The role of suffering in our Church

Hey guys!

I have a question. Why do we as Catholics put so much emphasis on suffering? I understand Saint Paul said that he rejoices in his suffering for the sake of the Church, and that Christ said that we must take up our cross, but do some take it too far? For example,
I have heard that one Saint rolled around in thorns. Sister Magdalena of the cross tried to crucify her self! Now I know she was influenced by the demonic but still, she was doing it for the Church in a way. Even padre Pio said that we should love suffering MORE than Jesus. I feel like this whole idea is kind of arrogant, thinking we can save souls by our suffering or it can lead us to think we are equals to Christ.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding something here, can someone clear this up for me?

Thanks again,

Potato1237 :slight_smile:

Have you read about redemptive suffering? It’s about salvation and our contrasting views on it.

For the protestant, salvation is a prayer and nothing else is required. Die and beam me up to heaven instantaneously…

For the Catholic, salvation is a process. And the goal is to become as holy as you can in this life so you avoid much, or any, purgation in the next. Jesus taught PERFECTION and suffering as he tells us to bear our own crossses daily. We either bear our crosses or we get crushed by it’s weight. And our crosses help us to become holier, so that’s a blessing.

Your actions such as fasting or suffering can become living prayers as long as it’s done with humility and proper understanding.

Stark contrast to the false health and wealth gospel preached by many non catholics. And so much more theologically sound.

People only take things too far if they believe God owes them as a result of whatever they are enduring.

I didn’t know Padre Pio said that, love to see it in it’s context

This must be based on the fact that all baptized Christians are members of Christ’s Body. Not members as in a group or club, but mystical, spiritual parts of Christ’s Body. From this perspective, we can begin to understand. It is not about grasping at something or achieving greatness on our own - rather, it is about a profound union with the suffering of Christ - suffering which redeemed us. It is not that our efforts accomplish anything, but that if we desire the eternal peace of Christ, so also we desire to suffer as He did. We should lean our heads against His breast, as John did at the Last Supper. All of us, being members of His Body, should desire this! Do we?

Those who mortified their flesh are examples of mastering their physical bodies for the sake of their souls. Remember that Saint Paul wrote that the flesh wars against the spirit. Thus, the flesh must be subdued from time to time. Saint Jerome, known to have a foul temper, carried a rock with him and would strike his breast with it to mortify his flesh.

Suffering makes us holy by drawing us closer to God and depending upon Him more. It also makes us holy by increasing our sympathy for other people’s suffering, leading to us becoming more charitable. Suffering also shortens our time in purgatory because it makes reparation for our sins for which we will ultimately be judged.

Jesus took our suffering and illnesses and sins to the cross. We need not do self mortification. Life circumstances bring us crosses to bear. These we lift up and thank God for the privilege of carrying His cross in our life. Eventually the pain we endured is healed or the drama resolved to Resurrection glory. Fasting is important. I am a.sinner here. I am praying for the grace to fast. We must put Trump in. His Supreme Court judges have been approved by conservatives. This one issue covers 30 yrs of judgements on our country. He plans to stop partial birth abortions and reverse Roe vs Wade. Hopefully,
We will keep a Republican congress who will work w him. He has good generals around him. He has police and border guard backings. Pence and Dr. CARSON ARE PRAYING W HIM. He is a changing man. Believe in God working in him.
Or our crosses will increase w Christian persecution under Hillary as it was under Obama.
in Christ’s love

I guess that makes sense, but if I’m not mistaken, Protestants believe that accepting Jesus makes us completely pure right? All we have to do is accept him and that makes us clean. You are right, we are very different from the heath and weath gospel. I believe padre pio said something like “it is a great thing to love Jesus but be prepared to love suffering more.” I may be paraphrasing there. Thanks for the clarification!

Thank you. This helps me understand. :slight_smile:

Thanks. Trump 2016!

Yes, we differ on justification. It’s a process for the Catholic.

Luther claimed we are dung covered in snow.

Problem is, dung is still dung and nothing unclean enters heaven (Revelation 21:27) and Jesus taught perfection here and now. (Matt 5:48) and he said suffering would be involved (Matt 16:24). To the point were you must give it ALL up for him.

Even if I never converted to the faith and had remained protestant, from my own personal life experience I always felt the Catholic position on suffering was theologically sound. I’ve seen first hand how God uses suffering to save and purify souls. Because Jesus suffered, it gave it dignity in a sense and makes this paradox easier to understand for our finite minds.

And BTW, many protestants think God uses suffering for our benefit as well. They just don’t see salvation through the same prism that we do.

Whatever we do in life we should do it for the Lord…offer it up!!!:slight_smile:

The healthy Christian outlook does not emphasize suffering. It accepts suffering as an unavoidable part of life, which it is.

As part of a completely human life, suffering is not merely grudgingly accepted but embraced as it comes to us. We don’t go looking for suffering and creating crosses for ourselves and others, suffering will find us.

It is just simply part of being human.

Catholics should not seek out suffering but rather accept it if it comes their way. The Church certainly does not teach that we should go out to find suffering for ourselves.

Did Jesus say that his burden is light? And also that he came so we can live life to the fullest? How would this play into suffering?

When Jesus said His yoke was light, He was comparing Himself to another “christ”, that is, Solomon. Specifically, he was referencing 1 Kings 12:4. The Israelites went to Solomon’s son, Rehobo′am, to ask for him to lighten taxes and other demands. Solomon had taxed heavily to fund his building projects, such as the Temple and the palace. They said, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke upon us, and we will serve you.” Rehobo’am replied in 1 Kings 12:13-15 13 And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel which the old men had given him, 14 he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not hearken to the people. Israel went from one, united kingdom to two because of Rehobo’am’s disregard.

Jesus did not come to add to our suffering. His burden is lighter than Solomon’s and Rehobo’am’s. Still, there is suffering in the world, and he bore it with us. Suffering is part of any life filled. Jesus demonstrated how we should carry it and unite it to His.

Jesus is saying He will give us comfort (John 14:26) and the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7 ) while dealing with life’s trials and tribulations, which only get worse when you try to walk the straight and narrow path…

There are countless examples of this in scripture and Church history. One that your protestant friends can acknowledge with SS mentality is Stephen, who was martyred for the Lord :

Acts 7:54-59

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Look how comforted Stephen was in his moment of suffering.

Another example they can look to is Paul. who said he gladly BOASTS in his afflictions

2 Corinthians 12:5-10New International Version (NIV)

5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In addition to his “thorn in the flesh”, Paul was also imprisoned for the Lord

And Jesus chastises those who he loves:

Heb 12:6
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son

Rev 3:19

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

And on and on and on we go with sufferings in the Church. Faithful or not, we all suffer.

11 of the 12 apostles martyred for the faith…many Popes martyred for the faith.

Those who teach a Gospel w/o suffering are only fooling themselves.

Read the beatitudes how it talks about the importance of humility in your walk with Christ. But how does one become humble ?Through HUMILIATIONS or suffering.

Lenten_ashes thanks for the answer. However, isn’t revelation 3:19 saying that as many people that Jesus loves, he also rebukes and chastened many others? Thanks again!

Thanks for the clarification. Very helpful.

Let’s read it in it’s context. Jesus is talking to the universal CHURCH in a particular location in the book of REV:

To the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. **15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. **17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Yes all are invited, but He is clearly talking to Christians who are lukewarm. You could insert cultural Catholics or Joel Osteen protestants in this category. And BTW, once saved always saved gets blown out of the water with this chapter. He spits the lukewarm out of his mouth!:eek:

And back to suffering as a Christian. Happens to all of us. Here is another example of a worldly Christian enduring suffering:

1 Corinthians 5New International Version (NIV)

Dealing With a Case of Incest
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a]** so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.**

Welp, good golly, we have a case of a Christian committing the horrible sin of incest and Paul says a lot of suffering is coming his way so that his soul may be SAVED. Sounds a lot like Catholic redemptive suffering to me.:wink:

Wow! Never knew that verse! Thanks for the answer.


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