It is better to die than to suffer chronic illness?

Sirach 30:17
Death is better than a miserable life, and eternal rest than chronic sickness.

I don’t know how to interpret this scripture. It seems like this can be used to support euthenasia. What about all the saints that did so much good by offering up their chronic sickness?

No, it does not support euthanasia. Nowhere does it support euthanasia.

What it does say that death can indeed be better than a miserable life. That’s it, and it’s true. Dying at the appointed time, in a state of grace, and entering an eternity of joy with God is infinitely better than a miserable life. That’s not the same as killing yourself.

Yes, suffering borne out of love for God is meritorious, and yet there’s one thing common to these saints: they’re all dead. Their suffering ended, and they entered into eternal reward. None of them killed themselves, they accepted death at its appointed time, in whatever form God willed for them.


Old Covenant. Christ is the New Covenant and we are intended to suffer along with Him. We are baptized into his suffering and death so that we may also rise to eternal life.

God alone has brought good from evil in that suffering redeemed us from sin and our personal suffering may be added to that of Christ. You may have heard someone say “Offer it up” - which has more than one meaning, but perhaps the most important meaning is that our suffering, as members of the Body of Christ, may be offered to God for the sake of others.

Colossians 1:24 is the most difficult verse for many Christians, but speaks directly to suffering being for the good of others.

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Being of sound mind while rejecting any extraordinary medical intervention is not euthinasia.

For instance, my family knows that if I were to develop serious cancer that does not have a high cure rate, I will forego chemo/radiation and let the disease run it’s course. Same for being put on a ventilator or ECMO or other such things. I live my life as if I might die in the next hour, death would be better than another chronic sickness.

Others choose to do all they can.

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Thanks! That is very helpful!

Wow that is actually a good point that you bring up. Basically (if I am following what you are saying) then our sufferings by themselves are not valuable for helping the Body of Christ, but only when they are united with Christ’s sufferings, because apart from Him we can do nothing. I have been a Catholic for two years now, but somehow the way you explained the “offering it up” it became even more clear. Thanks!

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My dad had ALS. I’d much rather he be alive.


Good post. Just wanted to add this passage from St. Paul with a similar idea (my bolding):

2 Cor. 5:6 So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

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Is anyone who is replying chronically ill

It depends who you ask.

Sometimes death can look like jackpot but if that isn’t God’s will then I don’t want it either.
Chronic illnesses are hard to bear, phisycally, psychically and spiritually. It was unimaginable hard to accept until I understood meaning of suffering and offering it to God.
It would be easier to not to have them but still, my life lacks nothing.

Nothing happens without God’s approval so God knows why He give us suffering, illnesses, pain and all other tribulations.
God gave Cross even to His own Son, so why would we be exceptions?

Life without a cross is the heaviest cross of all.
St. Sebastian Valfre

If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love.
St. Gemma Galgani

Yes. I live with constant pain and loss of mobility that will only increase as I age. No cure.

My late husband died of heart failure while waiting for a transplant. We well know the suffering.


You have only to look in the prayer intentions section to see that many people would prefer to live with chronic pain than to die. So many requests for prayers, for others, and for members of this forum. We do all have our crosses to carry, for some it is chronic illness, for others, it is something else. But in all things, we look to Jesus Christ as our example of how to accept our sufferings and continue to live.

Yes. The following is a testament to God’s mercy and grace.

Over the past 12 years: One aggressive non-Hodgkin’s T-Cell Lymphoma with two relapses. A second aggressive non-Hodgkin’s T-Cell Lymphoma. About 100 tumors in my lymphatic system, spleen, small intestine and bone marrow. A third bone marrow cancer - MDS, precursor to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Stage IV twice. All three cancers simultaneously. Allogeneic stem cell transplant. Acute > Chronic Graft-versus-Host disease, Chronic kidney disease, type II diabetes, both chemotherapy induced and diabetic neuropathy in hands and feet, cataracts, long-term high-dose steroids, hypertension, and lately, a small believed to be benign tumor in my frontal lobe. Other than that, I’m fine.

Yet, in meeting me, no one suspects any of this. Life is still worth living and I pray that I might serve my purgatory on earth - as I have a long way to go, spiritually.


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