Suffering. It happens everyday—the lingering virus, the teething baby, forgoing the purchase of those desired shoes, the irritating bug bite, the migraine that won’t go away, abstaining from meat on Friday, the drudgery of the long to-do list, the voluntary giving of our things, the long night with the sick child, fasting between meals, the pain at losing a baby too soon, the sorrowful widow, the man dying of cancer, the families suffering and divided because of war, children starving where there is not enough food, the mass sorrow caused by an unthinkable terrorist attack. All because of the first sin.
Suffering. Our whole salvation is based on the voluntary suffering of one Man—a suffering made present at every single Sacrifice of the Mass. But His suffering and our suffering are not meant to be endured alone.
I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his Body, which is the Church. (Colossians 1:24)
Because of His suffering, our suffering can have meaning. In fact, suffering well is a central part of our Christian lives. We are meant to become like Christ, and we become like Him through suffering.
He did not promise to take away our pain in this life—in fact He said that we would suffer and be persecuted. He modeled suffering for us, so that we could suffer with Him by taking every little suffering, every little sorrow, and the bigger sorrows and offering them with His Blessed Mother at the Foot of His Cross. That is where He wants us to go with our sufferings, so that we too can rejoice in our sufferings with Saint Paul. And there is more. Our suffering in union with Christ redeems us. Every offering we make is a means to our sanctification and that of the Church. And that is a reason to rejoice.
How are you suffering today? How can you embrace your suffering? Who can you pray for amidst your own suffering? Let us build up the Body of Christ.
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Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.