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Following The Truth: Appreciating The Gift Of Suffering (Catholic or Open)
CatholicLane.com ^ | Feb 16, 2011 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/02/2011 8:11:54 AM PST by Salvation

Appreciating The Gift Of Suffering

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©Heidi Bratton Photography

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His Body, that is, the Church (Col 1:24).

When I first read St. Paul’s words to the people of Colossae, I was stunned and I’m sure that I’m not alone.  Is he actually stating that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was somehow incomplete?  Did Paul have to suffer in order to somehow complete the Lord’s salvific mission at Calvary?  Furthermore, what’s this about rejoicing in his sufferings?  In order to better understand this confusing passage, let’s explore the Catholic teaching on redemptive suffering and its importance in our daily lives.  After we’re finished, I think you’ll agree that it not only makes sense, but that it really is possible to “rejoice in our sufferings”.

Before anyone misinterprets St. Paul’s statement, let’s set the record straight.  The Catholic Church teaches that the suffering of Christ has infinite value and was fully sufficient to cover all of our sins.  In other words, He did His job completely.  By dying on the Cross in atonement for our sins, Jesus made it possible for us to go to heaven – period!  However, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, Christ allows all those incorporated into His Mystical Body (the Church) to suffer with Him and assist in the process of redemption.  Fortunately for us, this very simplified explanation of redemptive suffering is all we need to know in order to take advantage of it!

As we explore the importance of offering up our suffering, it’s important to first acknowledge two facts:

1. Everyone has some form of suffering in their lives.

2. All earthly suffering is temporary and will come to an end.

One of the biggest mistakes we make is failing to recognize suffering in our daily lives.  Sure, we can recognize the “big stuff” such as cancer, unemployment, broken relationships and death, but we often fail to recognize the “little things” such as remaining quiet when we feel like arguing, waiting in a long line at the grocery store, sitting in a traffic jam or performing a charitable act when we’d rather relax.  By not identifying these minor inconveniences as forms of suffering, we miss many opportunities to offer them up.

When it comes to offering up these “little things”, few people were better than St. Therese of Lisieux.  Rather than complain, she embraced small inconveniences and used them as a way to climb up on the Cross with Jesus.  She understood that, by doing so, she was able to assist Him with the salvation of mankind.  In the same way, Jesus calls all of us to join in His redemptive mission.  We each have unique sufferings that only we can bring to the Cross.

In addition to small inconveniences, many people are suffering to a much greater degree.  Unemployment, job dissatisfaction, loneliness, divorce and illness are a regular part of many lives.  Despite prayers asking for relief, it may take days, months, years, or a lifetime for the suffering to disappear.  How can we continue functioning when faced with days of misery and pain?  I’ve discovered that a great way to make suffering more bearable is to remember that it will pass and to look at it as a gift.  Now, before you accuse me of being out of my mind, let’s explore this a bit further.  Every one of us owes Jesus a debt that we could not possibly repay.  He died a painful and agonizing death on the Cross so that we could live forever in heaven.  Without His sacrifice, this would not have been possible.  Furthermore, His bloody sacrifice was necessary not for His sins…but for OUR sins!  All of the sins (both venial and mortal) that we have committed (and continue to commit every day) are the cause of Our Lord’s painful death on the Cross.  Doesn’t it seem right that we should do something to help Him?  Shouldn’t we hurt a little bit also?  Thanks to the gift of suffering in our lives, we can do just that.  By accepting our suffering and offering it up, we are able to share in Christ’s pain…and His mission.

In addition to uniting our suffering to Christ’s, we should also remember to ask for His help.  The Lord doesn’t expect us to carry our crosses alone and will provide the graces necessary for us to continue moving forward, even when it’s difficult.  St. Paul was very aware of this when he penned the words, “for when I am weak, I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).  Sometimes we get caught in the trap of trying to suffer alone, thinking that asking for God’s help will decrease the effect of our sacrifice.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  Our sacrifice lies in the fact that we are willingly offering up our suffering, not that we make it as painful as possible.  If God wants to give us peace in the midst of suffering…let Him!  The Lord knows that we can’t do it alone and provides us the needed graces through prayer and the reception of the sacraments.  Not taking advantage of His help often borders on pride, thinking that we can do it by ourselves!

If you don’t have any major suffering in your life, be grateful and offer up the dozens of minor inconveniences that you experience throughout the day.  If you do have major suffering in your life, take consolation in the fact that one day it will end.  Until that day arrives, you have the great privilege of sharing in the redemptive suffering of Our Lord, Jesus Christ!  Even though it seems illogical, we should strive to be thankful for the gift of suffering in our life and make use of it before it goes away.  Since our suffering might end tomorrow (we might find a new job, meet that special “someone” or recover from our illness), why miss the chance to offer it up today while we still have it?  By uniting our suffering to that of Christ, we can all win the crown of salvation and live with Him forever in a kingdom where there is no suffering or pain!

“Suffering is a great favor.  Remember that everything soon comes to an end…and take courage.  Think of how our gain is eternal” (St. Teresa of Avila).



TOPICS: Catholic; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; jesuschrist; prayer
1. Everyone has some form of suffering in their lives.
2. All earthly suffering is temporary and will come to an end.

1 posted on 12/02/2011 8:11:56 AM PST by Salvation
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To: All

Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (http://www.followingthetruth.com), a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.


2 posted on 12/02/2011 8:12:59 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Catholic Ping!


3 posted on 12/02/2011 8:16:18 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Following The Truth: Appreciating The Gift Of Suffering (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Satan’s Attack On The Church – What You Can Do! (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Saying “Y-E-S” to God During Lent (and Advent) [Catholic or Open]
Following the Truth: Spiritual Dryness: “I Don’t Feel Anything!” (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: A Biblical Roadmap To The One, True Church (Catholic or Open)

4 posted on 12/02/2011 8:21:47 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thanks for the post I was laid off today, this helps.


5 posted on 12/02/2011 8:30:22 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: erod

Ptayers for you as you look for a new job.

Christmas time, eh? sounds like that employer has no heart at all.


6 posted on 12/02/2011 8:31:44 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: erod

Oh I am so sorry. that is absolutely lousy. I wish God would get us all jobs immediately


7 posted on 12/02/2011 8:34:48 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: erod

Prayers for you to find a new job soon.


8 posted on 12/02/2011 8:57:39 AM PST by kitkat (Obama, rope and chains)
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To: erod
I suffer from chronic unrelenting burning pain in my trunk and lower extremities. It's from a spinal tumor. It burns like fire all the time. I can't sleep until every third day from exhaustion. I take pills that help somewhat, but it always hurts.

Thanks for posting this article.

Agape, Love

9 posted on 12/02/2011 8:57:58 AM PST by STD (Cut Taxes, Cut Spending Stupid!)
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To: STD; erod

You will both be in my prayers tonight. God bless you.


10 posted on 12/02/2011 9:05:22 AM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: yldstrk

Prayers for you to find a job too.


11 posted on 12/02/2011 9:13:20 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
By not identifying these minor inconveniences as forms of suffering, we miss many opportunities to offer them up.

By identifying these minor inconveniences as "suffering," we fail to recognize the irrationality of placing ourselves at the center of all the basic operations of reality.

12 posted on 12/02/2011 10:06:59 AM PST by Tax-chick (There is no satire that is more ridiculous than the reality of our current government.~freedumb2003)
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To: yldstrk

Thank you for your prayers. :)


13 posted on 12/02/2011 10:54:56 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: yldstrk

Its very lousy I feel so low today, like a failure, but I know God will help me I’m still young, 28, the economy will get better ill find a new job.


14 posted on 12/02/2011 10:58:08 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: kitkat

Thanks :)


15 posted on 12/02/2011 11:00:47 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: Salvation

I think what many people do not understand is that sometimes life is rotten, and God permits it. Whether it be a broken arm or a broken heart, God will bring good out of it. Once we accept this hard reality, our response to use this suffering as a means of growing in holiness and Christ-like can bring even greater good.


16 posted on 12/02/2011 11:02:37 AM PST by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: Salvation

Ironically I was employed by a Catholic company, my very devout boss, decided to let me go a day before the Christmas party. Not a nice person and very heartless.

I’m not bitter towards God and the Church I still love them with all my heart. But I wish my trial will end shortly if it’s His will.


17 posted on 12/02/2011 11:05:32 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: STD

You are in my prayers FRiend.


18 posted on 12/02/2011 11:06:51 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: erod

wow, if you are a conservative in Chicago, I would definitely keep my cards close to the vest.

In my case, I am free lancing, but my last ‘job” for the state, I could not say anything about my political views because I was in the vast minority and even saying anything about my Christian beliefs was problematic because I was working for a non Judeao/non Christian who thought Christianity was ridiculous


19 posted on 12/02/2011 11:09:45 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

The one thing that sucks about losing my job is that in the company I could be as conservative and Christian as I wanted to be because it was part of the company culture. I’m going to miss that because I don think I’ll find a business like that again. Otoh this may be for the best.


20 posted on 12/02/2011 11:13:30 AM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: erod

One of the issues I struggle with is how God will bring good out of the situation, but rationally, I know He will/can.


21 posted on 12/02/2011 2:21:12 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

Hi, I’m currently out in Glen Ellyn. Can I buy you lunch sometime?


22 posted on 12/02/2011 3:17:23 PM PST by STD (Cut Taxes, Cut Spending Stupid!)
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To: STD

If I have a chance to get up that way.........


23 posted on 12/02/2011 4:01:40 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: erod

Prayers up for you.


24 posted on 12/02/2011 4:27:27 PM PST by Bigg Red (Maryland girl on the Cain Train -- still hoping....)
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To: STD

Prayers up for you.


25 posted on 12/02/2011 4:29:27 PM PST by Bigg Red (Maryland girl on the Cain Train -- still hoping....)
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To: Bigg Red

Thanks


26 posted on 12/02/2011 4:55:52 PM PST by erod (Unlike the President I am a true Chicagoan.)
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To: Salvation; LibreOuMort; Monkey Face; NicknamedBob; Tax-chick; Darksheare; stephenjohnbanker; ...
1. Everyone has some form of suffering in their lives.

2. All earthly suffering is temporary and will come to an end.

Beautiful, Salvation.
Thank you.

I hope no one minds the ping to a religion thread, but I really like what Salvation posted.

27 posted on 12/02/2011 5:13:17 PM PST by fanfan (This is not my Father's Canada.)
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To: fanfan

That came from the article. I just repeated it for emphasis. Guess it worked! LOL!


28 posted on 12/02/2011 5:52:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: STD

Wow, God bless you! I have degenerative disc disease with some sciatic pain, I can’t imagine what life must be like for you. Actually I can and don’t like to! Is the tumor still there or has it been removed? Or is it even operable? Prayers up for you.


29 posted on 12/02/2011 9:13:57 PM PST by To Hell With Poverty (CAIN/WEST 2012 - Because two bros are better than THE 0NE!)
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To: To Hell With Poverty; Salvation

I am in recovery from cancer, am on dialysis, and recently have suffered a pinched nerve and apparently have severe degenerative arthritis. It hurts to do my job but I must keep working to keep my insurance and support my family. I didn’t understand what to do with my suffering. I pray I can do what the article recommends. Praise God for His wisdom.


30 posted on 03/03/2012 11:59:13 PM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (OMG - Obama Must Go!)
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To: TenthAmendmentChampion

I am so sorry for your ordeals. I don’t know if I can offer any advice. Chiropractic has given me some relief as well as something called radiofrequency (RF) ablation of the facet joint nerves. If you have an orthopedist or pain management doctor ask about it. Often the facet joints are involved in disc pain as your spine becomes compressed, and that inflammation leads to more arthritis. So the ablation ends the inflammation and slows the arthritic process.

Also check out marksdailyapple.com and the primal/paleo diet. Diet can be a major underlying factor in arthritis and we all know cancer too.

Other than that, I’ll remember you tomorrow outside Planned Parenthood while my friends and I pray during our weekly stint for 40 Days for Life...I knew God was keeping me up this late for a reason...you’ll be in our prayers. <3


31 posted on 03/04/2012 10:42:43 PM PST by To Hell With Poverty (Ephesians 6:12 becomes more real to me with each news cycle.)
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To: erod

Google “Novena to St. Pancratius”. Pray to him, and keep praying until the job is found.

I will tie you to my daily prayers.


32 posted on 01/14/2013 11:02:17 AM PST by diamond6 (Need scientific proof of God? Check out: http://www.magisreasonfaith.org/)
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To: diamond6

Thanks, I’ll give it a try for a new need a spouse. ;) A novena to St. Joseph helped me out in my job search that is a very powerful prayer and I highly recomend it.


33 posted on 01/14/2013 6:19:24 PM PST by erod (I'm a Chicagoan till Chicago ends...)
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