« The Pope Challenges The World With Truth | Main | Gospel Reflection for Sunday, January 1, 2006 »

December 29, 2005


Julie D.

I have learned to think this way over time and gradually being taught Catholicism's attitude toward suffering. And, it only makes sense, considering Jesus' example.

Personally, I find it very freeing to be able to look on suffering as an opportunity to do some good. I'm not a nut ... I don't WANT suffering. But when it comes I ask God to show me the good in it and offer it up. As I said, very freeing.

Fred K.

Msgr. Albacete has said that we have no need for hairshirts - we have each other!

Tony Miller

I think it was Chesterton who said: "I know God will do what's best for me, I'm just worried about how much it will hurt".


In his Encyclical SALVIFICI DOLORIS, Pope John Paul II discussses the value and the true meaning of suffering. All suffering if offered up is a grace and be used for God's purposes.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel has always said too many people in nursing homes waste their suffering. Just think -- if people who suffer with chronic pain or mental illness or some other ongoing trial would offer their sufferings up for an end to abortion or for the salvation of souls who are in most need of God's mercy how many lives and how many souls could be saved.

As an Oblate, my entire life is an offering (an oblation) to God -- I never waste any work, joy, or suffering. All is done for the glory of God.
I have consecrated my life to Him.

John Everett


For those of us who have lived in abusive situations, the only hope we can find is in realizing that our suffering can indeed be redemptive (Encyclical Mystici Corporis).

Many people who live with abuse do not have this hope, and thus live in despair, bitterness, loneliness, and anguish.

One discovers that one can see one's particular wounds on and in Jesus. He did indeed embrace our suffering.

Because of this, one is motivated to embrace the arduous and painful path to healing out of love for Him. And also, one embraces suffering out of love for Him.

Some of the spiritual & mental-emotional fruits that come in suffering: Empathy and understanding with those who live a particular type of suffering; the ability to listen; the ability to prostrate at the foot of the Cross with the offering of one's current suffering; the ability remain smiling and at peace despite the inner termoil and pain; the knowledge that somehow my offering is embraced and accepted by Jesus; the realization that healing brings peace and that the ultimate healing (death) brings the ultimate Peace; and so much more.

Pope John Paul II gave us such an awesome gift in being so public in his suffering. I remember hearing and seeing so many people question, "why?" And, so many more were touched by how he dignified suffering. This is a challenge in today's world where a pill is available for most of us for vertually any type of ache and pain.

Pax vobis,



I was thinking about this in prayer this morning.

Do we ask for healing or accept and offer up the suffering? The image of Jesus at the garden came to mind: Mar 14:34-36, "And He *said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch." And He went a little beyond {them,} and fell to the ground and {began} to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."

Perhaps this is the spirit of this. Please take this abuse or sickness away, if possible, yet not my will, but your will. Then lovingly offer this.

John, Jean, Tony, Fred, and Julie thanks for your comments, insights, and references. Jean thanks for the comments on oblates, that is beautiful and it is how I would like to live, as a consecrated offering. I will read the references you gave me because this is a powerful thought. As Fred said, we don't have to wear the hair shirts. There's plenty of people and situations that give us the opportunity.
Very powerful indeed!


I think the key is "not my will, but Yours."

I'm reading a book right now called Brokenness, by Lon Solomon.

This is a FANTASTIC book. I recommend it.

I believe that we're shown throughout the Scriptures what suffering entails and just how we're to respond to it. Unfortunately, too many "name it & claim it" types have perverted the truth, by espousing a 'wellness' gospel.

God is sovereign.

Thanks for this timely post, Hector.


wonderful post.

"Do we ask for healing or accept and offer up the suffering?"

We do BOTH
We do not embrace our suffering, but we can accept it as the will of the Father. There's a difference.

oh and Hector - and friends - pray for Gayla and her mum. I just came here from her place and it's not menitoned above but her mum has just been diagnosed with lung cancer.

As Gayla wrote - a timely post. Pray for God's will - and for His peace, love and joy to sustain Gayla and her family.



Let's continue to pray for Gayla, her mom, and her whole family for healing of the body and growth of the soul...

John Everett

Do we ask for healing or accept and offer up the suffering?

I believe that ultimately Jesus wants us to be healed.

The healing process itself can be very painful, even more so than the original wound and thus some don't begin it. Spiritual and mental-emotional debridement is very much the crucible spoken of in the Gospels.

There are many places in the Gospels where those who ask for healing receive it.

For some of us, there is living as a "victim soul". That is one who is somehow asked by the Lord to share in His suffering for a particular grace or reason of His own. St. Therese of Lisieux comes to mind as one who embraced suffering out of love for Jesus, her sisters, and all of us.

And finally, in my pastoral experiences with the aged, those individuals that suffered for Him were generally very peaceful and joyful people despite their suffering. Their faith perspective brought peace and the acceptance of death. I found that those who did not have faith tended to be very angry and very scared.

I hope this answers you question somewhat?

And you are very welcome!

Pax vobis,



I often tell my kids to "Offer it up." I have many opportunities for this each day. When they want a ponytail in their hair and start to scream that it hurts to brush those little, tangled hairs at the base of the neck, I stop and ask what they will be offering this for. If they want to eat the last cookie and a another child also wants it, I ask them if they will offer that up and give the cookie to the other child. Little examples of this every day will surely teach them the deeper meaning that they can take with them into their adult life.


John and Lisa, thanks for your comments. The answers to this post have been a wonderful gift for me, I really appreciate it. I want to better understand this concept to live it in me, and to pastorally help others with their pain and suffering. Lisa, you give us a good example. If we live this with the little things in life, we will be able to live it when tragedy strikes. You are giving your kids a great treasure.

The comments to this entry are closed.