Offer it up! A Guide to Redemptive Suffering

Offer it up! A Guide to Redemptive Suffering. God has not smoothed the path for you through a miraculous healing or other intervention, but your trials can still serve a purpose.

Getting out of the door in the morning takes 27 times as long as it did before motherhood. Back then I could just get ready, grab my tiny purse, and hop in the car. Nowadays, with my two-year-old “helper”, each step is prolonged ad infinitum.

 

He has to “help” me put on my shoes. “Help” me pack the enormous, ever-growing diaper bag. “Help” me lock the front door.

 

I’m more capable than him. It would be so much faster if I did everything without his questionable help. But I won’t. Today, and tomorrow, and every day of my life, I will let him offer me whatever help he can. Because it isn’t about the product of his efforts; it’s the love. The love I bear for him, and the love he shows towards me.

What Is Redemptive Suffering?

Saint John Paul II dedicated his apostolic exhortation during the Jubilee Year of Redemption to this topic. He explained, as Christ shares His redemption with us, he also allows us to share in suffering. So that we may become like him, bearing all things. No suffering is in vain, when united to the cross.

 

Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished… In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ. (Salvifici Doloris)

How Do You Offer It Up?

  • Pray a Morning Offering, dedicating both your joys and suffering to God each day.
  • Say a quick prayer to God at each instance of a particular trouble.
  • Touch your crucifix or scapular, and pray “Jesus, I trust in you” when you are hurting.
  • Take the 14 Day Heroic Minute Challenge.

 

Why Would You Offer It Up?

Other than it being neccesary?

Because it will free you from envy:

You aren’t receiving this trial for nothing. God has not smoothed the path for you through a miraculous healing or other intervention, but your trials can still serve a purpose. It’s hard to see people living such “easy” lives (although outwardly appearances are deceiving). It’s hard to see people receive something (or someone) you have prayed for.

Infertility sucks. You have two choices though. Nurse your bitterness and become envious, or unite your pain to the cross. The only tragedy is to not use your pain for sanctification.

Offer it up! A Guide to Redemptive Suffering. God has not smoothed the path for you through a miraculous healing or other intervention, but your trials can still serve a purpose.

Because it will free you from despair:

Knowing that your suffering can have a purpose (even if we can’t clearly discern that purpose from this side of Heaven) is such a relief. Suffering will still hurt. But over time, you grow accustomed to offering it up. Though it may take a lifetime to get there, aim to become like St. Paul, who rejoiced in suffering.

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)

 

Like the post? Then you might enjoy my review of Holiness for Housewives. It is a Benedictine monk’s guide to vocation, prayer, and redemptive suffering in the daily grind.

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7 comments

  1. Beautifully said. One of many reasons I love my Catholic faith is redemptive suffering. I get to unite my suffering with my Lord. That is powerful. I was able to see this in another person as my Aunt was hospitalized for almost 8 weeks until she passed away. Her faith and love were beautiful to watch. Many were touched by it. She was united in her suffering to Jesus and the only word I can use to describe it is beautiful.

    1. What an incredible witness to love of God! Your aunt sounds like a strong woman.

      Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.

    1. Right? I didn’t even know what it meant to “offer it up” until a few years ago. It’s one of those phrases you hear so often, you’re afraid to ask. At least I was.

      Now I see the fullness of redemptive suffering, it is indeed beautiful.

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