainties and to promote our ideals as truths. I have Faith — “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” — that God is Love, that Love itself is a mystery, and therefore God is the unending font of the mystery of Love. I mean to say, albeit in a wordy way, that I believe a healthy sense of mystery is not only permissible, but usually required for a mature, honest relationship with God. I’m not without my doubts, but neither was Saint Thomas, and though Jesus mildly corrected him, He did not reject Thomas for his doubt. Likewise, God did not abandon Job, even when he doubted and cried out at the injustice of being deprived of an objective good (his children).

Mary Bernadette Victoria's entry in the Book of Life at the Shrine of The Holy Innocents.I’ve been meditating on Job’s story quite a bit. One mystery I keep coming back to: God withheld any response from Job until Job demanded an answer. Granted, God’s response was a bit frightening, and definitely humbling, but also consoling (paraphrased): “I am God, the Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth. You are not being punished. I have my reasons, and they are beyond you. Humble yourself and trust me. I will restore you.” A very patient fatherly correction. Contrast that with God’s response to Job’s friends: “I am angry with you. You have not spoken rightly concerning Me, as has my servant Job. Let my servant Job pray for you; for his prayer I will accept, not to punish you severely.” Not only does He call their “prosperity gospel” a lie, He calls Job His servant, and holds Job up as the standard by which his friends should measure themselves.

Suffering, like Love, is a mystery I don’t pretend to understand. But we have found it to produce much Redemptive fruit in our lives and among our friends. Perhaps Job’s suffering and restoration was meant as much for Job’s redemption as it was for Job’s friends’ redemption. And perhaps God is working something similar in our lives, among our friends and family. I’m not certain at all, but the thought does give me Hope.

Mary Bernadette Victoria and Tiny Innocent, pray for us.

P.S. If you or someone you know is suffering the death of a child and/or infertility, I cannot overstate the consolation brought to us by:

The Apostolate of Hannah’s Tears “offers prayer support and comfort to the brokenhearted who suffer the pains of infertility at any stage of life, difficult pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of a child and the adoption process.”

Naming the Child: Hope-Filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death, and its companion website.

The Shrine of The Holy Innocents: “Often children who have died before birth have no grave or headstone, and sometimes not even a name. At The Church of The Holy Innocents, we invite you to name your child(ren) and to have the opportunity to have your baby’s name inscribed in our ‘Book of Life.’ Here, a candle is always lit in their memory. All day long people stop to pray. On the first Monday of every month, Mass is celebrated in honor of these children and for the comfort of their families. We pray that you will find peace in knowing that your child(ren) will be remembered at the Shrine and honored by all who pray here.”

Fr. Stan Explains the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering

Video

God bless Fr. Stan, he prayed over me many years ago regarding Hannah’s Tears Ministry. Let us all become apostles of prayer and hope within the cross of suffering. Listen with open ears, the Church has the answers that you need. Don’t forget to watch all 10 parts of Fr. Stan’s video, he has much to say. God bless you!