Lent Day 10 – Rejoice in Our Suffering

by Bishop Robert Barron


St. Paul reflected often on suffering. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).

In his letters, Paul frequently attests to his great suffering. He was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned many times, rejected by his own people, and he suffered under the weight of some ailment—physical or psychological, we don’t really know—for the whole of his life. Finally, of course, he was put to death. He was a man who knew about pain.

But here he tells us that he rejoices in his sufferings because, somehow, they are joined to the sufferings of Christ.

How do we understand this? Well, Christ saved us through an act of suffering. He died for us on the cross, bearing in his own person the weight of our sin. On the cross, suffering and love coincided. And when you think of it, every act of love involves suffering, since love always involves bearing the burden of another.

Now in Paul’s vision, the Church is not a society or a collectivity of like-minded people. Rather, it is a body, made up of interdependent cells, molecules, and organs. We don’t just follow Christ or admire him; we participate in him. Baptism involves just this dynamic of identification and participation.

Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that we will be called upon to suffer. We have been given the privilege of carrying on Christ’s work in the world in just this way.

Charles Williams speaks of the principle of co-inherence as key to Catholicism. This is the idea that we are connected to one another much as the organs and systems of a living body are connected.

Thus, just as one system can take up the work of another, or one organ the burden of another that is ailing, so can one member of the body of Christ bear the burden of another.

In accord with Paul’s master idea, we can consciously offer our suffering—physical, spiritual, psychological—to Christ in order that he might use it, in his own mysterious manner, to benefit someone else. Christ allows us to minister through our pain.

   

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  • Elizabeth

    Here in the United States we have groups formed out of suffering, cancer support groups, widow and widowers meetings, divorced and separated, so on and so forth The purpose is for those suffering to recognize they are not alone. Then you have athletic competitions for special needs persons in order for them to recognize what they are capable of. Who are the people that organize these groups. Compassionate people who have been touched by the suffering whether of themselves or family members. Jesus message love God and love your neighbor as yourself shouts out loud and clear to those suffering through these groups. However, when persons who have participated in these programs recognize they don’t depend on these “feel” good groups, but can go about their everyday life with self-esteem, it is then when these groups are effective for society as a whole. For it is out of love not just for those suffering but to demonstrate that even those who suffer have dignity in their life.

    • Florence Ouzts

      Well said, Elizabeth! “Every act of love involves suffering”! Never did I realize this until my daughter suffered a psychotic break 15 years ago, and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She was auditioning
      for a position in the symphony orchestra in Sydney, Australia, thus ending her career and dream of becoming a professional musician. Those who have loved ones with mental illnesses are fully aware of the
      mental demons these individuals suffer and their anguish. And the social stigma they endure. One of the first lessons I learned was the realization that “Nobody brings a casserole to your door when your loved
      one has a psychotic break”. Society still needs a lot of educating in understanding Mental Illness and treating those afflicted with respect. I soon became active in a wonderful national organization (NAMI) National Alliance
      on Mental Illness, and have been involved in educating others of their needs. Praise God, my daughter has come a long way with a team of loving people, and has recently made her commitment to Christ. I look back
      at all the painful moments, and realize that God never abandoned us, and I am over my bitterness. And now I watch the painful struggles of my grandson with autism, but I know that God has a plan for him
      The World needs all kinds of brains!

      • ber

        I’m sorry for your pain mental illnesses is and can be a silent killer everyone knows what it’s like to have a pain sore toe broken limb but until you encounter mental illness noone has any idea how it effects your life the act of living itself can be a burden and can loose the sence of reason I admire you for standing by your daughter only God and loving family or friends can see you trough such a difficult time thank you for shearing may God bless you and your daughter

        • Florence Ouzts

          Thank you for your words of comfort and encouragement. God Bless you..

      • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

        A casserole? anybody who would bring a casserole to my door I will pull them inside and teach them to cook . Sorry, we don’t eat casseroles in my part of Florida USA We grill lean food.
        If those people didn’t help you, you don’t need them. The more people become aware of stroke, the more they become aware of mental illness . Watch it’s going to happen . The brain is a funny thing and that is what the deal is . That goes the same for dementia Alzheimer’s and other things like that . Awareness and love is the key .

      • Elizabeth

        Florence you are demonstrating what Pope Francis states about the importance of family. You could have taken any area to devoid of the suffering you had to go through. However, your daughter has regained her dignity despite her bout with mental illness. If she still can play her musical instrument, and you say she has made a commitment to Christ, is it possible her music can be used for the Glory of God? I will pray for you and your family – may you all continue to recognize God’s hand in your lives.

        • Florence Ouzts

          Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers of encouragement. My daughter actually picked up her flute just this year, after having it sit idle for so long because she said it no longer gave her joy.
          But she found the music at church so lifting, she had the courage to pick it up again. It is so true that music is a form of prayer, and the Holy Spirit has kindled the spirit within her.

      • concerned citizen

        God bless you Florence for the love that you showed for your daughter. Our Blessed Mother suffered too when she saw her only Son agonizing on the Cross. In times of trials and tribulations, praying the Holy Rosary devotedly helps a lot because our Blessed Mother understands our situation.

        • Florence Ouzts

          Thank you for your kind words, and for reminding me of how healing praying the Rosary can be. How much greater was her suffering in comparison to mine.

    • Patricia Robertson

      The Bible is a collection of stories. Pre-Judaic primitive societies sat around the fire telling stories. Narrative makes meaning of our lives. For Christians, it is the story of Jesus that does that. But telling and hearing stories is not done in isolation; it is done in community. Hence, the Church or what you rightly name “groups formed out of suffering.” I have been clean and sober for nearly 30 years in just such a group and what kept me there in the beginning–and still does–is that sharing of stories. I’ve been re-reading Benedict’s Rule lately and it is all about the daily practicalities of living in community in order to help one another to show up for our encounters with God. Nouwen uses the story of Elizabeth and Mary–waiting together–to say the same thing.

      • Ronald Poyntz

        Indeed, the Story is the Primary Form. When I am fed up with T.V., I often turn to the Old Testament for a good bedtime story, like the Tobit novella or the history of Elijah. Just now I am reading a secular story by Thomas Mann: “Joseph in Egypt”. Simply said; The narrative works. (and with the proper mindset, I don’t feel that I am alone, or in isolation, when I read stories that millions have enjoyed before me).

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Elizabeth,

      Amen!

      Michael

  • Tina Smith

    I recently stumbled upon an absolutely beautiful way of the cross. Jesus will gladly accept our suffering through his own for the merit of holy souls in purgatory, if we will ask him, Just one more way He has surprised me. Imagine we are àllowed to help others who are waiting to go home through our prayers ànd suffering, instead of of our suffering being wasteful. Truly, who is like God?

  • ber

    Well said Elizabeth and so true I have looked up the thoughts or prayers of those that suffer and one touched on both the person suffering and the carer to me suffering is like water it flows into something like a cup that the lord can put to his lips and drink to quench his thirst for souls reflecting on my own response to suffering it is bad I let everyone know about it something I can address this lent but I know it is never wasted because only God can know the true dept of our pain and use it I also think in suffering depending on what it is can save us from maybe greater sin as it makes us turn to God when all others fail ,To look at the saints I think I can say suffering makes them great without suffering there is no real means of atonement which the lords needs to restore the balance for the crime of sin This is a topic that effects every single human the saints got it right I’m afraid I have a long way to go

    • Bobbie Paxton

      Thanks to Suzanne L for answering my question. There were so many gruesome things done to people…well, it seems there still are. Alas.

  • 50AF

    Suffering is God’s call to be Christ. We don’t morbidly seek out suffering and we don’t make it an idol, but when suffering comes we embrace it as surely as we embrace the joy that also reflects the call of Christ. Where there is joy — there Christ is. Where there is suffering — there Christ is. Lord, teach me to embrace you in all the particulars of my life, be they moments of difficulty or happiness. Teach me to see you there and to forget myself.

  • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

    Hi all,

    Here is a prayer many of you know and one I have been saying for 60 years. I have added a verse at the end of the original!

    Lord, I offer thee all my prayers, works and sufferings, in Union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For the intentions for which He pleads, offering Himself up each and every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. For the wants of our Holy Mother the Church, for the converversion of sinners, and for the relief and release of the poor souls in Purgatory especially those who have no one to pray for them. I wish to gain all the indulgences from the prayers I say and the good works I shall perform this day and offer them up to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that they may dispose of them according to their good pleasure for the greater honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity. Amen!

    • Mary

      Beautiful!

    • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

      Nice, but being a professional writer and editor like a shorter prayer that goes like God I surrender offer it up this account? OK amen

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Tampa lady,

        A shorter version is fine. To each their own!

        When I pray, it is from the heart. What ever the Holy Spirit wants me to say, I seek to do. Needs in the world are ever changing. As each day progresses my moments of spontanious prayer change. We are all different and respond to the Lord’s requests according to our gifts, for the needs of many are as diverse as we are!

        Peace,

        Michael

        • Elizabeth

          My Bishop has written a piece about praying. You are correct Michael, it is praying from the heart that counts, Thank you for your Amen to my post above. The thoughts flowed from my heart.

        • P. Taylor

          Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I offer you this day, all I think and do and say!

        • Gary

          I agree with you Michael. If it is not coming from the heart where is It coming from? Where does the Holy Spirit abide if not in our hearts?

    • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

      I do all of this while getting ready to go work out in the morning so it’s spoken that’s why it’s not edited.

    • Elizabeth

      I appreciate your posting this beautiful prayer and the additional verse. Yes, Let us pray every day through what we do or what we say!. Amen.

      A catechist of the young once shared the pray she says every day and I have been saying it every day as well.
      Good morning dear Jesus this day is for you.
      I ask that you bless all I think, say and do. Amen

    • nannette

      Oh my!!! What a wonderful prayer – I am going to copy this and start saying it daily. Thank you for your comment, people really do read them and take points from them.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Nannette,

        By all means! Lord knows the world needs more devoted prayer warriors!

        Peace,

        Michael

    • concerned citizen

      Michael, I also added a version to my Morning Offering. I add: for the conversion of non-believers, sanctification of priests and religious and the poor and marginalized and for peace in the troubled areas of the world”

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Concerned citizen

        Nice! Inclusive!

        Prayer is “talking to God”, from the heart. It is not a Pulitzer price wining essay! The Lord is listening but crys out for help for ourselves and for those we pray, is heard by the Saints, the Holy angels and the Blessed Mother through which miracles of grace happen!

        Peace,

        Michael
        The Prayer Warrior

        • concerned citizen

          Pope St. John Paul II said Jesus, through His redemption, has transformed human suffering by giving it a supernatural value, a supernatural power. But it is a gift so little appreciated, for it is known only in the light of faith; and the faith of many is weak. How many opportunities for spiritual growth and for helping others are wasted in complaining about the crosses of life.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Coverned citizen,

            Very well statesd !when everything is going well, attendance at Mass is down, but when one loses “control of their lifestyle or self promotion or “that doesn’t concern me” attitude and there life as they knew it goes down hill and no one else in their “circle” cares about them, then the attendence at Mass, or at least showing up, goes up!

            People, including Catholics fall into the realm of situation ethics. This is believing that if one “feels OK concerning an action, then it is OK disregarding the teachings of the Church! This avenue can be deadly to the life of the soul.

            The greatest deception the evil one placed in the world and in the minds of many was convincing people he did not or does not exist!
            Very scary !

            Peace,

            Michael
            The Prayer Warrior

          • concerned citizen

            The priest in our Mass yesterday quoted St. Augustine saying that: prayer is an expression of a desire. And the more you desire the Lord, the more prayerful you become. This explains what you have observed. That when we have problems, we go to the Lord and pray. But when they are solved, we forget the Lord or at least become less prayerful. This is when intercessory prayer, for me comes in. Meaning,even when you are not yourself in trouble, you remain prayerful because of the problems of other people that you pray for. And wow, there are so many problems to pray for. Just praying for the poor souls in purgatory can already take up one Holy Rosary or one Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Concerned citizen,

            Very true and profound indeed!

            St. Augustine is good but I lean towards St. Thomas Aquinas. The cool thing about Thomas is the way he presents issues of his day. In his Summa Theologica, he presents a theological issue. First he presents the issue, then presents the general consesus of the local scholars and then he explains the true meaning!

            The rosary is what I revert to most and the Divine Mercy I read in the late seventies! Also, St. John of the Cross, “The Dark Night of the Soul and others like them.

            When trouble comes the evil one starts to destroy one’s faith but fidelity to the Lord brings the graces with which we defend ourselves!

            Peace, and prayers,

            Michael
            The Prayer Warrior

          • concerned citizen

            Michael, do you happen to belong to any prayer group? In my case, I belong to an international group of prayer warriors and we interact each day in a blog.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            CC,

            No not at the moment. Location of group and limited transpopperation keeps me from attending. I don’t spend much time on the internet. Sounds interesting but a commitment to daily attendence would be unlikely. I would consider checking it out though! I

            Peace,

            Michael

  • Bobbie Paxton

    How was St. Paul put to death? I can’t remember from grade school catechism or having read about that. Thanks.

    • Suzanne L

      I’m pretty sure he was beheaded. He was a Roman citizen so he was spared from crucifixion.

  • kayeloney@cox.net

    This is so true our suffering needs to be given to Christ to add to his Divine Cross, for preparation for the Sins of others. That’s why Prayer for others is so important, we are connected to each other by mysteries ways. Please Pray Pray Pray for all Souls Past, Present and future. Give your Human Will back to Jesus and ask Mary for his Divine Will in which to pray.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Kaye,

      Precisly ! Well said,.

      Michael

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

    Seriously, I have a problem with all this offering up. Why? It’s usually used as an excuse for abuse. Seriously, I have a problem with all this offering up. Why? It’s usually used as an excuse for abuse . Too often the church is taking this position so they didn’t have to help anyone or they took this position because they just didn’t want to do anything. I hurt you too often the church is taking this position so they didn’t have to help anyone or they took this position because they just didn’t want to do anything. I hurt you , says someone or they know they hurt someone and they just look at someone and say offer it up for Jesus. Surrender of all of it is one thing, but offering it up because someone said to do so and you have to please them is another thing . This is the root of the abuse in the church and other places where spiritual abuse abounds. When you offer something up, there needs to be a balance in there also needs to be common sense in this matter. Critical thinking skills are needed! Among women I sometimes wonder if there are any critical thinking skills. So many women lack critical thinking skills that they try to please others in the church and do not speak up for what they believe in or they don’t speak up for something when they are hurt or there is a bad relationship. So many women black critical thinking skills that they try to please others in the church and do not speak up for what they believe in or they don’t speak up for something when they are hurt or there is a bad relationship. Bad communication skills. Something needs to be done besides just prayer and offering it up! Something needs to be done besides just prayer and offering it up! Offering something up is great in itself, but too often it’s used as an instrument of abuse to lord over someone or use God as a tool to Lord over someone.
    Without this abuse occurring, there is complete surrender of everything that happens and there’s also the serenity prayer . There is the wisdom to know the difference and that is God listen .

    • Anton D

      I came across this in a book YOUCAT.

      – Justice without mercy is unloving
      – Mercy without justice is degrading

      • Gary

        This really describes, I think, what God is all about. Wonderful observation Anton.

      • Jeanne Stark

        Sending you a hug for sending me that. Smiling. You are invited to Seminole Florida for sending me that. :)

  • Jackie

    Bearing one another’s burdens is a redeeming act. I am a Hospice volunteer and when I enter a patient’s room, I put myself in their situation and suddenly we are one being. I am not there to lift their burdens, I am there to bear their burdens as much as I can give, not 100% like Jesus did but enough to be empathetic on their journey, after all it is also my journey..

    • Patrick Cassidy

      God bless you, and other hospice workers/volunteers. My mom is a nurse, and it can take a toll on people after awhile. You help bear more suffering to ease thrir.burden, even slightly.

      • Jackie

        Thank you Patrick, yes, sometimes it is very subtle, one never knows how a stranger is going to surrender their self to your presence.

    • Anton D

      “… I put myself in their situation and suddenly we are one being. I am not there to lift their burdens, I am there to bear their burdens as much as I can give, not 100% like Jesus did but enough to be empathetic on their journey, after all it is also my journey..”:

      Thank you, that is practical advice I will keep in mind.
      May God Bless you.

      • Jackie

        Thank you Anton, I have to keep this in mind every time I step into someone’s “sanctuary”.

      • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

        Thank you Anton for previous comment . Hospice – I don’t know what I would’ve done without them with my father-in-law passed away. Their grief counseling is wonderful. We are thankful

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Jackie,

      I have been to Hospise and it is a special calling by the Lord!
      Not everyone is called to this profession but the Lord has not forgotten them and calls upon individuals He has endowed with special gifts.
      In my visit, I and others in my group, met the director of the Center. One of my gifts is being allowed to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit enveloping her. It was so overwhelming it brought me to tears. As has been said, pray that you may know what God wants you to do.

      Peace,

      Michael

      • Jackie

        Thank you, Michael. One never knows who one can touch by being present. It is always a privilege when someone let’s you into their lives at the end of the journey here on earth.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

          Jackie,

          As you very well know comforting a person who is terminal is a blessing to the person who is facing the uncertainties of death which can be scary.

          The director told us that Hospice is not a place where physical healing is the agenda but a place where those who are dying and have no family, or sometimes no family member who cares, find someone there who does. Dying alone can be devastating to some.

          Peace
          Michael

    • Elizabeth

      Jackie, I’m sure God blesses you in different ways because you work with those who are close to being called home. I lived quite a distance from where my mother resided. My mother had a wonderful hospice nurse. Working with the social director of the nursing home, after communication ended by phone with my mother, I would email a greeting to my mom every day and the hospice nurse would read the greeting everyday. On my Mom’s last day the hospice nurse read the greeting a number of times until my mother placed her hand on the hospice nurse hand to let her know she had heard the greeting. Since I was not there at my mother’s demise, the hospice nurse let me know she was at peace at her going to the Lord. Thank you and all those who do the service of the Lord in this way. God bless!.

      • Jackie

        Thank you Elizabeth, yes, God blesses me through the patient. When all is said and done, if we are in communion with one another, I have delivered the Good News, not so much in reading scripture but in living it. It always take two people and there is much letting go all around.

    • ber

      Well said

      • Jackie

        Thank you

  • Patrick Cassidy

    It is easy to forget about suffering for our faith, especially in Western civilization. It is easy to take for granted the freedoms that we have. This week was the anniversary of the 21 Christians that were martyred for their faith. We are not called to a lifr of comfort, and happiness.

    I was teaching a religous ed class a few weeks ago and we began talking about Lent. We talked about what the cross actually was. It was not just a piece of jewelry that you wear on your neck, but an instrument of torture and pain. The modern day equivalent would be a noose, or electric chair hanging around our necks. So, as we are called to a life of suffering, we can rejoice in knowing that our lives will be lived to the fullest for Christ!

  • Corine Richenelle

    Apostle Paul is like a “St Michael the Archangel”, he is not afraid and ready to do God`s will guiding by the power of the Holy Spirit. There eyes are fixed on the Lord and always ready to fight for a good fight in the name of God and to spread the Good News. Through trials and sufferings, their faith become stronger and stronger. As for Paul, though in Prison, he keep on Praising and Worshipping the Lord.

    Jesus, keep our faith strong enough in you that whenever the storms, difficulties arise, we have the Grace of giving your Praise in these sufferings and surrending everything to you Lord Jesus – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYXfD8H89B0
    and as Paul we can always Praise you name for your Glory…You are so wonderful, magnificent Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96HAzy65sSY

    • Elizabeth

      Corine Richenelle, thank you for sharing I Surrender by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. There was a second one that states this video does not exist????

    • Gary

      you are so Christ like that it creates so much joy in my heart to know that I have a sister who is also in love with the Lord. I praise God for you.

      • Corine Richenelle

        Thank you Gary. Let`s Praise and worship our Wonderful Lord and Father together, lifting his name on high.

        • Gary

          Amen sister.

  • Sharon

    Thank you Bishop Barron for the Charles Williams shout out! I am newly acquainted with his beautiful philosophy of co-inherence. Though central to our Catholic faith, it offers a consoling reminder. In our desire to relieve our sisters and brothers in their cross-bearing in more measurable ways (as in, “let me help you carry that” or “would that I may share a bit of your pain,”) God’s workings and grace cannot be slighted, not bound by our limited, human estimation.

  • Joe DeVet

    At first it seems like Paul is preaching heresy, for we know that Christ’s redemptive work is itself necessary and sufficient for our salvation. What does he mean, making up for what is lacking in Christ’s suffering (which I take to be intended not for Paul alone but for all of us)?
    If anything can be said to be “lacking”, it seems to me it would be the limitation to a given short time in a small place that was an essential part of the Incarnation. That is, Jesus in his visible humanity cannot be present elsewhere. We make up for this “lacking” by suffering in our own time and place for the sake of the gospel, bringing it to those who need a palpable flesh-and-blood witness, by word and example.

  • Corine Richenelle
    • William John Meegan

      This is a very lovely video: thank you.

    • Gary

      Absolutely beautiful

  • William John Meegan

    I find it often perplexing when people quote the sacred
    scriptures out of contexts to what is actually being said. Colossians 1:24;
    should be read in context to the whole of the first chapter of Colossians to
    understand what that SUFFERING is all about.

    Christ being the first born of creation is a paradox in the life of anybody
    that receives Christ consciousness into his or her life. To receive
    Christ into your life does cause suffering because spirituality is reconciling
    itself with a materialistic mindset. Christ is God and Man. The
    soul that Christ is gifted to literally dies the materialistic death and is
    reborn spiritually as the God/Man Christ.

    Suffering with Christ consciousness is reconciling the two differences into the
    body and blood of Christ. The loosing of one’s habits and idiosyncrasies
    solely attuned to materialistic desire and reconciling them to the spiritual is
    essentially building your own Christian Church (temple cross) in your soul.

    If an individual does not have Christ consciousness all the suffering in life
    is actually meaningless; for the reason that, that soul’s suffering is being
    experienced in a materialistic hell.

    How can one explain the BIRTH AND DEATH OF CHRIST in the life of an individual
    gifted with Christ consciousness?

    In the first verses of Genesis it reads in its entirety, “In the beginning
    God separated (Bara – created) the beginning and ends of the HEAVENS and the
    beginning and ends of the EARTH”. Translators fail to
    translate a single word mentioned twice in the first verse of Genesis, which
    infers the ALPHA and Omega of the Hebrew alphabet and that nuance infers the
    whole of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet symbolizes the whole of
    the spiritual forces in creation gifted to the soul; however, there is a
    portion of creation that is entirely separate from the materialistic creation
    that humans are unaware of and this is the spirituality that comes to the
    individual to revivify his or her soul and in doing this to that soul the Old
    Heaven and the Old Earth is destroyed.

    The first letter of Genesis is BETH, which is symbolically the materialistic
    rich man and when that person becomes a moral and ethical person and truly
    desires to know God that is symbolized by the word BETH (first letter of
    Genesis) opening itself up receives CHRIST and the New Heaven and the New Earth
    (RESH) is imbued into its dwelling (temple) creating the word BERESHITH the
    first word of Genesis. That along symbolizes the crucifixion and the
    suffering the soul will go through to reconcile itself to that
    spirituality. BETH is horizontal and RESH is vertical, which creates the
    cross that Christ (God/Man) dies on.

    According to the New Testament the veil of the temple split in twain when
    Christ died on the cross. That is symbolizing the destruction of the Old
    Heaven and the Old Earth and the birth of the New Heaven and New Earth, which
    was prophetic of the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem and the
    birth of the Christian Church. The bible is speaking of the individual
    soul at all times and to say that veil is split in twain is speaking of the
    soul’s temple being destroyed when Christ enters into it and in three day
    Christ rose from the dead symbolizing that he had rebuilt that temple. It
    went from a Jewish temple (rectangular) to a Christian temple (octagonal: i.e.
    symbolically the Cross).

    Christ coming from outside of creation returns to his father; for the reason
    that, his mission of revivifying the soul was completed and thus the soul of
    the individual remains on earth with a new temple spiritualized; whereas,
    Christ ascend back into heaven. Christ literally planted a spiritual seed
    in the soul to spiritually grow symbolically similar to Photosynthesis
    revivifying plant life in the earth to grow. Yet, it is continuous Photosynthesis
    that gives the plant life. This is precisely how Christ returns to the
    soul nanosecond after nanosecond via the Holy Spirit continuous revivifying its
    spirituality.

    When Old and New Testaments vignettes are read in the bible the average person
    thinks they happened once and for all times. That is the furthest thing
    from the truth about the WORD OF GOD. Creation is continuously
    ongoing. Each nanosecond is literally a commentary on the infinite nature
    of God. Each nanosecond explains that using different mythoi to convey
    that message. It is this continuous returning of Christ in the life of
    the soul that some people may envisage as suffering because the soul wants to
    eternally learn more about God and his creation. There is do finish-line or end
    goal in the search for God and those that understand this will continuously
    receive Christ into their lives; whereas, to come to an end goal and proudly
    walk off the stage with an academic degree is to become a Pharisee (academic):
    white sepulcher full of filth and all uncleanliness. It is this last that
    Christ comes into the world to put an end to.

  • Corine Richenelle

    Let`s thanks the Lord for all the sufferings and save us from our sins. We love you, Lord, our Saviour King- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzXwkToBNZY

    • Gary

      Wow. A packed house with many young people worshiping and praising God with eyes closed and hearts open and outstretched arms lifted up to him out of the love they have in their hearts for him. God has to be pleased.

      • Corine Richenelle

        Yes Gary…Our lovely and Mercy God deserves more than that. We can give Jesus our whole heart, Soul and mind. All is about him….the Lover of our Soul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2tOgCDohQk

  • concerned citizen

    Pope St. John Paul II in his Encyclical “Salvifici Doloris) said: “In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ”

    The Holy Father mentions the several cases where Jesus heals the sick,,cleanses the lepers, changes the water into wine. These are all acts of the mercy of Jesus. But here, according to John Paul is a greater act of mercy, a greater miracle when He transforms human suffering and give it a supernatural value, a supernatural power. That is a far greater gift, a far greater miracle than the healing of the sick. But it is a gift so little appreciated, for it is known only in the light of faith; and the faith of many is weak. How many opportunities for spiritual growth and for helping others are wasted in complaining about the crosses of life.

  • concerned citizen

    The Protestants and the other religions find it hard to explain why there is suffering here on earth. It is only the Catholic religion that finds value and meaning in suffering. Whenever someone tells me how much his parents or children or spouse is suffering, I tell them to offer it for the poor souls of their loved ones in purgatory. By doing that the suffering person will still continue to suffer, that is for sure. But his attitude towards his suffering changes from negative to positive. From meaningless to meaningful. By knowing you are able to help another person through your suffering in a way eases up your suffering too.

    That is why although it is true that Jesus redeemed us all by His suffering, it is also true that at the same time, all our sufferings have also been redeemed. Redeemed from what? From meaninglessness to meaningful and from valueless to valuable.

    • Gary

      You made a bold statement that only Catholics find value in the meaning of suffering, and that the Protestants and other religions find it hard to explain why there is suffering here on earth. Wow!!! Although I an Catholic, I have many Protestant friends that I have shared with that offer their sufferings up to the Lord. Many of these I have prayed with and for, and what has carried them through this suffering is knowing they have a prayer partner that is praying for them and loves them and is trying to share or relate to their suffering. It is very humbling when a brother of any religion allows me to share in his or her sufferings. While the doctrines may differ, Christ love and grace is made possible to all people. We are all brothers in need of salvation, and it is the same Christ that saves us all. We need to stop bickering over doctrine and start doing what Christ called us to do, and that is be a light leading others to him. We are Christians by our love.

      • concerned citizen

        I am happy to hear that Gary and I apologize if I have generalized. But generally speaking, and correct me if I am wrong, the Protestants believe that Jesus died once and for all. Meaning His sufferings is complete and there is no need for us to unite our sufferings with Him. In other words they don’t believe in the concept of Redemptive Suffering. Again, I am happy if I am mistaken.

        • Gary

          The scripture you are referring to is Romans 6: 8-10 “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin ONCE FOR ALL; but the life he lives, he lives to God. This tells me that Jesus died once for all the sins of mankind. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. This one act earned for us the ability to be saved. You might want to read Romans 5:18 ” Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of the one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” Jesus paid the price ONCE FOR ALL when he shed his blood on the cross. His death for your life. For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. While the Jewish people needed a sacrificial lamb each year for the atonement of sins, Jesus is the Sacrificial Lamb. He was the final Sacrifice. Jesus suffered enough for all of us. I believe that we should offer everything to God, and that would not only be our sufferings, but our lives. After all he paid a very precious price for each and everyone of us. Jesus rules my life through the power of the Holy Spirit, and I bow before him with praise and thanksgiving.

        • Gary

          No apology necessary. Just wanted to point out that we all have the same common denominator JESUS CHRIST and the same enemy Satan. What Protestants believe about Redemptive Suffering never has enter my mind. I am more concerned about how I can love them to Christ.

  • Mom

    I recently lost my young adult son in a tragic and unexpected way. One of my biggest and most meaningful lifelines to get through the anguish and the agony is the fact that my suffering is redemptive and that as I continue to offer my suffering (the tidal waves of grief, anguish, broken heart, shattered dreams, darkness in not understanding God’s greater plan, confusion, etc.) I know that Christ has made room for this suffering in his suffering because we are members of His body and he is using it to bless others. This makes those tidal waves bearable and, in a mysterious way, there is an element of joy that comes from way deep down in my soul that is present simultaneously with the anguish. That has to be grace in action. If everyone only knew that each wave of suffering experienced and offered with Christ can be a channel of grace and blessing to others I think it would make the trials of life more meaningful and bearable.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Mom,

      There are those who, though mean well, may tell you, I know how you feel”!

      Well Mom, this Dad knows “exactly how you feel” !
      Nine years ago my 30 year old daughter was killed on a motorcycle, December 16, 2006 the day after her 30th birthday on the 15th. As an altar boy, I served the Requiem Mass many years, buried two of my brothers and one of my sisters. My parents, aunts and uncles and friends, but “nothing ” prepares you when you have to bury your own child.
      All that you said was true. God is with us in our deepest, darkest hour even when we feel otherwise!
      Many cannot see how anything good could come out of all the lonely birthdays, Christmas’s ,
      trips to the zoo and so on but we have not, for one moment, carried that cross alone. Jesus was helping us carry it. I miss my child every day but now I can thank the Lord for have giving me and her mother, such a precious gift who brought us so much joy and love while she was here!

      Peace,

      Michael
      “Dad”

      • Penelope

        Dear Mom and Dad,
        My heart goes out to you. Please know that you and your families are in my prayers.

        My daughter-in-law Sarah passed away just over a year ago, she fought breast cancer for five years. I miss her terribly, but most difficult is watching my four grandchildren mourn for their mother. Not long after Sarah had died, Mother Angelica on EWTN quoted an excerpt from a book, Words of Love, Revelations of Our Lord to three Victim Souls in the 20th Century, page 28.

        Sister Consolata Betrone had asked the Lord why a young mother of four children had passed away. The Lord’s answer to her was:
        “Celeste Canda is now enjoying the beatific vision for all eternity, and from Heaven she is watching over the souls of her four children with greater tenderness than if she had remained on earth.”

        My two youngest granddaughters are just beginning preparation for Confirmation, and when I heard these words, I felt that the Lord was letting me know that as fervent as Sarah was on this earth for her children’s well-being, she is ever more fervently praying for their spiritual growth, and for my husband and myself, as we accompany the girls on this spiritual journey to the Sacrament of Confirmation.

        Like yourselves, this is not the plan I would have chosen. I would have liked to see Sarah here with us, and I know that you feel the same about your son, Mom, and about your daughter, Dad. But I do know as you do, that the Lord will bring good out of this sadness for all of us.

        This is a great mystery that we will not fully understand, until it is time for us to stand before the throne of God, and then we will all be together, never to part again. This is our hope in Christ Jesus.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

          Hi Penelope,

          Thank you! That was very moving! Thank you for your prayers. We have a Granddaughter who will be 13 in May. She was 3 1/2 when her mother died.

          One unique chain of events following my daughters death was finding out that three woman who worked in the office where I worked, all had lost a child. It is almost like the Lord introduced us to each other in a time of grief. That is one way He helps us to deal with our loss!

          Sometimes when I hug my Granddaughter, I can feel my Daughters arms around me. It brings tears to my eyes.

          In my prayers as well,

          Peace,

          Michael

          • Penelope

            Thank you Michael, for your closing words, they brought tears to my eyes as well…how good is the Lord that he brings us these tangible touches of comfort through our loved ones…in Christ Jesus, Penelope

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

            Penelope,

            Bless you!

            As an added note, in recent years, after receiving the Eucharist at Mass, I receive tears, a gift of the Holy Spirit.
            I call it “the Jesus Hug”!

            Peace and prayers,

            Michael

  • 50AF

    I would submit that suffering is a reflection of God’s absolute commitment to our free existence and our free will.

    We are created by Love, and most importantly, for Love. God created us so that we can participate in his eternal life, which is a life of pure sacrificial love – and to be his equal in doing so, his friend, not his minion or servant or puppet.

    But if we are to love as God loves, it has to be in absolute freedom. God simply will not overwhelm our freedom, be it our free will or our free existence, because then love is not really love – it is merely worship, or servitude, or puppetry. It is not the love that God is. As Irenaeus put it, “the glory of God is man fully alive,” and as our Lord himself put it, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This fullness of life, this richness of existence, is only possible through a God who fully respects our human freedom and who in fact creates the context within which that freedom is allowed its fullest expression. I submit that an existence that allows us to experience and – most importantly – freely respond to an unrestricted range of joy and suffering and all else in between (and beyond) is not only consistent with the idea of God but also integral to the idea of a truly loving God, a God that creates not out of need or compulsion, but out of the simple desire to give his life to us and share it with us eternally.

    The soul that is scandalized by material suffering, or physical death itself, is in a sense caving in on itself. He is trying to find God in himself, meaning his particular vantage point, his particular moment in time, his particular context, his particular landscape. God is not found there. It is only when we let go of ourselves and all that goes into making our sense of “self” that we begin to live as God lives, that we begin to see what God truly is because we no longer look inward to ourselves.

    At the end of the day, it is virtually impossible for men and women to see God’s full beauty and truth and goodness via a snapshot in time, be it a moment of utter joy or a moment of terrible and arbitrary suffering. We simply don’t have the vista or vantage point that is God’s eternal existence. But we know – as St. Paul knew throughout his suffering and ultimately his martyrdom – Omnia in bonum!

  • Susanrose

    In accord with Paul’s master idea, we can consciously offer our suffering—physical, spiritual, psychological—to Christ in order that he might use it, in his own mysterious manner, to benefit someone else. Christ allows us to minister through our pain.

    Through the power of the Holy Spirit open the eyes to my heart, so that I may know the value of uniting my suffering to your son, Jesus Christ on the cross with a heart like St. Paul.. And never to complain..

    JMJ
    Peace

  • rtclovesmac

    Sometimes people cannot or do not want to hear their suffering can be tied to Christ’s. In their plan they cannot trust in him whom they blame.

    If only we could see beyond what’s in front of us and see Christ Crucifed, the well-spring of Mercy, hope and love, we would find strength in our Faith, and promise for our future.

  • Norma

    I think suffering is part of life, one way or another we are prone to suffer, some more than others. I heard Mother Angelica this morning, where she was suggesting that we ought to “smile despite our sufferings, for greater are the rewards in the everlasting life”.

  • Penelope

    It is hard for me to offer up my sufferings when I am in great pain or distress, because I find myself not able to think straight, too busy battling through prayer to find my way out of the darkness and pain. But when the darkness starts to lift a little, or the pain is less, when my heart, mind, body, and spirit are in a less anguished place, where now I can reason, think, and remember to do it, I do offer up my suffering to the Lord.

    I always think that if I am suffering, I may as well give it to the Lord to do with it as He would like, because I am powerless to do anything with it – but He is not. These are the times I intercede for others, and this is perhaps to me where I feel I can truly join my sufferings to Jesus Christ.

    If I am fighting a virus, a flu-bug, physical pain, I can stay under my blankets with my rosary in hand, and offer it up for the people I am praying for. If it is a deep concern I have for loved ones, where I have no control over the situation, I give my anxiety and stress the Lord, and I pray for those who are in the difficult situation. More often than not, I leave it all in his hands to do with whatever he has in mind, because He does know what is best.

    God’s Word tells us that it is by the wounds of Christ that we are healed, and also that Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever. He is not limited to time and space as we are. He will accept our offering of suffering, and join it to His. It will not be in vain, because He is able to bring good out of it, for us, and for those around us.

    “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

  • IrishRush

    “…and in my flesh I am filling what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” This is a part of scripture that I’ve always had trouble with, and also why I have “issues” with St. Paul. I don’t understand what he could possibly think was “lacking” in the afflictions of Christ! And it seems that his ego is at play here, as well as in some of his other letters. I don’t think for a second that I have any profound understanding of scripture, but it definitely feels to me like St. Paul had ego / humility problems. Before anyone jumps all over this, let me just say that I have no doubt that I lack understanding. I plan to ask my priest about this – in fact I would love to have a long discussion with him about St. Paul… One of these days.

    • Gary

      Good idea. Paul lost his head for Christ.

    • rtclovesmac

      IR…There are challenging parts to scripture for all of us. If it was all easy, we would either ignore it or seek the truth. Speaking with a Priest would be most helpful, i’m sure.
      Just do not wait for someday to come….because it never does.
      Some food for thought though….I think St. Paul was speaking to the human need to fill spaces with things we can grasp onto and understand. If we accepted that we live in the Presence of Christ, then we would have to accept that our life would be full of challenges that we would question him on….suffering for instance.
      In our efforts to please him, people often go and do things that we think He wants us to do in order to please Him when such mortifications may not be what He wants us to do.
      It is a contrite heart He desires more than sacrifice.

      I am sure from time to time Paul was reminded of his past prior to his conversion. Memories of ones past live can creep in to distract..mortifications are one response to erase them. Anyway…a Priest is a better source than I.

  • Joseph Pasquino

    We learned about suffering and death as a direct result of Adam and Eve’s infidelity to God. How did God respond to this moral fallability .Through His Love for us. He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son allowing Him to suffer torture and a horrible death on the Cross. Thus, allowing Him to bear what we sometimes bear; to suffer what we sometimes suffer: brutality, persecution, desertion and ultimately death in the most horrible sense of the word. But why, why did He even bother to create us? All for Love in the simplest of terms . God is Love. Love grows through sacrifice. Christ suffered the ultimate sacrifice as an example for all to bear witness. How does God (Love) grow,through sacrifice. Sacrifice for one another; sacrifice for Him. The Reward, a gift beyond all expectation and imagination,beyond all joy and happiness. A Life spent with Him for all eternity. A future we can’t even comprehend; the closest example maybe a love that exceeds all expectations, your first true love experienced every second of every day for all time!!!

  • Mick Tinetti

    From the Diary of Saint Faustina:

    (76) I am not counting on my own strength, but on His omnipotence for, as he gave me the grace of knowing His holy will, He will also grant me the grace of fulfilling it. I cannot fail to mention how much my own lower nature resists this thing, manifesting its own desires, and there results within my soul a great struggle, like that of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. And so I too cry out to God, the Eternal Father, “If it is possible, take this cup from me, but , nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done, O Lord; may Your will be done.” What I am about to go through is no secret to me, but with full knowledge I accept whatever You send me, O Lord. I trust in You, O merciful God, and I wish to be the first to manifest to You that confidence which You demand of souls. O Eternal Truth, help me and enlighten me along the roadways of life, and grant that Your will be accomplished in me.

  • Kelly

    I am particularly interested in this verse from St. Paul as I have a daughter who has left the Catholic Church and now considers herself (not a Protestant but a) reformed Catholic and attends a Pentecostal church.
    This, now 42 year old suffers from Psoriatic Arthritis Mutalins, the rarest and most destructive form of the disease. She does not believe in “offering up” her pain because Christ’s dying on the cross was complete; nothing more can be done to further the work of salvation.
    I wonder how our Protestant brothers and sisters understand this sacred text. Our relationship is not good enough, yet, for me to ask her this directly.
    Can anyone help explain their general understanding of this to me, please?
    Thank you!