Suffering in Holiness

by Thomas A. Stobie, S.F.O.


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image

Read and pause often to think about what is mentioned as it applies to your life.

Suffering in Holiness

By giving my suffering to Jesus, my suffering has value.

First, many examples of suffering will be listed, then a discourse on which sufferings can be holy, and finally a discourse on how to bear sufferings in holiness.

In what forms can I suffer?

  1. Physical Sufferings - These can be physical handicaps, mild to extreme, sickness, allergies, poor senses, sensitive senses, obesity, fasting, denial of physical pleasure, exercise (for some), torture, physical abuse, cramps, bodily pains, etc.

  2. Mental Sufferings - These can be mental handicaps, stuttering, dylexia, empathic suffering with others, psychological abuse, confusion, denial of cravings, patience, timeliness, unpleasant tasks, being less intelligent than others, doing homework (for some), stress of excessive debt, etc.

  3. Societal Sufferings - These can be social disadvantages, poverty, unemployment, bias, discrimination, religous persecution, lack of respect, injustice, being prejudged, lack of access to medical care, etc.

  4. Spiritual Sufferings - These can be spiritual assaults of evil, empathic suffering with others (particularly when you are powerless to prevent it from happening and reoccuring), not being able to prevent the needless suffering of your love ones, the longing for God, the realization of how much our sins hurt God, seeing the evilness in our heart, seeing evil in others' actions, sharing in Jesus' sufferings, etc.

What sufferings can be holy?

  1. Sufferings over which I have no control - These sufferings can always be holy if I bear them with holiness.

  2. Non-harmful sufferings which I choose for my own or other's good - These sufferings can be holy if I bear them with holiness and if it is not against God's will that I accept them. In these sufferings, I am attempting to better myself my either doing something that is good for me or denying myself something that is not.

  3. Non-harmful sufferings which I choose as penance - These sufferings can be holy if I bear them with holiness and if it is not against God's will that I perform them. In these sufferings which I take upon my self, I bring the suffering upon myself as an act of penance, hopefully increasing my attachment for God and decreasing my attachment to worldly things.

  4. Non-harmful sufferings which God asks me to bear - These sufferings can be holy if I bear them with holiness. They will tend to improve my spiritual wellbeing and help or witness to others. An example of this is the Stigmata.

  5. Harmful sufferings which I choose to help others in love - These sufferings can be holy if I bear them with holiness and God would want me to bear them. Martyrdom is an example.

  6. Harmful sufferings which God asks me to bear - These sufferings can be holy if I bear them with holiness. They are very rare and care should be taken to discern that the request is from God (talk to your spiritual director about the it!) and not another source. An example of this is God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to him.

  7. Sufferings that can be cured, nullified, or reduced - Generally if a suffering can be cured or reduced and we have the means, prolonging (or enduring) the suffering is not holy unless God asks us to do so or prolonging the suffering is necessary so that we can perform good works.

How can I bear my sufferings in holiness?

Look at Jesus during His Passion and how he bore his sufferings. This is what we are called to do. Specifically,

  1. Love God & your fellow man - We should always love God and our fellow man, regardless of how we feel, or how well we are treated. Because we are suffering is never an valid excuss to treat others in an unloving fashion.

  2. Love yourself - We need to love ourselves throughout our sufferings, remembering that we are beloved children of God, no matter how much we suffer, and are worthy of infinite love.

  3. Pray often offering your suffering to God - Keep God in mind and repeatedly offer your suffering to Him. This will make the suffering easier to bear. In cases outside of our control, we should ask for God to remedy the suffering.

  4. Share your sufferings with whom God would want you to share it. - Sometimes the sharing (typically telling them about it) of our sufferings with others can help them in their lives or they may be called to pray on your behalf.

  5. Do not draw attention to your suffering - While is it not necessary to hide our sufferings, we should not draw attention to it, unless by drawing attention to it, it can be reduced or eliminated.

  6. Do what you can of your normal life - Your life must go on so you should do what you can (that you normally would have done) in your life.

  7. Do not lie about your suffering - Be honest, neither understating or overstating your suffering when asked. You can refuse to share, but if you share be honest.

  8. Do not seek vengeance - Forgive instead - Vengeance is never holy unless it is done directly by God. It can taint everything we do and should always be avoided. Rather forgive those who bring suffering upon you.

  9. Remember that those closest to you, suffer with you - Those who love you deeply will suffer with you. Be aware of their suffering and endeavor to ease it if you can and make it holy as well.

Please do not waste your sufferings by not giving them to God.

By giving my suffering to Jesus, my suffering has value. My holy sufferings united with Jesus' sufferings and those of holy sufferers through all of time, gain graces for those in need and are love offerings to God.

Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image


Cross Image


Celtic Cross Image

Prayer Offering My Suffering to God

Cross in Heart Image


Fancy Cross Image


Cross in Heart Image

O Most Loving God,

I thank You for all that you have done for me and those whom I love, including the most holy and redemptive suffering in the Jesus' passion.

I offer up all my sufferings, past, current and future, the large and the small, everyone of them to You in love for my good and the good of the world.

I ask that You bless my sufferings, curing those that You want cured and helping me bear in holiness those sufferings that I endure.

Help me to understand what Your will is for me about Suffering.

I give myself to You, mind, body, and soul. May everything I do always glorify You.

Amen.

Cross in Heart Image


Fancy Cross Image


Cross in Heart Image

Meditation by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO 2002-3. Permission granted to copy for personal use.


Other References about Suffering in Holiness

Salvifici Doloris - Letter of Pope John Paul II on the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering (11 Feb 1984).


Divine Love Ministries Logo Go to the Divine Love Ministries homepage. Divine Love Ministries Logo


Last Modified 5 Nov 2008.