Are we to garner peace through suffering?
Hello there! Yes we do garner peace through suffering, only if we offer the suffering up to the Lord for His greater glory. If we believe that our suffering will not only help other souls and we believe that we owe it to Jesus for what He suffered for us willingly, we should feel a measure of peace in our souls. If we harbor resentment at the sufferings we go through then there is no peace. It has to be willingly offered up. Most of the saints I have read about asked for more suffering and through this suffering recieved peace and joy in their lives.
This is not an easy task and I don’t know of anyone who gets it right all the time. It is possible though to recieve this peace through suffering if you truly want it. Just pray on it and truly want it. When the suffering does come use it wisely, if not for yourself, then for someone else. God hears us when we submit our sufferings to Him. He may not always help us in the way we want, but He gives someone else a fighting chance through our suffering. This should give us all a measure of peace.
That‘s quite a lot to ask, don‘t you think?
Quite often, the best we can do is to hold ourselves to a habit of looking upwards in the midst of hardship, trusting that God will accept our sacrifice of patience and use it where it is most needed. We won‘t know till we get to Heaven how many such sacrifices by the saints, by people who loved us, or by people we never knew were instrumental in helping us.
As for our own peace as a result of patience, we have to leave it up to God for the time being, but there is a promise that it will begin to grow as we grow:
…it is through him, by faith, that we have been admitted into God’s favour in which we are living, and look forward exultantly to God’s glory. Not only that; let us exult, too, in our hardships, understanding that hardship develops perseverance, and perseverance develops a tested character, something that gives us hope, and a hope which will not let us down, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
So the suffering remains, even if we have peace that we offered the Lord? To the saints, were they able to transform suffering into peace, such that it could not even properly be called “suffering” for them?
It is the suffering and not the resulting peace that we offer up to the Lord - joyful in the opportunity to be chosen by Him to suffer as an expression of His love, so that we may learn to unite our suffering with His and rely on faith that by doing so we are ultimately rewarded.
Yes, there are many examples of great saints who were able to take joy in their suffering… St. Paul: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake”, St. Bernadette: “The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice.”, St. Faustina: “Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how much God loves it, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Someday, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer.”
St. Therese of Lisieux is a wonderful example, which I would encourage anyone exploring the topic of suffering to read about. Here is a good place to start if interested.
It is not easy to offer up our suffering with joy, I think this is something we all struggle with and question at times, but such is the price paid for the honor of sainthood
Hope this helps in some way…
I believe that suffering is co-redeemdive. I believe that each of us owe it to Jesus for the unspeakable acts done to him so that He could gie us life and salvation. Jesus suffered in a way we can not even imagine. I think that when we look at how He suffered, we have to use every ounce of our imagination to een comphrend His suffering.
I believe that we should freely ask for some of this pain and suffering in our lifetime. It is not just physical pain, it is an array of things. An example of the easiest kind is to fast. We give up food and our bellies suffer. We lose our jobs and our wallets suffer. We lose a family member and our emotions suffer. We get a “F” on a final and we suffer. The point is that all through this life we suffer in a variety of ways and this is real.
What and how we deal with these sufferings is where we make decisions. I have met people with severe handicaps, people that are so so poor, people that have the most dreadful family lives, yet these same people are happy and always ready to help the next person. Their suffering fuels their lies and good comes out of it. They are at peace with their situations. That doesn’t mean they would not change the difficulties if they could, it just means they make the most of what they have and go with it. If you offer your sufferings up to God for the souls that truly need it without recompense for yourselves and believe in the good that it will do, I believe that eace follows here.
How offen do you offer your daily sufferings Up? I do it daily and I beliee it is for the greater glory of God and He will use it for the best.
Just some thoughts…
I have garnered peace through suffering. It is something I do not fully understand. But mostly my suffering is through watching others I am close to suffer. Watching someone you love suffer is bitter to me. It reminds me of Mary watching Jesus suffer. She certainly suffered along with Him.
So it is a paradox of sorts? Because what I’m saying, is that if one gets some kind of peace or joy from what is normally “suffering” then to that saint, it’s not suffering. Or is it suffering, but the saints knows that because it hurts, he brings grace upon himself or others, and thus from that he draws joy?
It is definitely a paradox. I think the peace aquired through suffering is one of the things satan laments in his defeat through Christ’s saving work on the cross. He can’t take away our peace despite any torments he attempts to throw at us. Many graces abound through the suffering of others. I believe the saints do know it is suffering. The difference is that the suffering does not lead to despair but instead deepens their love of Christ - thus increased (not decreased) faith.
I wanted to add that my sister is having a terrible time with this subject. She believes God is cruel to allow so much suffering, especially by innocents. I understand the paradox, yet, I can’t seem to pur it in the right words for her. I even gave her a copy of Pope John Pual’s Encycical Letter on Christian Suffering. It didn’t help.
Don’t anyone hae any thoughts on how to make this subject more clear to her?
I’m trying to understand it better too. But didn’t at least God show us that suffering can produce good? The most tragic incident in history was the murder of God Incarnate. And yet it is the greatest victory in history. So even if we yet not understand how suffering is redemptive, is the road to eternal happiness, did God at least not show the way first? Other than that, sometimes there isn’t a set group of “the right words” to tell someone who is suffering. Just offer prayer and sympathy and tell her you understand how difficult it is.
Very interesting! I been have thinking about this very subject a lot recently, and my fellow catechumens and I were talking about yesterday at dismissal.
The mystery of suffering is a great one indeed! I feel such an interaction between the Divine and myself when I suffer and offer it up. Prayer is much easier for me during times of suffering. I feel that a lot is easier when I suffer rather than when I am merry. It is the time that I feel the most peaceful. Suffering was the chosen path for our Saviour’s ability to redeem us. Knowing this helps me in understanding the need for me to suffer. Through suffering is where I find true deep peace, a still peace. A peace that is stable and not contingent upon world matter.
What is also interesting is that, I only find all this to be true when His example is on my heart. My God, how much are You needed for us humans! It is also through suffering that our true dependence (and my transgressions, short comings, and sin) upon Him becomes a little clearer for me. St. Peter, how true your words… “To whom shall we go!” I think the theological virtues of faith, love, and hope play a crucial part. One must have all three when dealing with suffering. Not to suggest we acquire these virtues by our own merits, but by His grace. Even in suffering we are blessed!
Faith is absolute when believing in His Passion. Hope is surely needed when offering up suffering for the sake of others. Deeds without love is much like faith without deeds, in my opinion. When these virtues are combined with the act of offering up suffering, the act becomes very real. Personally speaking it becomes almost tangible, for I can almost feel the suffering being received. As if I took it out of my heart with my hands, and I am handing it over for the love of Him, conversion of sinners, and for the reparation of the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
My sweet God, it is not easy and it is a very emotional process. Suffering can become one’s identity, crutch, and way of life. It is a very personal thing and a lot of people fall into the trap of becoming a victim and fulfilling self-made prophesies. Learning and practicing offering up suffering can and is a process that can take awhile (or may be not. “For there is nothing God cannot do.”) And this is where, forgetting oneself, picking of the cross as He did, and following Him becomes the focus. Without Him there is nothing, may be delusions and mirages but in the end there is nothing!
He suffered for our redemption, and given His command to love each other as He has loved us. Should at the very least inspire us to follow His example, give up our suffering (ie ourselves… our life) for the sake of our friends, by God, we are more than friends… we are brothers and sisters of this universe. What a blessing, the suffering Messiah! For in His suffering, lies our road to eternal salvation. In His suffering, is our example of suffering. In His suffering, is His love! In His suffering, can we count the blessings?!
And in our suffering, can lie our love for our brothers and sisters… Glory Be!
thevickinator16 and Stylteralmaldo: I enjoyed your posts very much! Thank you for sharing such information! I must also agree with you Stylteralmaldo, it indeed leads to an increase of faith!
Anyway, these where my thoughts Sunday. I am but a mere catechumen but I wanted to share with you, CAF!
I think there are some really good answers on this subject. I have been a receipt of suffering, both physical and mental for many years. Some through my own faults and some not. I have learned that offering all the suffering to God gives me the peace I need and the strength to endure. It keeps me afloat when despair and desolation threaten to oercome me. This is exactly what satan would like. He would be glad for us to become bitter at God and make ourselves more prone to his works and antics. Offering for others is a great way to feel better about our suffering. We can help so many others both here and in purgatory.
The saints, like St Faustina and Padre Pio gie us a perfect blueprint of suffering. As with many other saints, they went through sufferings that were visible and some that were not. The saints recognized how their sufferings helped others and this helped them. Taking stock of our pains and sufferings and how to offer them up for others gives us peace. In God’s infinte mercy, He gives us rest from these afflictions. Only He can bestow the peace we need. We have to trust Him though. He gives us no more than than we can handle. We just have to have complete trust that He will take care of us.
I will keep trying to explain to my sister and others how suffering brings about peace and joy if we have true faith and trust in God. Constantly scrutinizing our faith and our beliefs and how we relate this to God is essential. I pray that others come to realize just how great and merciful God is. I also pray that others realize that if we did not suffer, we would lose sight of the Passion and what it really means in our own lives. This would mean we would lose sight of God which is the worse thing that could happen.
Just a few thoughts…
How would saints in the “dark night” experience joy or peace?
Because it is at this time that they are most intimately united with Our Lord. They are ushered into the Most Holy of Holies and embrace (and are embraced by) the Man of Sorrows. Those hours of deep loneliness and rejection which only Our Lord knows. There is no greater intimacy than to be granted the great honor of entering into Our Lord’s own Passion if only in just a small and inexplicable way.
*3) He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. 4) Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5) But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. 6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
I understand that. What I am asking is how do they experience peace in the “dark night.” In union with Christ on the Cross, do they not also cry out with Him, “God, why have You forsaken me?” And it seems to be an important part of theology that Christ spoke those words as He relied on His humanity. I am trying to understand where is the peace in the moment of suffering.
You can see in this thread that I understand somehow peace and joy is there in Christian suffering. But is there a way to understand how?
I believe that the saints expierence peace in the dark of night due to their trust in God. Mother Theresa said she did not feel God’s Presence for almost 50 years. Yet she trusted that He was there and did the best job she could do for the people of India. She trusted and that was enough for her. She had much peace and they say she even had a great sense of humor.
Do we not expierence these same periods of darkness and survive them due to our faith in our God? Is this not blind trust? I can’t honestly say that I feel God enveloping me all the time, I just have to trust He has my best interests in His Hands. I draw peace in believing that He will neer let me go even when I don’t feel Him close.
Many saints drew peace in the dark times because they were subjuect to periods with the Lord at other times. They had what we don’t all have. They had intimacy with Jesus and most with Mary, our Blessed Mother. They knew that the loneliness they would feel during these times always would be followed by the greatest intimacy and union with our Lord Jesus. St Faustina stated that at these times she just trusted in Jesus and she was never wrong. She actually got to meet the Holy Trintity during her life. It is most amazing how God blesses His saints. St Faustina said it only takes the simplest measures to attain the odor of sanctity in this life. Most of all, she said obedience to the laws of the Lord and suffering with joy were important. Most saints suffered both mentally and had great physical ailments that they kept concealed till their was know way to disguise them any more. St Bernadette was one of these saints. She had tuberculosis of the bone. When it was discovered, the disease was well advanced and the doctors could not believe she had not told anyone. She suffered with smiles and love for everyone. She had joy and peace in her soul.
Just a few thoughts…
If I’m understanding you correctly (and I hope I am), you are asking whether or not they were in constant peace during all their trials. I don’t believe so. There will be times when saintly men and women experience great suffering (whether physical, psychological etc.) when it seems that God is not present and there will be a great struggle of the will and soul when it feels bewildered by events and circumstances and seems to be disconnected from Our Lord. As thevickinator16 stated, I believe that saints fall back on their prior intimate moments with God whereby they know that He is the great “I Am” even when He seems distant and everything around them is falling apart.
This can only be accomplished by a great maturity which is loving cultivated by Our Lord during our journey with Him. It’s not unlike eaglets learning how to fly. Did you know that flight is not instinctive to baby eagles? They learn to fly through observing their parents - they are born with a unique instinct called ‘imprinting’ - which means they can assimilate through observation. When the time comes for them to leave the nest, the mother starts removing all the nesting materials and stirring the eaglets. At some point she’ll give them a shove and then they have to trust in what they’ve seen to keep them from perishing from an otherwise certain death. So it is in the christian life - we must trust in Our Lord and follow His example. Saints are no different from the eaglets, there will be times where they are terrified and bewildered (without peace), but the truly committed ones will follow the example they were given and not despair in the midst of uncertainty - instead, they will mimic and follow their Teacher. This is what Jesus meant when He said *(Matt 10:24) The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord.
There is peace in KNOWING, not in feeling.
Good morning to all and peace be with you.
I have an excerpt from St Faustina’s Diary that I would like to share with all. It is from the second notebook, paragraph 593:
*593 O my Jesus, nothing is better for the soul than humiliations. In contempt is the secret of happiness, when the soul recognizes that, of itself, it is only wretchedness and nothingness, and that whatever it possesses of good is a gift of God. When the soul sees that everything is given it freely and that the only thing it has of itself is its own misery, this is what sustains it in a continual act of humble prostration before the majesty of God. And God, seeing the soul in such a disposition, pursues it with His graces. As the soul continues to immerse itself more deeply into the abyss of its nothingness and need, God uses His omnipotence to exalt it. If there is a truly happy soul upon earth, it can only be a truly humble soul. At first, one’s self-love suffers greatly on this account, but after a soul has struggled courageously, God grants it much light by which it sees how wretched and full of deception everything is. God alone is in its heart. A humble soul does not trust itself, but places all its confidence in God. God defends the humble soul and lets Himself into its secrets, and the soul abides in unsurpassable happiness which no one can comprehend. *
I think this sums up most of what I was trying to convey in my earlier posts. In wretchness we can find joy and peace, only if we are cleaved unto God. He has to be the center of our life and only He.
Just some thoughts for the day…
Good Morning folks.
Some one tried to tell me that the devil is in you to cause all the suffering in our lives. Not possession, but in us nonetheless. OIf course God is incapable of harming us. He gives us free will to choose what state of life we decide on. I was trying to explain co-redemption to him and he said there is nothing in scriputure on this matter. He said the cCtholic Church is just a theology and very flawed. He is one of my doctors. I am highly offened by these remarks and will be seeking a new doctor. I do not believe this hogwash in the least. Suffering is an honor to Jesus for all He went through for us. In this day, we are a “throw away society”, not in tuned to God Himself. By returning a little of what Jesus gave for us allows us to feel some of what He went through for the love of us. This doctor said I should be following Don Dickman for one. It is an abomination that people question God and His motives and our place in the grand scheme of things. I find this a self sering way to cirdumwent following God’s laws.
Just wanted to share these thoughts with all.
I tmay not even be the right forum, but I had to vent somewhere.
Thanks for listening.