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Author:  mgross [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Suffering



How to Make the Greatest Evil in Our Lives Our Greatest Happiness
by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.

Suffering is the great problem of human life. We all have to suffer. Sometimes small sorrows, sometimes greater ones fall to our share. We shall now tell our readers how to avoid much of this suffering, how to lessen all suffering and how to derive great benefits from every suffering we may have to bear.

The reason why suffering appears so hard is that, first of all, we are not taught what suffering is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it. Thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering.

This is due to the incomprehensible neglect on the part of our teachers.

It is surprising how easily some people bear great sufferings; whereas, others get excited even at the smallest trouble.

The simple reason is that some have been taught all about suffering; others have not.


First of all, then, suffering is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent.

Why does God allow us to suffer? Simply because He is asking us to take a little share in His Passion. What appears to come by chance or from someone else always comes because God allows it.

Every act in Our Lord's Life was a lesson for us. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. This, then, is the greatest lesson for us. It teaches us that we too must suffer.

God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?


Secondly, if we accept the suffering He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we receive the greatest rewards. Five minutes' suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit the crown of martyrdom.

Moreover, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Those who have suffered are usually the most charming people.

If we bear these facts clearly in mind, it certainly' becomes much easier to suffer.


Thirdly, when God gives us any suffering, He always gives us strength to bear it, if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt. It is this excitement and impatience that really make suffering hard to bear.

Consider that we are now speaking of all suffering, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, disappointments, every day of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest rewards.


Even the greater sufferings that may fall to our share from time to time become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own impatience,our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundred fold and, besides, robs us of all the merit we could have gained thereby.

We see some people pass through a tempest of suffering with the greatest calm and serenity; whereas, others get irritated at the slightest annoyance or disappointment. We can all learn this calm and patience. It is the secret of happiness.

An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told them that he owed all his great success in life to the simple fact that he had corrected his habit of impatience and annoyance, which had been destroying all his energy and activity.

Everyone, we repeat, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity.


We must all do penance for our sins. If we do not, we shall have long years of suffering in the awful fires of Purgatory. This fire is just the same as the fire of Hell.

Now, if we offer our sufferings the very little ones as well as the greater ones-in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we are doing the easiest and best penance we can perform. We may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, While at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings.

Let us remember clearly that:

1) Sufferings come from God for our benefit.

2) When we are in the state of grace, we derive immense merit from every suffering borne patiently, even the little sufferings of our daily lives.

3) God will give us abundant strength to bear our sufferings if we only ask Him.

4) If we bear our sufferings patiently, they lose their sting and bitterness.

5) Above all, every suffering is a share in the Passion of Our Lord.

6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory.

7) By bearing our sufferings patiently, we win the glorious crown of martyrdom.

Of course, we may do all in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them.

In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundred fold.

It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation.

We suffer from ill-health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us.


We have a great. great remedy in our hands, that is, prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly asking God to help us to suffer, to console us. or if it pleases Him. to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important.

A very eminent doctor, in an able article he recently published in the secular press, says that "Prayer is the greatest power in the world."

He says, "I and my colleagues frequently see that many of our patients, whom we have failed to cure or whose pains we have failed to alleviate, have cured themselves by prayer. I speak now not of the prayers of holy people, but the prayers of ordinary Christians."

We should above all pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us.

God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.


Remember, 0 most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, 0 Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. 0 Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them.


Copies of “Suffering” are available in leaflet form from:
Holy Wounds Apostolate, Inc.

Author:  cccross [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is a great article. Sometimes I forget the good that suffering brings and this article is so true, the less we accept it the worse it gets. :clap:

Author:  Bonaventure [ Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

cccross wrote:
This is a great article. Sometimes I forget the good that suffering brings and this article is so true, the less we accept it the worse it gets. :clap:

See also the work linked in my www button for more great advice on suffering.

Author:  MySavingGrace [ Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:41 am ]
Post subject: 

could weight problems and a low metabolism count as suffering? how there are people who can eat whatever and not exercise, but others like me are just the opposite?

Author:  Dorothy B. [ Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:27 pm ]
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I guess you could call it suffering, because you have to work a bit harder at it with the exercise. There are benefits as well, because exercise is good for our heart and our whole body, so it is a good habit to get into.

Author:  MySavingGrace [ Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:06 am ]
Post subject: 

^^^^ I feel it is suffering. People who can eat whatever and not exercise and be thin (not scary thin but thin) have no idea how hard it is for those who don't. Some eat more in a meal than I can in a day and don't exercise etc. I feel it is suffering. I've had anorexia and bulimia and it is suffering and what it does to your body and metabolism makes you suffer.

Author:  Dorothy B. [ Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:13 am ]
Post subject: 

Yes, it is suffering. It is something difficult that you have to deal with, by making sacrifices and practicing discipline.

Author:  Bonaventure [ Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:53 am ]
Post subject: 

MySavingGrace wrote:
^^^^ I feel it is suffering. People who can eat whatever and not exercise and be thin (not scary thin but thin) have no idea how hard it is for those who don't. Some eat more in a meal than I can in a day and don't exercise etc. I feel it is suffering. I've had anorexia and bulimia and it is suffering and what it does to your body and metabolism makes you suffer.

While there is nothing wrong with keeping your body fit and/or losing weight, if this concern is making you sick (with anorexia or bulimia) than I think it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities. Also if it is causing you to be jealous of others who are thin, then it could be problem as well. Your value in the eyes of God is not dependent on your weight.

As I said, there is nothing wrong with keeping your body fit, but if it is causing you to suffer, then I think you may be approaching it the wrong way. We cannot live in constant fear of what others are thinking of us. We must look only to if God is pleased with us.

Author:  Bonaventure [ Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:01 am ]
Post subject: 

My above post wasn't to minimize your problems. I truly am sorry that you have been going through all this MySavingGrace. But I just want you to realize that your worth isn't dependent on your weight. :rose:

Author:  Norwegianblue [ Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

When it comes to dealing with suffering in one's life, we can, of course, ask for particular sufferings to end while we offer them up, imitating the prayer of Christ Himself as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane: 'Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.' (Luke 22.42). However, there is obviously no guarantee that it is in God's will to make the sufferings stop.

In fact, the only tragic suffering is wasted suffering (to paraphrase a wise man whose name I can't remember), i.e. that which is not united to the sufferings of Christ. Through offering up our sufferings through the Cross, we are imitating Our Lady in her unique role as Co-Redemptrix. We are releasing graces that can be applied to others (as well as, of course, atoning for our own sins). I find the second prayer of Christ in the account of St. Matthew of the Agony in the Garden extremely helpful: 'My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done'. As I see it, we can all pray this prayer, meaning that if whatever work will be done through the grace released by our offering our sufferings in union with those of Christ, will not be done unless we do have this suffering to offer up, then it is better for us to drink from the cup of suffering. Saints have said that if we knew the value of suffering (offered up, of course), we would be asking for more of it. St. John of the Cross says that 'Suffering for God is better than working miracles.' By offering up our involuntary crosses, we are turning them into suffering for God. It is very useful to meditate on the extraordinary humility and love of God in allowing Simon of Cyrene to perform such an essential role as helping Christ carry the cross. Simon did not do so voluntary at first. He is one rolemodel for people who struggle with involuntary suffering. I think The Passion of the Christ depicts beautifully how St. Simon goes from being forced to help Jesus carry the Cross to having to be pulled away from Him at the end, having understood something of the great privilege he has been given.

As we understand more and more of the value of offering suffering up, I believe we get more and more peace about it, but it doesn't stop the pain and we can get very frustrated and fed up at times. Again, I think we can look to Christ in the Agony in the Garden. He was sent an angel to strengthen Him, but note that the angel did not take away even the mental suffering of Christ. Many meditations actually get this wrong and have the angel appearing to Christ after he has been sweating blood, but in the account of St. Luke this is different. ''And there appeared to him an angel from heaven,s trengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.' (Luke 22.43-44). Again, the peace that we can have is beyond the absence of mental suffering about the suffering. The suffering might, indeed, be mental suffering. It is a kind of a strength that helps us to suffer, and, every now and again God gives consolations. But I think the important thing is not to confuse this consolation with the way it is supposed to be. Consolations are a gift to help us in our love of God and people, but it is not to be confused with this love or the peace and love of God. Surely, it is difficult to carry on completely without consolations for too long, but we have to try to live our faith as best we can, and practise our love of God, even when we do not get them, though it is hard.

Author:  MySavingGrace [ Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:03 pm ]
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Bonaventure, I don't find offense with what you said. I don't hate people who can eat a lot and not have weigh tproblems. I get a quick second of jealously and why can't that be me, but I know its not worth it to worry about an dI dn't dislike the person. If I haven't eaten enough for the dya, I force myself to eat more. And, despite what diet things say, I cannot go to bed hungry so I do eat at night just not a whole lot. I see no point in gong to bed in pain with hunger isntead of having a snack.

Author:  Anonymous [ Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Awesome!

Great Article!

Its contents truly remind you that suffering brings you closer to Him!


Author:  Cmom04 [ Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

Suffering sometimes is what brings us our greatest graces. I truly believe that God allows some to suffer here on earth so as not to have to spend so much time in purgatory.

Author:  Kat [ Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

that's always good to know-pretty important

Author:  Whit [ Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory.

I first heard about this idea several months ago on the EWTN message boards. How wonderful an idea it is!. My husband surely suffered before he died, but mercifully, only for days and not months. It is a source of comfort for me to think that his time in purgatory was shortened because of his suffereing here on earth.

Thank you for posting this very interesting article.


Author:  Teacher's Widow [ Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:27 pm ]
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mgross: I don't know where you found that article but it is a jewel. Thanks. I needed to be reminded.

Author:  mgross [ Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:48 am ]
Post subject: 

Teacher's Wife wrote:
mgross: I don't know where you found that article but it is a jewel. Thanks. I needed to be reminded.

Click the "Holy Wounds Apostolate" header. It will take you there.

Author:  Snowflake [ Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:11 am ]
Post subject: 

These are awesome posts on suffering.
I just want to say...
when I was a child I thought like a child. I thought Jesus did all the suffering for us and that meant I would be exempt...teeheeee :stars:

Then the nuns spoke a lot about the saints and persecution. I thought, living in the United States as opposed to Russia or China that I had nothing to worry about.

Life began to take me for a roller coaster ride and it was scarry but I made can me

:cloud9: :clap: :D :thumbsup:

Author:  Teacher's Widow [ Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here is a prayer I wrote for my mother. We prayed it together as she was dying. She was not Catholic so there were no sacraments available for her. I used to wonder "how" does a person offer up their sufferings. Of course it's through prayer, but what prayer? Exactly? I couldn't find one so I made up this one. I like to share it with people when appropriate. I wasn't the only one trying to figure it out. Since my mother was protestant [baptist] I knew she was going to die without sacraments because they don't have such things. This was a source of anguish for me and my mom needed something and I had a desperate need to do something for her so this was what God provided. It's great for Lent and I want to share this.

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
I thank You for all the blessings of my life.
I unite my Suffering with Yours and
I offer You all my Sorrows and Sufferings
for today and all of my life
in atonement for all my sins and faults.
I forgive all who have hurt me
so that You can forgive me.
I ask this through the merits of Christ Crucified. Amen

Author:  mgross [ Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Sorrowful mysteries


This is the garden of Gethsamani.
The olive tree in the background is over 2000 years old; a mute witness to the night that Jesus prayed here...




Was it not enough, O Pillar, that you bore the Creator and Lord of Life as His life, his blood, was so horridly spilt upon you? By your mute witness, convict us of our sins, that we may stop scourging our Lord.


See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?



Grant us, dearest Lord, to take up our daily cross, to unite it to you, as did the good thief to whom you promised paradise.



Lord, you endured the nails...

Image die on the cross...


...and be laid in the tomb.

and what was I whining about?


Let us go up to Jerusalem!

Thank you Steve Ray, for the best pilgrimage possible.

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