The Comfort of Redemptive Suffering
Is there comfort in suffering?
There is comfort in suffering when we suffer with Christ as stated in 2 Corinthians 1:5-6.
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
We all tend to avoid pain and suffering. It’s in our nature. We avoid that which we think is not good for us.
And so we aim to reach that state where we are free of pain and suffering. Many aspire to be as materially wealthy as they can so they can afford to escape pain and suffering.
But is suffering not good?
Some believe that suffering is a punishment.
With the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, came pain and suffering.
But remember also that through suffering, Jesus redeemed us. He died on the cross to save us from eternal damnation.
Jesus used the very fruit of disobedience to conquer sin and death. He used suffering to redeem us. He turned suffering into something beautiful.
This beautiful suffering is redemptive suffering. It is a suffering that is accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus so the just punishment for one’s sins or for the sins of another is remitted.
We Catholics believe in redemptive suffering. We believe that we can offer up our sufferings and unite them to Christ for the remission of our sins and those of others. And believing this, we find comfort in suffering. We see suffering as a gift from God, a chance to remedy a wrong, be united again with God and help others be saved from injury of sin.
But isn’t Christ’s suffering enough? According to St. Paul in Colossians 1:24, our sufferings can complete what is lacking in Christ’s.
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,
When we suffer, it’s best to humble ourselves and recall what we might have done to offend God. We should be truly repentant and resolve to avoid the sin and do better. We should accept all sufferings that come our way and be willing to go through them, offering them up in union to Christ for the sake of His body. This way, our sufferings are not wasted.
Sufferings may be the result of our wrongdoings but we should not be disheartened. We should still them see them as gifts from God. Without sufferings, we would not be awakened from our sinful sleep and we go on dreaming to our own damnation.
Even faithful saints suffered in their lifetime. This indicates that suffering is not a sign of weak faith. In fact, St. Faustina who suffered much in her lifetime wrote that suffering is a great grace. (Divine Mercy #54)
Some believe that when one is sickly, he is weak in faith. This is not true in the cases of many faithful Christians. There are many saints who suffered so much because of some illnesses. They suffered in silence. I’m sure they offered up their sufferings to save others.
It is sad to note that many are not willing to go through sufferings. Some even opted to cut short their sufferings by resorting to euthanasia and even suicide.
I pray that many would come to know and believe redemptive suffering. Then sufferings would not be wasted and many will be saved.
We suffer when others are inconsiderate and rude, when we are sick, when our plans fail or when we lack financially. But we suffer most when we are far from God.
Let us get closer to God. Let us accept sufferings and receive them as God’s gifts for us. Let us not avoid sufferings.
After suffering to redeem others comes glory. On the third day, Jesus rose again. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
By uniting our sufferings to Christ, we will be gifted with the glory of His resurrection!
By going through many sufferings, with our eyes firmly on Christ, we will grow more and more like Him.
Being like Him, we have no need to avoid sufferings. We welcome them as gifts from God. We have no need to be materially wealthy. And we are so much happier!
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