Sanctified Suffering

Posted by on Oct 15, 2011 in Faith | 3 comments

Each of us has, each day, ample opportunities to ‘offer it up.’ That age old saying that our parents and grandparents echoed over and over throughout our childhood is probably some of the best advice you’ll ever get in life. God gives us enough opportunity for sanctification in this life that there is no need to suffer in any fire (eternal or temporary.) When something bad happens to us, what do we do? We get on our knees and pray, “God! Please take this away!” Not a bad prayer as no discussion with God is, but there may be a better way. First and foremost, thank God. I recently stubbed my toe. It hurt. It really really hurt. (Now I’m complaining. Did you see how quick that was?) Anyway, not only did it hurt but it hurt for several days. I may have smashed the nail but since it was a painted nail, I couldn’t tell and it hurt too much to touch to take the paint off to see what I had done. I couldn’t wear shoes for a few days because socks cut off the circulation causing it to throb and then, because I wasn’t wearing protective shoes, I bumped into everything or someone stepped on it at least a few times a day. My first thought was to pray my mom’s prayer, “My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of your Sacred wounds. Eternal Father I offer thee the wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ to heal the wounds of our souls.” I said it, through clenched teeth, because that was what I was trained to do. As time went on and my toe continued to hurt, I realized I needed to stop complaining about it, and by complaining, I mean whining about it. Someone (a child, usually) was going to step on it, bump it or drop a sippy cup on it and each time, though I wanted to yell out loud (and sometimes I did) I tried to grit my teeth and pray again. “My Jesus pardon and mercy…” Somewhere in the moment of my hurt-ed toe I wondered why God would allow this. (I love pondering why God does anything. More on that later.) I wondered what sin I had committed to deserve this. Well, that would be a long list so I thanked God. That’s right. I said, “Thanks for my stubbed toe, God.” God gave me the grace to realize that these little irritations throughout the day (this one being physical, often they are emotional) are allowed by God to bring sanctification. By smiling, offering it up and not kicking the sippy cup across the room, I was able to offer my little toe pain to God. ┬áMy toe healed, as God heals our sin when we are repentant and do our penance. It’s hard to say in the throws of difficulty, adversity, pain, suffering, anguish, regret and all other not-so-fun times in our lives, “Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to offer it up.” Even if we only say it sometimes, God’s grace will be showered on us!! God will bless us! (Remember, blessed does not equal happy – more on THAT later.)

 

Sometimes it rains and rains opportunities. I used to think that I have it pretty good! Life is good and I had nothing to complain about. While that was true, I wasn’t living in the moment. How many stubbed toes, or broken nails, or annoying co-workers did I NOT offer up? What a waste.

 

My point? It is so important that we practice these sacrifices during the little times (stubbed toes anyone?) so that we are in practice when the big stuff hits. Recently, some serious things have happened in my life that some would consider major life events and while I haven’t had the fortitude to thank God in every moment, I’m glad I’ve been able to sometimes, and I know that each and every effort pleases Him.

3 Comments

  1. I’m really having a difficult time as to why you’d be happy when bad things happen. What if your toe never got hurt? Or something or someone else was healed? Only good things come from God??

    • Hi Jonathan,
      Thank you for your post. I am not saying we must be happy that bad things happen, but that we must always praise God in all situations. When bad things happen, we don’t know the reason behind them. I heard a woman speak years ago. She talked about losing her son in a tragic accident. After many weeks of grief and praying, “Why God, why?” she received an answer. God let her understand that her prayers had been answered. She prayed for her son’s salvation throughout his entire life. God took him in that accident in His mercy because that was the best time in his life to take him so that he could be with God in heaven. In the face of such sad tragedy, God’s will was really in the best interest of her and her son. What a gift!
      If I had not have stubbed my toe, maybe I would have tripped and fallen down the stairs. Maybe my yelping stopped a child from reaching for the scissors that were left out. Who knows if there was even a humanly explainable reason for this pain, but I know that by offering to God and uniting your pain with His, you are showing your love for God.
      In your spare time, take a moment to read the book of Job in the Old Testament. It’s a great example of suffering and praising God, after which, Job was vastly rewarded.
      One final thought is that little sufferings (and big ones) are a self imposed penance for our sins. Each time we are unkind or selfish, we are separating ourselves from God. Offering sacrifices as a token of apology to God for those wrongs is a great way to atone.

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