November 20, 2014

Participating in Suffering

I'm just going to preface this with saying, I don't know much, I don't have the deepest spiritual life (not even close), and I know there are many many more people whose suffering is much greater than mine. Just thinking about that makes me not want to write about the issue at all, who am I to write about suffering when I have things generally so good. At the same time, this blog is where I put stuff out there that I've been thinking about, so here goes nothing. Just know that I in know way mean to say that I think my suffering is equal to or greater than anyone else's, that I've figured out the meaning of anything, or that I understand anything really, haha.

That being said, I've been thinking a lot about suffering, trying to figure out some, if any, meaning behind it. What am I supposed to be learning, and if I do learn something, what am I supposed to do with that? *Spoiler alert*, I still have no idea. But I've started to get the feeling that its one of those things God is trying to tell me over and over again, but I just don't understand, not yet.

So the Hubs and I have started the Consecration to Jesus through Mary using 33 Days to Morning Glory. Its beautiful, it does challenge me to grow spiritual life, but that's a good thing. Anyways, the book spends a week on a holy person's devotion to Mary, and we just got to Mother Teresa. I had always heard that she had gone through a very long "dark night." Yesterday we read that she had realized that the dark night was a participation in Jesus's thirst for souls. Wow.

I've also mentioned that I get emails from Divine Mercy Daily with excerpts from Saint Faustina's diary. She suffered quite a bit, and Jesus taught her much about suffering. The emails have focused on this for some time, but there was something about today's:

"My daughter, know that if I allow you to feel and have a more profound knowledge of My sufferings, that is a grace from Me. But when your mind is dimmed and your sufferings are great, it is then that you take an active part in My Passion, and I am conforming you more fully to Myself. It is your task to submit yourself to My will at such times, more than at others ... (Diary, 1697)."

Now there is a lot to be taken away from that.  So much more than I can even think of right now.  However, one thing hit me in particular, that by suffering we're taking an active part in Christ's passion, and He is conforming us to Him. It made me think.  In my suffering I am longing for one child, one small soul, to enter our family.  Ok, maybe its more, maybe I hope for several children, but still.  That longing for just one, or maybe a few children causes so much pain.  And the inability to have them creates so much sorrow.  

God is also longing for people, the souls that haven't found Him, or have turned away from Him.  And these aren't hypothetical souls, these are souls He knit in their mother's womb, who He knows the number of every hair on their heads.  And its not just one, or a few, it could be millions, billions even.  And these are people He died for.  Can you imagine?  That pain caused by one hypothetical person missing, the longing for one small child, multiplied by millions, billions even?  I can't even begin to think of it.

So what am I supposed to do with that?  How do I become more like Christ?  How do I more actively unite my suffering with His?  And how do I bring good about with it?  Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have no idea.  But at least this is a start, something to think about, something to give some meaning to all the suffering?


  1. That feeling you described at the beginning is something I can really relate to, especially because it is what kept me from writing for SO long. I just kept thinking about all the people who have it worse or suffer more and I kept invalidating my own sufferings. The neat thing though is that God specifically reminds us how much the comparison is not of Him.

    Writing is a tremendous way to process this journey and I'm glad you are sharing with us. And yeah - that passage about suffering and joining Christ in His Passion - that's heavy stuff!!

    I think it's a lot easier to endure suffering when I imagine it as a uniting force. And Mother Teresa's "dark night" really speaks to me as well. She became more accessible to me when I learned about that part of her faith walk.

    Thank you for this post! :)

    1. Believe me, I want to stick that disclaimer on everything, and it always makes me think twice about what I might post. That is a great way to think of it, that comparison is not of God.

      It definitely is heavy, and I'm totally still processing it. There were some other things I thought of today that I wish I would've waited to put in, but if they stick around in my brain, I'm sure they'll find a place in another post. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wow! That quote from St. Faustina!! What an inspiring approach to suffering!

    1. Definitely! The more I learn about her the more I am hubled and inspired at the same time!

  3. Something I get caught up on is trying to discern if I am just making something a suffering, when it's really not. I did an ENDOW study on "The Meaning of Christian Suffering" and it talked about how sufferings made of our own construction are not actual sufferings.
    So complex. So mysterious. That's suffering.

    1. That sounds like an interesting study! I hadn't even thought of that before... and there are probably some sufferings I make up in my own head. That's something I'll have to think about now. Thanks for sharing!