Redemptive suffering


#1

How can I tell if something is placed by God in my life, to draw me closer to Christ in suffering, or if it is just a consequence of my own stupidity and sin. Those of you who know my situation and have read my posts, you understand what I am talking about.


#2

Don’t concern yourself with whether God placed it there, or its merely consequence or whatever. Merely trust in God and offer it all up, for Him.

Jim


#3

I just want to be able to unite my sufferings with Christ, and make sure I am doing it right, because suffering for what I did wrong is not redemptive, rather its corrective. I believe only suffering that I did not merit can be redemptive.


#4

If I’m understanding your question correctly.

Your own suffering is not redemptive, only Christ is.

Redemptive suffering is done for others, not self.

Also, it takes a level of perfection, before one should consider doing redemptive suffering, as St. Theresa of Lisieux did.

Jim


#5

Redemptive Suffering
rosary-center.org/ll49n2.htm

I just want to be able to unite my sufferings with Christ, and make sure I am doing it right, because suffering for what I did wrong is not redemptive, rather its corrective. I believe only suffering that I did not merit can be redemptive.

Sometimes we cannot discern the reason for unchosen suffering - we need let the reason rest in God as hidden from us and be in Peace in that, and if we unite all suffering (no matter cause or reason) to the Sufferings of Jesus these sufferings are redemptive, since we unite them to the Redemptive Sufferings of Jesus.
If a suffering is corrective it can still be united to the Sufferings of Jesus and thus redemptive also.
To choose or inflict any sort of suffering on oneself needs to be approached with spiritual caution since suffering is not a good but an evil. Most often one may need spiritual direction. However to choose some good action that does bring with it suffering is not choosing suffering per se, and in fact the good chosen is greater than the suffering incurred.

Don’t concern yourself with whether God placed it there, or its merely consequence or whatever. Merely trust in God and offer it all up, for Him.

:thumbsup:


#6

Ugh - I read this the day after I wrenched by back and spent the night and most of today in serious pain!!! It is an old injury I aggravated somehow.

I’d like to say very shortly after my Baptism I became disabled. It seems God brought me to Him just when I’d need Him the most because He knew the road ahead of me. I learned the meaning of the daily offering. I use the morning offering to unite myself to the Cross. I add to it sometimes. It has been a long road since '96 but I’m helping someone…I’ll find out who when I get to Heaven.

I should also add that on days when the Cross seems unbearable, it is reeeeeally difficult to keep an open mind and heart to suffering. What usually gets me over the hump is knowing if I give into despair, my trails will go to waste and then I’ll be reduced to just plain ole miserable and there are already enough miserable people in the world. God doesn’t need any more of that! I just keep on praying no matter what. Turns out my disability was my baptismal gift from God. Does that make any sense?

Peace,

Gail


#7

I don’t know that we need to analyse the cause of suffering in order to offer it with Christ’s sufferings. We recognise and repent our sins or mistakes that led to our suffering and the suffering or decisions of others.

There are causes, maybe genetics, lifestyle, what we eat, selfish decisions, foolish decisions…but what we are left with is the consequences. Consequences are hard facts, that is all. Sometimes we can salvage something or bring about healing. Sometimes we’re just stuck with the consquences. We just have to move on from there the best we can manage.

We don’t offer just the suffering in our lives, we offer all the good, the happiness etc also, our whole selves, whole lives with Christ. What happens with that offering is with God. In this context it’s irrelevant to examine whether suffering is redemptive or corrective.
The question is only relevant to our ability to learn from our mistakes, or at least to simply recognise them so we can try not to fall into the basic mistake or sin of selfishness or whatever again, if possible.

It is so difficult, and painful, when we know that the consequences are partly or mainly our fault… and even more when we can’t do much about it.

God bless you, Trishie


#8

Hi Gail, your post above made an awful lot of good sense…and gave excellent witness and example…

What usually gets me over the hump is knowing if I give into despair, my trails will go to waste and then I’ll be reduced to just plain ole miserable and there are already enough miserable people in the world

An example of common sense in reflecting on a presenting problem…and with a touch of humour too, and common sense St. Albert said is the guide of all the virtues. …:thumbsup:


#9

I agree that we don’t really, I think, need to know whence suffering comes in order to be able to offer it up. As St Paul says, ‘all things work for good for those who love God’ (Romans 8:28).

I recently made a breakthrough. I used to wonder, like you, whether the reason I was suffering mattered when it came to offering it up. This time I was suffering, it at least seemed to me, as a result of my own sin. I simply said ‘Lord, I offer this suffering to you in atonement for my sins’. And I was, it really appears miraculously, relieved of that suffering very soon afterward. Now I just need to learn not to sin in the same way again :frowning:


#10

whether the reason I was suffering mattered when it came to offering it up.

…no, the reason we are suffering does not matter - all suffering united to Christ and His Passion is redemptive simply because Christ and His Passion are redemptive. If I am suffering as a consequence of my own sin, I can still unite this suffering to the Passion of Christ for my own sins and “those of the whole world”, since Christ has suffered for my sins and for those of the whole world. Or, of course, one may simply unite one’s sufferings to those of Christ without stating my specific intention, and even though I justly deserve what I suffer due to my own sin and what I am suffering is a result of my sin.

And I was, it really appears miraculously, relieved of that suffering very soon afterward. Now I just need to learn not to sin in the same way again :frowning:

…Deo Gratius!:thumbsup:

May The Lord grant you success “oh Lord grant success to the work of our hands” (not necessarily of course only the work of our actual hands - rather success to all our efforts).

I could use a breakthrough this month!:o


#11

I think there is some confusion in several posts about suffering caused by one’s sins and “mistakes” and actual suffering that is part of life, i.e. labor in delivering a child into the world or blindness. I really don’t agree with some who think the suffering they experience because of their sins has redemptive value. I think the confusion could be cleared up if the right word is used. Remorse or contrition is useful, but feeling sorry that you got caught in your own snare…ummmmmmmmmmm, sorry, I have a hard time accepting that as something of value in terms of redemptive. I might wash with a judge, but I don’t think when we talk about redemptive suffering in a theological sense, we mean that.

Peace,

Gail


#12

I’m not talking, neither do I think anyone is taking, about merely FEELING sorry.

I’m talking about manfully accepting whatever negative consequences your sins have, and the suffering those consequences cause you, rather than wriggling out of them.

Eg if you obtained money by stealing, the suffering you receive from 'fessing up to the person you stole from and giving it back rather than keeping silent or returning it anonymously or what have you.

Do you not think that these sort of sufferings can have redemptive value and be ‘offered up’?


#13

I have read some of your thoughts/posts on here, traillius, and I think that whatever the suffering is, God’s hand is always extended to us. His mercy is unfathomable, as you know. So, even if sin led you to some of your suffering, those are actually the consequences of your actions, and even such suffering as that, can be turned around by God, for good.

But, I don’t believe God brings suffering to us, no. He didn’t ‘create’ suffering, but He permits suffering in this world, because if He didn’t…how would we exercise free will? Do we only want free will, if it brings us good things? He also has to let His children fall, if they choose badly. Now, when we look at starving children in third world countries…we say…how could God ‘let’ that happen? But, again, the entire world is working together in a synergistic kind of way…a domino effect. God is not going to swoop down and save this one or that one…but let others suffer. He allows the natural course of life to happen…and again, He didn’t create poverty, illness, and other sufferings.

Another thing to look at too…even in the midst of great suffering, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, financial, or spiritual…we still can express great joy in that God gave us another day on this earth, to worship and serve Him. To serve others. In our darkest hours, when things seem like they can’t get any bleaker, there is still joy in your life, if you focus away from the suffering. In all things, we can still be joyous, even when we’re in pain. Joyous, because we know God loves us.

I know a little bit about what you have told us about your homelife. I pray that you will open your heart and mind completely to receive the graces God is pouring out over you, this very minute. And that you lean on His understanding of the situation, not your own.:signofcross: You are being bathed in prayer, my friend.

God bless!


#14

You may want to read JPII’s encyclical SALVIFICI DOLORIS-ON THE CHRISTIAN MEANING OF HUMAN SUFFERING. All forms of human suffering including our remorse for sins committed has redemptive value.


#15

Looking at suffering from both sides of the street and even down the block helps with it.

But, I don’t believe God brings suffering to us, no. He didn’t ‘create’ suffering, but He permits suffering in this world, because if He didn’t…how would we exercise free will? Do we only want free will, if it brings us good things? He also has to let His children fall, if they choose badly. Now, when we look at starving children in third world countries…we say…how could God ‘let’ that happen? But, again, the entire world is working together in a synergistic kind of way…a domino effect. God is not going to swoop down and save this one or that one…but let others suffer. He allows the natural course of life to happen…and again, He didn’t create poverty, illness, and other sufferings.

Here again, are we not told to feed the hungry, cloth the naked… etc. Like none of this will happen here, ha. They are there for another to help and thereby workout their salvation. Mother Theresa is a good example here. Each of us is called to help the less fortunate… in whatever they are suffering.
Even the one suffering can help another in the same boat due to the trust factor, the sharing factor, the been there (am there) factor. We do not always know who God puts in our vicinity to help us, or for us to help… no matter how good we feel, or how bad we feel. I look at it this way: Christ helped many in his time before the Passion. And during His Passion, did he not even while hanging on the cross, near death, tell the thieves next to Him that “this day you shall be with me in paradise”.
So where does our helping others stop? At what point of our suffering does it stop? Is not everyone working out their salvation?
I am a taker… of what the the Good Lord gives. I am a giver… of what the Good Lord has given. It has to flow out in order to flow in. And God does work through people (you and me), and many other things. Suffering comes to mind here.


#16

:thumbsup:


#17

There is definitely a synergy to suffering…we are all in this together, yet we all benefit in some way, from suffering, but learn to help others through dealing with it. It’s a grand day when one can see all of that, and rejoice in the midst of suffering.


#18

Dear Lily - I’ am going to stick to the example you gave and try to dicuss my point of view regarding the topic. Perhaps it will help.

In your post you stated: "I’m not talking, neither do I think anyone is taking, about merely FEELING sorry.

I’m talking about manfully accepting whatever negative consequences your sins have, and the suffering those consequences cause you, rather than wriggling out of them.

Eg if you obtained money by stealing, the suffering you receive from 'fessing up to the person you stole from and giving it back rather than keeping silent or returning it anonymously or what have you.

Do you not think that these sort of sufferings can have redemptive value and be ‘offered up’?"

In this example a man is deciding to uncloak his theft and the embarassment it causes and the emotions associated with this experience if “offered up” will have redemptive value. But if this same man labels himself a thief in his community and loses his job as no one wants to employ a thief, he increases his sufferings, not to mention increases the likelyhood he will steal again as he isn’t able to support himself if he losses his job.

You would say this has redemptive value and perhaps it does, but suppose the man also has a family to support, a wife and say three small children. He will bring down ruin upon his house and cause greater suffering for innocents who got caught in his ruse. He has multiplied his sins for he will then be failing his family, his wife who he vowed before God to take care of, etc… and the children whose lives haven’t even started will enter life labeled as children of a thief! So, where now is the redemptive value in his sufferings when he has chosen to increase the sufferings of the innocents in the matter? No man is an island.

The trick to accepting suffering in life is to simply shoulder what burdens the good Lord gives. Many Saints have prayed to increase their sufferings and have been blessed. But the example given isn’t exactly what I have in mind. I understand the surface value of it as an act of humilty, but if it were a true example rather than hypothetical, and the man went to Confession, the most efficacious thing he could do would be to do exactly as the priest instructs him in the Confessional, no more, no less. PERIOD. The act of going to Confession and accepting the penace given suffices. In it one is humbled before God and God dispenses His Mercy, pours out His Precious Blood upon the soul, and remembers his sins no more! ACCEPTING this is the Act of Humility that God asks of the soul who comes to Him in the Sacrament.

But suppose your man does exactly what the priest says and still feels like doing more…then he should return to the Confessional and open his heart and mind to the priest and ASK is there something else he can do? At this point, God being present in the Sacrament may or may not give the man something more to do, i.e. being more generous in his giving or perhaps he is asked for a tithe or some other such practice. The advantage to taking his feelings back to the priest in the Confessional is then he can be sure that *whatever he does will be from God and can thusly be certain that it does have redemptive value. *
Peace,

Gail


#19

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