The Catholic Defender: Suffering, Offering it up, Redemptive suffering is an act of love
In Jesus' announcements of suffering the Christian understanding of suffering is clearly expressed:
suffering is not the final aim and end in itself in the realization of human destiny; it is the gateway to resurrection, to rebirth, to new creation.
The Catholic Church sees human suffering as a chance to follow the example of Christ and believe that it is a part of God's plan.
Through redemptive suffering Jesus aims to reconcile suffering and pain with the belief in a loving God. Those who suffer here on Earth are united in that suffering with Christ, who died on the cross.
Suffering can make us more resilient, better able to endure hardships. Just as a muscle, in order to build up, must endure some pain, so our emotions must endure pain in order to strengthen.
Whatever we endure we can offer on behalf of others, just as Jesus offered the pain of the cross — and all the other sorrows we remember the seven Sorrows of Mary.
Whatever we suffer, we can “offer it up.”
“What does it mean to offer something up?” Pope Benedict asked that question and proposed an answer.
He said it means we can “insert” our annoyances, great and small, into Jesus’ great suffering, “so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race.” He said: “In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life … acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love.”
In Colossians 1:24, Paul says, “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”
This hits home for me literally as my Mother would be told she had two days to live. She developed a massive blood clot that lodged in her right lower leg causing it to turn blue.
Without circulation, her leg did not make it. When I arrived at the hospital, the Doctors did not believe she would survive the knife. They gave her two days to live.
My Brother and I took Mom home to die as she didn't want to die in the hospital, but at home with her family around her.
As soon as we got her in her bed, I elevated her leg giving some comfort, I placed a rosary above the site where it was dead, and bathed the area with holy water and prayer.
Mom's medication such as Morphine helped at times, but what helped her most was praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with me.
She felt at peace with herself and she was able to rest. This went on for about 10 days when I had to get an extension on my leave as Mom was living longer that what the Doctors projected.
I was sitting next to her bed when Mom asked me,
"Do you believe that the Lord will receive me when I pass".
I told Mom, "Mom, you know He will receive you! You can trust in His word and stand on what He says".
That's when I began to sing to her a song we sing at Mass, "Be Not Afraid"! Gigi, my wife, was standing on the other side of the bed when she saw Mom's rosary on her desk so she gave it to Mom to hold.
As we were singing the song together, Mom was holding her rosary. It was at this point I noticed the rosary change from silver to gold in her hands. What a sign this was for us and I will write here that the Lord gave my Mom another 18 Months.
Mom was finally taken by the Lord on 1 August 2006. I will never forget how the Divine Mercy Chaplet made such an impact for my Mom.