Suffering and how do explain it



Ave Maria!

Ok all I need some help. I have a college friend who does not know what do with suffering. She has turned into a life where relativism and athisim meet. To her right now “Christianity is a joke”. I need some help on how to explain to how suffereing can be beificial and any books will help.



Christianity is the only religion that adequately deals with suffering. It explains the real reason for suffering–sin rampant in the world and the human proclivity for choosing evil, which no one who watches the nightly news can deny. Furthermore it is founded upon the Person of Jesus Christ, God who became man for the purpose of taking all the sin and suffering of the world upon Himself, to the point of dying once and for all for all sinners and for all the victims of sinners. The only God worth believing in is one who would not ignore the suffering of His children but willingly take upon Himself, in His innocence, the results of that suffering. For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that we might have eternal life.


Transforming Suffering edited by Donald Mitchell and James Wiseman O.S.B

This is an great book! You can buy it used for less than $3.00. Don’t delay. Buy one for you and your friend.


There are so many wonderful and rich bible verses about suffering. The Church’s teaching about redemptive suffering is beautiful – do a thread search and you’ll find a lot of wonderful information already on these forums.

The basic idea is that we are to follow Christ in all things. He told us “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.” (Matt. 10:38) Sounds like a harsh Master, though, huh? But He’s not! He is a loving Savior who allows us to participate in the redemption of mankind by offering and uniting our sufferings with His.

Because of original sin and man’s free will, we will always have suffering in our lives. But our Loving God uses even the bad things of this world for good if we let Him, and in doing so we become transformed.

It is like gold that must be placed in the refiner’s fire in order to burn off all the impurities; it doesn’t become truly beautiful until after it is tested in the fire. Suffering helps us burn off all our impurities, all our pride, selfishness, etc. Each time we enter the fire, we emerge more pure, more like Jesus, because of His grace.

“Since we are His children, we will share His treasures – for all God gives to His Son Jesus is now ours, too. But if we are to share in His Glory, we must also share in His suffering.” (Rom. 8:17-18)

“For to you has been given the privilege not only of trusting Him but also of suffering for Him.” (Phil. 1:29)

“Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. Instead, be really glad – because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His sufferings, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing in His glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, 19)

Nobody escapes this life without some suffering. So why not learn to make it valuable? Archbishop Fulton Sheen said “There is so much wasted suffering in this world.” Mother Teresa said “Our Lord must love you much to give you so great a part in His suffering.”

There is a really great book by a man named John Downs who became quadriplegic at age 15 and went on to live 40 more years in this state. He has a larger biography called “Why” and a shorter pamphlet called “Suffering: A Key to the Meaning of Life.” Mother Teresa urged him to get his message out. They are available at:

God bless you and your friend!


Why Must I Suffer?
By: Fr. F.J. Remler Why Must I Suffer?. Here Fr. Remler gives 15 classic Catholic reasons why God allows suffering - which is one of the great realities of life. He deals with Original Sin, our own personal sins, and the real danger of eternal perdition, but he also clearly lays out the Catholic “secrets” the God has given us for turning evil to good. This book puts us back in touch with the perspective of eternity, providing both a reality check about sins and a renewal of Catholic hope in the mercy and grace of God.


Suffering is a mystery.

Anyone who tries to explain suffering is going to end
up sounding like Job’s friends. Job 42:7

A Christian can unite h/her suffering with that of Christ
in a redemptive way.

A non-Christian, who believes in God, can read the
book of Job, and come to that place where Job
"understood." and following,

and, especially:

Best regards,


[quote=Mperea75]I need some help on how to explain to how suffereing can be beificial and any books will help.

try JPII’s Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris


Peter Kreeft’s Making Sense out of Suffering is my favorite.


I read this a while ago and kept it:

1 PETER 5:7-10
7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.
8 Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy,
goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.
9 Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith.
You know that your Christian family all over the world is
having the same kinds of suffering.
10 And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all
grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and
support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share
in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.

Space does not permit much comment on these verses, but notice that suffering is caused by your enemy, the devil, and its
purpose is to attack your faith.

Also notice that God only allows you to suffer a short time.

“But,” you say, “it’s already been a long time.”

Not really. It seems like a long time when you are going
through trials, but afterward seems like a short time. Even a
few years is nothing when you look back on it. Ask God to help
you see things from Heaven’s perspective.

“But why does God allow me to suffer at all?”

Because people make wrong choices. Conflict causes suffering. But God believes in you! Why should He yank you out of the arena? God believes that with His grace and help, you will overcome and experience victory.

The end result is what really counts. God will make everything
turn out alright. (Read verse 10 again.)

Maybe you feel like your faith is barely hanging by a thread.
Just hang on. With God holding the thread – and He is – your
faith will survive. You will make it! God will help you.


For some people, when things go right they take all the credit. When things go wrong, it is God’s fault.

Some people get the idea in their heads that God is little more than a really big Snata Claus, and when suffering arrives they believe Santa failed them. They turn their backs on Santa like they did when they were kids.


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