Sufferings have no redeeming value


This post was taken from another thread where it was off topic.


“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church…” Col 1:24

Paul obviously thinks that SOMETHING is lacking - and it seems to be something that he (and us) can add to (filling up) Christ’s sacrifice.

I like the analogy of the cookies: Mom can make the cookies all by herself - she needs no help - she is completely and fully capable. But when her child comes into the kitchen and says “I can help”, and begins to stir the batter and grease the cookie sheet, the child actually DOES help the mother.



Thank you for that analogy! That clarifies things immensely for me!


These sufferings have no redeeming value in the sense that they add to what Christ has already won for us.

I think I agree that our patiently-borne sufferings have no redeeming value, since Jesus Christ is our only Redeemer, but they do have a purgative value, helping us to grow in holiness in this life, and a meritorious value, since they will be rewarded in heaven, if not also rewarded in this life.


It is purgative and metitorious, but also it really is redemptive because it is participation in the redemptive suffering of Christ. I can’t explain any better than Pope John Paul II so here is his letter on redemptive suffering:

Also, from the CCC:

Our participation in Christ’s sacrifice
618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”.452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,454 for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps."455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458

452 1 Tim 2:5.
453 GS 22 § 5; cf. § 2.
454 Mt 16:24.
455 1 Pet 2:21.
456 Cf Mk 10:39; Jn 21:18-19; Col 1:24.
457 Cf. Lk 2:35.
458 St. Rose of Lima, cf. P. Hansen,* Vita mirabilis* (Louvain, 1668).


And that opinion is one of the reasons that I am a Catholic because when life is full of suffering then it makes it meaningless to God.

N-Cs have no way to make their sufferings of any value at all, and not only is that not what the Word of God teaches, it makes human life all but meaningless IMV.


You know I heard it said recently that the devil wants us to have money and success and for everything to go great in our life.

Because when everything is good you don’t need anyone. You become isolated. A perfect target.

When we suffer we turn to family we turn to friends and we turn to God.

Good things come from suffering just look at a crucifix.


Since I cannot come up the best way of explaining this on my own I will let another say it for me.

Christ merited for us all the grace we need to attain our supernatural end and to develop in us the supernatural life: “Who has blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) He merited for us the grace of conversion, the grace of steadfastness in good, the helps to resist temptation, the aids to profit by trial, the grace of comfort in the midst of tribulations, the grace of renewal of spirit and of final perserverance. He merited all things for us. We have the solemn word that anything we ask the Father in His name, that is, through His own merits, will be granted to us. (John 16:23) Then in order to inspire us with greater confidence, He instituted the sacraments, visible signs, which confer His grace in all the important events of life and which give us a right to actual graces in time of need.

He has gone further still. In His desire to associate us with Himself in the work of of our own sanctification, He has given us the power of satisfying and meriting, thus making us the secondary causes, the agents of our own sanctification. He has, as a matter of fact, made this co-operation a law and an essential condition of our spiritual life. If He carried His cross, it is that we may follow Him bearing ours: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) It was thus understood by the apostles. If we would share in His glory, says St. Paul, we must share in His sufferings: “Yet so, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with him.” (Romans 8:17) St. Peter adds that if Christ suffered for us it is that we may follow in His footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21) Moreover, self sacrificing souls are urged, after the manner of the apostle of the Gentiles, to undergo suffering joyfully in union with Christ for the sake of the Church, His mystical body: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.” (Collosians 1:24) In this way these souls share in the redeeming power of Christ’s passion and become secondary agents of the salvation of their brethren. How true, how sublime, how consoling is this doctrine! Compare it with the incredible affirmation of certain Protestants who assert, that since Christ suffered to the full for us, there remains for us only to enjoy the fruits of His plentiful redemption without drinking of His chalice. They thus pretend to pay homage to the fullness of Christ’s merits. Does not our Christ-given power to merit show forth better the fullness of the redemption by Christ? Does it not do more honor to Christ to manifest the power of His satisfaction by enabling us to join in His work of atonement and co-operate with Him even though in a secondary manner?" - “The Spiritual Life” A. Tanquerey #'s 134 & 135


Our suffering does have a salvific benefit through Christ…
2 Corinthians 1:5-6
For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

One who glories by enduring suffering strengthens the whole Body of Christ…
1 Cor 12:26
If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

Eph 3:13
So I ask you not to lose heart over my afflictions for you; this is your glory. The D-R Bible translates this: Wherefore I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.


From the Catechism:

CCC 1521 “Union with the passion of Christ. By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ’s Passion; in a certain way his is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior’s redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.”

From Scripture:

“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

“…For He is using your sufferings to make you ready for His kingdom.” 2 Thess. 1:5

“We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe.” 1 Tim. 4:10

(Just to name a few.)


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