Redemptive Suffering

I posted this article on my blog today. I hope you enjoy it!

catholicverve.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/redemptive-suffering/

Excellent post, once again. This is a topic that too few Catholics know about these days, and a frequent “stick” used by the sola fide crowd to beat us with.

Great links, too. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

Thank you very much! I really appreciate the kind words! :slight_smile:

Another well written article, and short, to boot. :slight_smile:

Yes, I think St. Paul’s words in Col 1:24 are lost on many Christians these days because culture, in general, has taught us to seek comfort NOW. Many people live in a world where suffering is deemed unnecessary or even bad. We forget too easily that suffering can lead to our own growth, help make us stronger, help align our priorities, and help those who also suffer. It is as though we have forgotten that there is more to life than our current life. We have eternity to look toward, and we seem to be failing (as society in general) at planning for that.

Please explain how can the suffering of toddlers and small children be redemptive?

Best wishes, and thank you.

Thank you very much, ahs! I agree with your opinion that we often don’t plan the way we should for eternity.

John, I would say that Jesus accepts all our sacrifices, regardless of our age. Maria Goretti was a young girl when she was fatally stabbed, and as she was dying, she voiced her wishes that her attacker go to heaven one day. He was converted and attended her canonization.

Sorry, the phrase “young girl” was not informative. She was 11 years old, when she was stabbed - way over the age of reason.

I was talking about toddlers 1 or 2 years olds and small children , who suffer from various causes. They are not able to understand what happens to them, they just suffer. How is their suffering “redemptive”? In my opinion only sufferer can declare her suffering redemptive. No one else is the position make such a proclamation for her.

Thanks and best wishes.

Why must anyone be able to understand suffering in order for it to be redemptive?
And does ALL suffering need to be redemptive?
And is suffering only redemptive when a person of age declares that it is so?

I would say that a person can only offer up their own suffering as redemptive suffering if they recognize it as such. But I don’t think a person need to recognize his/her suffering as redemptive in order for it to be so.

I was talking about toddlers 1 or 2 years olds and small children , who suffer from various causes. They are not able to understand what happens to them, they just suffer. How is their suffering “redemptive”? In my opinion only sufferer can declare her suffering redemptive. No one else is the position make such a proclamation for her.

Short answer, we do not know why with 100% certainty.

Long answer, the common hidden assumption is that if we cannot see for ourselves any justifying reason, then either there cannot be any such reason, or it is not reasonable to believe that there is such a reason. God always has a good purpose in allowing suffering, even when that purpose is inscrutable to us. That is why I place all my trust in God and his plan for my life, my family’s lives and innocent children and babies.

St. Augustine said that God “would not allow any evil in his works, unless in his omnipotence and goodness, as the Supreme Good, he is able to bring forth good out of evil”.

Suffering can make us more humane and more sympathetic to others. In the process we discover our own capacity for love. A silver lining in a dark cloud, if ever there was one.

Bottom line, God allows suffering (even in children and babies) for a good and loving reason. Just because we cannot see for ourselves the reason, comprehend why it happens or the good that comes from it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have redemptive value.

I would say so.

In that case: “what makes a suffering redemptive”? It is my understanding that the sufferer must offer up the suffering in order to be redemptive. Isn’t that correct? One thing is certain. A toddler cannot even comprehend the idea of redemption. Cannot “offer up” her suffering.

Best wishes.

Sure…but God does work in mysterious ways. Are you absolutely certain that God can and will not use the suffering of a toddler for the purposes of redemtive suffering?

What you describe here is called “blind faith”.

This kind of argument would be much more persuasive, if there would be some rational reasoning to support it.

Best wishes.

Thanks for the post. I bookmarked your blog and will check it out.

My dad had ALS and was Lutheran. I’ve seen redemptive suffering. My grandmother (maternal) was Baptist and had cancer, and she never saw suffering as negative (she was not worried, as she honestly believed, and I would not doubt her, that she was going to heaven). Dad wanted to be Catholic, and Grandma believed in the perpetual virginity and the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary (her mother was a Sunday school teacher, if that’s not curious I don’t know what is). It is through them, that I learned that suffering happens for a reason. Dad had ALS, but other than physical disability, it didn’t seem that detrimental to him. This are just some examples from my own family. The martyrs, they suffer in a redemptive way, too. I don’t understand why so many non-Catholics take issue with it.

I read your article. It was very nicely written, in an easy-to-understand way. :slight_smile:

I am a non-Catholic who attends weekly Mass with my Catholic wife. Over the years I have probably been exposed to most of the Catholic teachings and beliefs. Of all the Catholic “stuff” I have learned about, the concept of redemptive suffering is one that I find really, really bizarre.

Just one guy’s viewpoint. :cool:

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