“Suffering is a Gift of God”, The ABC’s of Catholic Doctrine By Lianne Tiu

abcA death in the family, a broken marriage, an incurable sickness, … we can only cry like Jesus, ”My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” At times like this, it is hard to see God’s love and providence.

Life on earth is a journey, a pilgrimage to heaven. It is not always easy. All of us experience suffering; even Jesus and Mary are not exempted. It is only in heaven that we can find true happiness.

It’s difficult to believe what St. Josemaria wrote, that man’s treasures on earth are hunger, thirst, heat, cold, pain, dishonor, poverty, loneliness, betrayal, slander, prison, … or what Blessed Teresa of Calcutta wrote: “Suffering, pain, humiliation – this is the kiss of Jesus.” Once she told this to a suffering lady who replied, “Tell Jesus not to kiss me-to stop kissing me.”

“Suffering is a gift from God,” Mother Teresa would add. This is because something good can come from an evil through God’s intervention. Suffering can change us for the better; it can help us earn merits; it can be used to atone for our sins; it can benefit those for whom it is offered (such as a conversion or a quick entry into heaven for souls in purgatory). No one wants this gift; but when it comes, we look at it in a new way, accept it as God’s will, and let Him do great things with it.

At times when we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, let us remember that Jesus is also in the tunnel. He is with us.

We are not alone in our pain and suffering. He wants us to stop worrying and to trust in Him. What He chooses for us is what He knows is best for our salvation. He may shield us from suffering, or He may provide us with unfailing strength to
bear it.

The way to heaven and eternal happiness has always been the way of the Cross. The joy of Christ’s Resurrection cannot be accomplished without His passion and death. Suffering with faith-filled acceptance and love has always been a path to holiness and a way to save souls. But we need prayers; we need God. There is a big difference when we try to look at suffering in a positive light and when we embrace it rather than reject it. It becomes less painful when accepted. As St. John Vianney would say: suffering in serenity is no longer suffering.

(Reference: “Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love & Secrets of Sanctity” by Susan Conroy; “The Way” by St. Josemaria Escriva; totus tuus blogspot “Christ’s Compassion for the Suffering”; “In Conversation with God” Vol. 1 by Francis Fernandez; “I Choose to be Free” by Jack Philip)doctrine