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Reflections: Catholic Life Section (Suffering)

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"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." (Rom. 8:16-17)

"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us." (Rom. 8:18)

"But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body... If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy." (1 Cor. 12:20, 26)

"For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him." (Phil. 1:29)

"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)

"Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise." (Jms. 5:13)

"In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Pt. 1:6-7)

"For whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. But what credit is there if you are patient when beaten for doing wrong? But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." (1 Pt. 2:19-24)

"Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God." (1 Pt. 3:13-18)

"Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude (for whoever suffers in the flesh has broken with sin), so as not to spend what remains of one's life in the flesh on human desires, but on the will of God." (1 Pt. 4:1-2)

"Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer. But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God? 'And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?' As a result, those who suffer in accord with God's will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good." (1 Pt. 4:12-19)

"Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ (Jesus) will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little." (1Pt. 5:8-10)

"Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Rv. 2:10)

"There can be no love without suffering."

"Suffering is a short pain and a long joy." (Bl. Henry Suso)

"All suffering is slight to gain Heaven." (St. Joseph Calasanctius)

"To suffer and not to suffer for God is torment." (St. Gerard Majella)

"Your sufferings press hard. But look at your sins." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

" strength to suffer" (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"[S]uffering born patiently brings out all that is good in us." (Fr. O'Sullivan)

"We must love while we suffer, and we must suffer if we love." (St. John Vianney)

"The more we suffer, the more we are favored by God." (St. Jane Frances de Chantal)

"One should be patient, whatever one has to suffer" (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]here the greater shall be our joy, the more we have suffered here below." (Pope St. Gregory)

"O loving Jesus, increase my patience according as my sufferings increase." (St. Rita of Cascia)

"[It was the] love of a suffering God that saved the world" (Pope Pius XI, "Caritate Christi Compulsi", 1932)

"Suffering out of love for God is better than working miracles." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Nothing, how little soever, that is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God." (Kempis)

"Can we say that we are walking in His footsteps if we are not on the road to Calvary?" (Liturgical Year)

"If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured." (St. Colette)

"There is no fecundity on earth without sufferings and trials, known sometimes to men, sometimes to God alone." (Liturgical Year)

"Desire earnestly always to suffer for God in every thing and on every occasion." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"[F]aith alone can understand the mystery of suffering, having penetrated its secret in the Passion of our Lord" (Liturgical Year)

"Blessed be He, who came into the world for no other purpose than to suffer." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"Is there anything that a generous heart would not willingly suffer on contemplating Jesus crucified?" (St. Raphaela Mary)

"The purest suffering bears and carries in its train the purest understanding." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Learn to suffer a little for the love of God without telling everyone about it." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"It is not God's way that great blessings should descend without the sacrifice first of great sufferings." (Cardinal Newman)

"No man is fit to comprehend heavenly things who hat not resigned himself to suffer adversities for Christ." (Thomas a Kempis)

"Let us go to the foot of the Cross and there complain (of our sufferings) - if we have the courage." (St. Madeleine Sophie Barat)

"Five minutes' suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy." (Fr. O'Sullivan)

"If you wish to enjoy the glory and bliss of God, bear with patience the suffering and bitterness of the world." (Attr. to St. Lawrence)

"Offer suffering to God and it can become 'an instrument of salvation, a path to holiness, that helps us reach Heaven'" (Pope John Paul II)

"When the children are suffering the heart of the Father ought more than ever to go out to them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Une Fois Encore", 1907)

"It is only by sacrifice and suffering, offered as penance, that you will be able, by the grace of God, to convert sinners." (St. John Vianney)

"God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?" (Fr. O'Sullivan)

"Let us keep our spirits up and suffer in patience, because after this there follows joys in the beautiful kingdom of heaven." (Bl. Henry Suso)

"Bodily suffering makes wicked souls miserable, but borne with fortitude it purifies the souls that are good." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"[S]uffering with patience, resignation, and humility is something far more glorious and more desirable than the most glittering scepters" (Butler)

"Can you expect to go to Heaven for nothing? Did not our dear Savior track the whole way to it with His Blood and tears?" (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

"Jesus, I want to live as long as you will; I want to suffer as you will me to; I want to die as soon as you will it." (St. Clement Maria Hofbauer)

"Thank the good God for having visited you through suffering. If we knew the value of suffering, we would ask for it." (Bl. Brother Andre Bessette)

"One act of thanksgiving when things go wrong with us is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclination." (St. John of Avila)

"Those who suffer for the love of God help Jesus carry His cross, and if they persevere they will share His glory in heaven." (St. Paul of the Cross)

"Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Many suffer, but few know how to suffer well. Suffering is a gift from God; blessed is he who knows how to profit by it." (St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina)

"Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us." (Fr. O'Sullivan)

"There is no doubt that suffering is the greatest trial against our faith; it causes us either to lose it or to strengthen it." (Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of Rome)

"Suffering is a great favor. Remember that everything soon comes to an end...and take courage. Think of how our gain is eternal." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]t is better to be punished and cleansed now than to be sent to the torment to come, when it will be time for punishing only, and not for cleansing" (St. Gregory of Nazianz, Doctor of the Church, c. 373)

"He who knoweth how to suffer will enjoy much peace. Such a one is a conqueror of himself and lord of the world, a friend of Christ, and an heir of heaven." (Kempis)

"It is more through suffering and persecution than through eloquent preaching, that God wills to establish his kingdom in souls." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)

"We complain when we suffer. We have much more reason to complain when we do not suffer, since nothing so likens us to our Lord as the bearing of his Cross." (St. John Vianney)

"If then, He that had no necessity of being crucified was crucified for our sake, how much more, then, ought we bear all things nobly?" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 403 A.D.)

"A good Religious complained one day: 'O Lord, what have I done to be treated thus?' Our Lord answered him: 'And I, what had I done when I was led to Calvary?'" (St. John Vianney)

"There is nothing that we suffer for the honor of God, however little it may be, that is not more serviceable to us than if we possessed the domination of the world." (Archbishop Ullathorne) 

"Lord Jesus Christ, who came into this world as a man an suffered your Passion, allowing your hands to be nailed to the cross for our sins, give me the strength to endure my passion." (St. Boris of Kiev)

"May you receive and relish sweet comfort from Jesus' sufferings and wounds, and may you know how pleasant it is to suffer insults and to be accounting as nothing, all for his holy name." (Thomas a Kempis)

"As in Heaven, nothing will be sweeter than to resemble Him in His glory, so here on earth, nothing is more to our advantage than to be like Him in His Passion." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"Be proud that you are helping God to bear the Cross, and don't grasp at comforts. It is only mercenaries who expect to be paid by the day. Serve Him without pay." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"[We must] understand clearly that if we remain clam, serene, and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increase a hundredfold." (Fr. O'Sullivan)

"The mystery of the Redemption of the world is in an amazing way rooted in suffering, and this suffering in turn finds in the mystery of the Redemption its supreme and surest point of reference." (Pope John Paul II)

"Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"You wonder why God, who is goodness itself, allows us to suffer... But, what would you think of a doctor who lost his patient because he was afraid to give him the necessary but unpleasant treatment?" (St. John Vianney)

"We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly of the Spirit of God." (St. Vincent de Paul)

"[E]very suffering is a gain, persecution has no terrors; for the effect of persecutions and sufferings is to assimilate him, together with his mother the Church, to Christ persecuted, scourged, and crucified." (Liturgical Year)

"To suffer gladly for Christ is the Christian's glory, the invisible beauty which wins for his soul the good pleasure of God, and procures him a reward in heaven." (Attr. to St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"No suffering borne out of love for Christ, even poorly borne, will go unrewarded in eternal life. Trust and hope in the merits of Jesus and in this way even poor clay will become finest gold which will shine in the palace of the king of heaven." [St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)]

"This, in short, is the difference between us and others who know not God, that in misfortune they complain and murmur, while adversity does not call us away from the truth of virtue and faith, but strengthens us by its suffering." (St. Cyprian) 

"He who suffers tribulations in this world, should, in the first place, abandon sin and endeavor to recover the grace of God; for as long as he remains in sin, the merit of all his sufferings is lost." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"An unpitied pain wins greater merit before God. Never say to God: 'Enough,' simply say: 'I am ready!' When it is all over, you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little and suffered that little so badly." (Bl. Sebastian Valfre)

"Let us, then, brethren, courageously resolve to bear patently with all the sufferings which shall come upon us during the remaining days of our lives: to secure Heaven they are all little and nothing." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he greatest joy and exaltation are born only of suffering, and hence that we should rejoice if we partake of the sufferings of Christ, that when His glory shall be revealed we may also be glad with exceeding joy." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943)

"I thank you, O good Jesus, because I have learned with some little experience what you did condescend to suffer for me on the Cross, where your most holy body was not even sustained with cords, but hung by your hands and feet, transfixed with hardest nails." (St. Isaac Jogues)

"In every person suffering from hatred and violence, or rejected by selfishness and indifference, Christ continues to suffer and die. On the faces of those who have been 'defeated by life' there appear the features of the face of Christ dying on the Cross." (Pope John Paul II)

"It has pleased you, Lord, to keep me until this time. I thought, for a while, that you had rejected me as being a stone not fit for your building; but now that you call me to take my place in it, I am ready to suffer that I may have a part in your kingdom with all your saints." (St. Serenus)

"I would like to make everyone understand the great grace that God, in His mercy bestows when He sends suffering, especially suffering devoid of consolation. Then indeed the soul is purified like gold in the furnace; without knowing it, it becomes radiant and is set free to take flight to its Good." (St. Paul of the Cross)

"[Jesus] did not announce for a future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of perfect happiness in Heaven: the royal way of the Cross." (Pope St. Pius X, "Our Apostolic Mandate")

"And we ask all you who suffer to support us. We ask precisely you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity. In the terrible battle between the forces of good and evil, revealed to our eyes by our modern world, may your suffering in union with the Cross of Christ be victorious!" (Pope John Paul II)

"[T]he consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man as long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum")

"Suffering must serve for conversion, that is, for the rebuilding of goodness in the subject, who can recognize the divine mercy in this call to repentance. The purpose of penance is to overcome evil, which under different forms lies dormant in man. Its purpose is also to strengthen goodness both in man himself and in his relationships with others and especially with God." (Pope John Paul II)

"The more Jesus intends to raise a soul to perfection, the more He tries it by suffering. So rejoice, I say to you, in seeing yourself so privileged, in spite of your unworthiness. The more you are afflicted, the more you ought to rejoice, because in the fire of tribulation the soul will become pure gold, worthy to be placed and shine in the heavenly palace." [St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)]

"With the heart of a father We exhort all those who from whatever cause are plunged in grief and anguish to lift their eyes trustfully to heaven and to offer their sorrows to Him who will one day reward them abundantly. Let them all remember that their sufferings are not in vain, but that they will turn to their own immense gain and that of the Church, if to this end they bear them with patience." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943) 

"[Suffering] is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent." (Fr. O'Sullivan)

"From [meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary], the young will draw fresh energy with which to control the rebellious tendencies to evil and to preserve intact the stainless purity of the soul; also in it, the old will again find repose, relief and peace from their anxious cares... and to all those who suffer in any way, especially the dying, may it bring comfort and increase the hope of eternal happiness." (Pope Pius XI, "Ingravescentibus Malis", 1937)

"Christ suffers voluntarily and suffers innocently...Christ gives the answer to the question about suffering and the meaning of suffering not only by his teaching, that is by the Good News, but most of all by his own suffering, which is integrated with this teaching of the Good News in an organic and indissoluble way. And this is the final, definitive word of this teaching: 'the word of the Cross', as Saint Paul one day will say." (Pope John Paul II)

"[A]ccording to Galatians 5:24, 'They that are Christ's have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.' Hence to suffer as a Christian is not only to suffer in confession of the faith, which is done by words, but also to suffer for doing any good work, or for avoiding any sin, for Christ's sake, because this all comes under the head of witnessing to the faith." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The world of suffering possesses as it were its own solidarity. People who suffer become similar to one another through the analogy of their situation, the trial of their destiny, or through their need for understanding and care, and perhaps above all through the persistent question of the meaning of suffering. Thus, although the world of suffering exists 'in dispersion', at the same time it contains within itself a. singular challenge to communion and solidarity." (Pope John Paul II)

"He therefore sent His angel, who spake unto Joseph in his sleep, and told him that his spouse had conceived of the Holy Ghost, and that he was to abide with her in all surety and joy. Whereupon, the tribulation ceased, and they were both exceedingly comforted. So likewise would it befall us if we would suffer patently, for after a storm God brings a calm. Neither oughtest thou to doubt this, for God sufferth not His servants to be afflicted save for their good." (St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church)

"The words of that prayer of Christ in Gethsemane prove the truth of love through the truth of suffering. Christ's words confirm with all simplicity this human truth of suffering, to its very depths: suffering is the undergoing of evil before which man shudders. He says: let it pass from me', just as Christ says in Gethsemane. His words also attest to this unique and incomparable depth and intensity of suffering which only the man who is the only-begotten Son could experience" (Pope John Paul II)

"But different kinds of sufferings are imposed on us to test and prove us, and many forms of temptations are inflicted upon us by loss of wealth, burning fevers, torments of wounds, by the death of dear ones. Nothing else distinguishes the unjust and the just more than this, that in adversities the unjust man complains and blasphemes because of impatience, while the just man is proved by patience, as it is written: 'I thy sorrow endure and in thy humiliation keep patience, for gold and silver are tried in fire.'" (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"I realize and confess, O my God, before heaven and earth, that you are just, and that I deserve this suffering, and a thousand times more, for the least of my sins. That is the reason I will embrace this affliction with all my heart to the glory of your divine justice, in submission to your sacred will, in honor of the terrible sufferings you endured on earth, in satisfaction for my sins, in fulfillment of your plans that you have made about me, and as something that comes from your most amiable hands and from your heart full of love for me." (St. John Eudes)

"Dear Lord, I am now convinced that without patience suffering I cannot merit a reward in heaven. It is you who must give me patience in suffering. I make the resolution to accept with patience all the trials and sufferings that will come into my life. I know that so often, in spite of my resolutions, I have become despondent when I was asked to carry a cross; but if I do not learn to suffer for love of you, I shall suffer without merit. My Jesus, by the merits of the patience with which you suffered so many pains for love of me, give me the grace to bear my crosses for love of you." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"If we are true Christians, we must desire to be ever with Jesus Christ. Now, where are we to find this loving Savior of our souls? In what place may we embrace Him? He is found in two places: in His glory and in His sufferings: on His throne and on His cross. We must, then, in order to be with Him, either embrace Him on His throne, which death enables us to do; or else share in His cross, and this we do by suffering; hence we must either suffer or die, if we would never be separated from our Lord. Let us suffer then, O Christians; let us suffer what it pleases God to send us: afflictions, sicknesses, the miseries of poverty, injuries, calumnies; let us try to carry, with steadfast courage, that portion of His cross, with which He is pleased to honor us." (Bossuet)

"Moreover, to bear and to suffer is the ordinary condition of man. Man can no more create for himself a life free from suffering and filled with all happiness than he can abrogate the decrees of his Divine Maker, who has willed that the consequences of original sin should be perpetual. It is reasonable, therefore, not to expect an end to troubles in this world, but rather to steel one's soul to bear troubles, by which we are taught to look forward with certainty to supreme happiness. Christ has not promised eternal bliss in heaven to riches, nor to a life of ease, to honors or to power, but to long-suffering and to tears, to the love of justice and to cleanness of heart." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900) 

"For Christ had earnestly longed for the crown of thorns and its sufferings in order that He might atone for the sins of crowned heads...Christ also wished to atone for the many sins of thought whereby we have so often offended Him, for thoughts of pride and vanity, for thoughts of worldliness, for uncharitable thoughts, and finally for the impure thoughts and imaginations of unchaste people. When the head suffers, necessarily all the member suffer, because they are joined to the head in the unity of the body. Whoever, therefore, does not or will not suffer, whoever leads a sumptuous life, whoever pursues all sorts of pleasures or complacently wallows in sinful lusts cannot possibly belong to a body whose head is pierced with thorns." (Fr. Groenings)

"I love you, O my God. My only desire is to love you, until the last breath of my life. I love you, O infinitely loveable God, and I prefer to die loving you rather than to live for an instant without you. I love you, O my God, and I desire only to go to heaven to have the happiness of loving you perfectly. I love you, O my God, and my only fear is to go to hell because one will not have the sweet solace of loving you there. O my God, if my tongue cannot say at all times that I love you, at least I want my heart to repeat it to you as I breath. Ah! Do me the grace to suffer while loving you, to love you while suffering. And, that when I die, I not only will love you, but experience it in my heart. I beg you that the closer I come to my final end, you will increase and perfect my love for you. Amen." (St. John Vianney)

"We are men of little faith; we cannot understand the trials God sends to our brethren, and we are often tempted to believe that He has forsaken them, because He sends them a cross. We are men of little love, too; worldly tribulation seems an evil to us, and we think ourselves hardly dealt with, at the very time when our God is showing us the greatest mercy. We are like the mother of the sons of Zebedee; we would hold a high and conspicuous place near the Son of God, forgetting that we must first merit it, by drinking of the chalice that He drank, that is, the chalice of suffering. We forget, too, that saying of the apostle: 'That we may be glorified with Jesus, we must suffer with Him!' (Rom. viii. 17) He, the just and All holy, entered not into His rest by honors, and pleasures: the sinner cannot follow Him, save by treading the path of penance." (Gueranger)

"Jesus Christ, when He redeemed us with plentiful redemption, took not away the pains and sorrows which in such large proportion are woven together in the web of our mortal life. He transformed them into motives of virtue and occasions of merit; and no man can hope for eternal reward unless he follow in the blood-stained footprints of his Savior. 'If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.' Christ's labors and sufferings, accepted of His own free will, have marvelously sweetened all suffering and all labor. And not only by His example, but by His grace and by the hope held forth of everlasting recompense, has He made pain and grief more easy to endure; 'for that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891) 

"[I]n the life of a Christian, the intellect must be entirely subject to God's authority. And if, in this submission of reason to authority, our self-love, which is so strong, is restrained and made to suffer, this only proves the necessity to a Christian of long-suffering not only in will but also in intellect. We would remind those persons of this truth who desire a kind of Christianity such as they themselves have devised, whose precepts should be very mild, much more indulgent towards human nature, and requiring little if any hardships to be borne. They do not properly understand the meaning of faith and Christian precepts. They do not see that the Cross meets us everywhere, the model of our life, the eternal standard of all who wish to follow Christ in reality and not merely in name." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900) 

"In the Cross of Christ not only is the Redemption accomplished through suffering, but also human suffering itself has been redeemed,. Christ, - without any fault of his own - took on himself 'the total evil of sin'. The experience of this evil determined the incomparable extent of Christ's suffering, which became the price of the Redemption... The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. 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. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. 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." (Pope John Paul II)

"Suffering is, in itself, an experience of evil. But Christ has made suffering the firmest basis of the definitive good, namely the good of eternal salvation. By his suffering on the Cross, Christ reached the very roots of evil, of sin and death. He conquered the author of evil, Satan, and his permanent rebellion against the Creator. To the suffering brother or sister Christ discloses and gradually reveals the horizons of the Kingdom of God: the horizons of a world converted to the Creator, of a world free from sin, a world being built on the saving power of love. And slowly but effectively, Christ leads into this world, into this Kingdom of the Father, suffering man, in a certain sense through the very heart of his suffering. For suffering cannot be transformed and changed by a grace from outside, but from within. And Christ through his own salvific suffering is very much present in every human suffering, and can act from within that suffering by the powers of his Spirit of truth, his consoling Spirit." (Pope John Paul II)

"And yet it must be said that it seems to have been predetermined by the counsel of God that there should be no salvation to men without strife and pain. Truly, though God has given to man pardon for sin, He gave it under the condition that His only begotten Son should pay the due penalty; and although Jesus Christ might have satisfied divine justice in other ways, nevertheless He preferred to satisfy by the utmost suffering and the sacrifice of His life. Thus he has imposed upon His followers this law, signed in His blood, that their life should be an endless strife with the vices of the age. What made the apostles invincible in their mission of teaching truth to the world; what strengthened the martyrs innumerable in their bloody testimony to the Christian faith, but the readiness of their soul to obey fearlessly His laws? And all who have taken heed to live a Christian life and seek virtue have trodden the same path; therefore We must walk in this way if We desire either Our own salvation or that of others." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888)

"Those who share in Christ's sufferings have before their eyes the Paschal Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, in which Christ descends, in a first phase, to the ultimate limits of human weakness and impotence: indeed, he dies nailed to the Cross. But if at the same time in this weakness there is accomplished his lifting up, confirmed by the power of the Resurrection, then this means that the weaknesses of all human sufferings are capable of being infused with the same power of God manifested in Christ's Cross. In such a concept, to suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man's weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. This also explains the exhortation in the First Letter of Peter: 'Yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God'." (Pope John Paul II)

"Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace many saints, such as Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. This discovery is a particular confirmation of the spiritual greatness which in man surpasses the body in a way that is completely beyond compare. When this body is gravely ill, totally incapacitated, and the person is almost incapable of living and acting, all the more do interior maturity and spiritual greatness become evident, constituting a touching lesson to those who are healthy and normal. This interior maturity and spiritual greatness in suffering are certainly the result of a particular conversion and cooperation with the grace of the Crucified Redeemer." (Pope John Paul II)

"How sweet to suffer for Jesus Christ! I cannot find words energetic enough to tell you what I feel, more especially since I have been confined in prison, where we are forced to observe a continual fast. The strength of my body has left me, but the joy of my heart increases in proportion to the prospect of a speedy death. What a happiness it will be if I am permitted to sing next Easter Sunday the Haec Dies in heaven! Had you tasted the sweet delight which God has poured into our souls, you would indeed despise the good things this world affords. Since I have been in prison for His sake, I feel that I am a disciple of Jesus. I now find myself fully compensated for the pangs of hunger, by the consoling sweetness which filled my soul and were I to be immured in prison for years, the time would appear to me to be short, so much do I desire to suffer for Him who rewards me so liberally for my pains. Among other illnesses, I have had a fever raging within me which lasted a hundred days, without the possibility of being relieved. During all this time my joy has been so great, that I find it useless to describe it in words." (St. Spinola)

"To the prospect of the Kingdom of God is linked hope in that glory which has its beginning in the Cross of Christ. The Resurrection revealed this glory - eschatological glory - which, in the Cross of Christ, was completely obscured by the immensity of suffering. Those who share in the sufferings of Christ are also called, through their own sufferings, to share in glory. Paul expresses this in various places. To the Romans he writes: ' We are ... fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us'. In the Second Letter to the Corinthians we read: 'For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to things that are unseen'. The Apostle Peter will express this truth in the following words of his First Letter: 'But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed'." (Pope John Paul II)

"The Cross of Christ throws salvific light, in a most penetrating way, on man's life and in particular on his suffering. For through faith the Cross reaches man together with the Resurrection: the mystery of the Passion is contained in the Paschal Mystery. The witnesses of Christ's Passion are at the same time witnesses of his Resurrection. Paul writes: 'That I may know him (Christ) and the power of his Resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead'. Truly, the Apostle first experienced the 'power of the Resurrection' of Christ, on the road to Damascus, and only later, in this paschal light, reached that ' sharing in his sufferings' of which he speaks, for example, in the Letter to the Galatians. The path of Paul is clearly paschal: sharing in the Cross of Christ comes about through the experience of the Risen One, therefore through a special sharing in the Resurrection. Thus, even in the Apostle's expressions on the subject of suffering there so often appears the motif of glory, which finds its beginning in Christ's Cross." (Pope John Paul II)

"The witnesses of the Cross and Resurrection were convinced that 'through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God'. And Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, says this: 'We ourselves boast of you... for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are suffering'. Thus to share in the sufferings of Christ is, at the same time, to suffer for the Kingdom of God. In the eyes of the just God, before his judgment, those who share in the suffering of Christ become worthy of this Kingdom. Through their sufferings, in a certain sense they repay the infinite price of the Passion and death of Christ, which became the price of our Redemption: at this price the Kingdom of God has been consolidated anew in human history, becoming the definitive prospect of man's earthly existence. Christ has led us into this Kingdom through his suffering. And also through suffering those surrounded by the mystery of Christ's Redemption become mature enough to enter this Kingdom." (Pope John Paul II)

"It is the reflection of St. Austin, that if, with the martyrs, we seriously considered the rewards that await us, we should account all trouble and pains in this life as nothing; and should be astonished that the divine bounty gives so great a salary for so little labor. To obtain eternal rest, should require, if it had been possible, eternal labor; to purchase a happiness without bounds, a man should be willing to suffer for a whole eternity. That indeed is impossible; but our trials might have been very long. What are a thousand years, or ten hundred thousand ages, in comparison to eternity? There can be no proportion between what is finite, and that which is infinite. Yet God in his great mercy does not bid us suffer so long. He says, not a million, or a thousand years, or even five hundred, but only labor the few years that you live; and in these the dew of my consolations shall not be wanting; and I will recompense your patience for all with a glory that has no end. Though we were to be loaded with miseries, pain, and grief our whole life, the thoughts of heaven alone ought to make us bear its sharpest trials with cheerfulness and joy." (Butler) 

"The glorious Resurrection of our Jesus eloquently teaches us how to look upon the crosses sent us by God. However great may be our future trials, we are not likely to be nailed to a cross, between two thieves. [Yet this] is what the Son of God had to undergo: but did the sufferings of the Friday mar the kingly splendor of the Sunday's triumph? Nay, is not his present glory redoubled by his past humiliations? Therefore let us not be cowards when our time for sacrifice comes; let us think of the eternal reward that is to follow. These two disciples did not know that it was Jesus who was speaking to them; and yet he sooner explained to them the plan of God's wisdom and goodness, that they understood the mystery of suffering. Their hearts burned within them at hearing him explain how the cross leads to the crown; and he had he not held their eyes that they should not know him, they would have discovered from his words that their instructor was Jesus. So will it be with us, if we will allow him to speak to us. We shall understand how 'the disciple is not above the Master.' ...[Let us] exclaim with the Apostle: No! 'the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.'" (Gueranger)

"In the light of the unmatchable example of Christ, reflected with singular clarity in the life of his Mother, the Gospel of suffering, through the experience and words of the Apostles, becomes an inexhaustible source for the ever new generations that succeed one another in the history of the Church. The Gospel of suffering signifies not only the presence of suffering in the Gospel, as one of the themes of the Good News, but also the revelation of the salvific power and salvific significance of suffering in Christ's messianic mission and, subsequently, in the mission and vocation of the Church. Christ did not conceal from his listeners the need for suffering. He said very clearly: 'If any man would come after me... let him take up his cross daily', and before his disciples he placed demands of a moral nature that can only be fulfilled on condition that they should 'deny themselves'. The way that leads to the Kingdom of heaven is 'hard and narrow', and Christ contrasts it to the 'wide and easy' way that 'leads to destruction'. On various occasions Christ also said that his disciples and confessors would meet with much persecution, something which - as we know - happened not only in the first centuries of the Church's life under the Roman Empire, but also came true in various historical periods and in other parts of the world, and still does even in our own time." (Pope John Paul II)

"The miseries of this present life are the test to which God puts His soldiers; He passes judgment upon them, and classifies them, according to the degree of courage they have shown. Therefore is it, that we have all our share of suffering. The combat has commenced. God is looking on, watching how each of us comports himself. They day is not far off, when the Judge will pass sentence on the merits of each combatant, and award to each one the recompense he has won. Combat now; peace and rest and a crown, then. Happy they who, during these days of probation, have recognized the mighty hand of God in all the trials they have had, and have humbled themselves under its pressure, lovingly and confidently! Against such Christians, who have been strong in faith, the roaring lion has not been able to prevail. They were sober, they were watchful, during this their pilgrimage. They were fully convinced of this, that every one has to suffer in the present life; they therefore never sighed and moaned, as though they were the only sufferers; they did not assume the attitude of victims, and call it resignation; but they took each trial as it came, and, without talking to every one about it, they quietly and joyously united it with the sufferings of Christ. O true Christians! You will be joyous for all eternity, where there will be made the manifestation of that eternal glory in Christ Jesus, which He will pass on to you, that you may share it with Him for ever!" (Liturgical Year)

"My Lord, you ask me to suffer, and so my poor soul desires to do that. But, O Jesus, I want to suffer only with you, for love of you; to suffer in silence and solitude so that only you would know that I suffer, only you would hear the moaning of my heart and see my tears. Ah, Lord, teach me to suffer in this way. Teach me to suffer without seeking any compassion or sympathy from creatures, to suffer without even looking forward to the eternal joys of heaven. Teach me to suffer not because suffering is the source of merit and glory, but because it leads us to union with you and makes our hearts like unto yours. Teach me to suffer with such a love for your divine will that I would not choose my own crosses but humbly accept those that you yourself give; that I would not even for a moment desire any relief; and that I would not even know how to long for heaven unless you alone, O Lord, fill my heart with this yearning. Teach me to so love suffering as you loved the cross; teach me to so desire suffering as you desired it. Teach me to suffer with such silence, purity, and love as your most pure Mother suffered when you left her orphaned on this earth. As you permitted her, so permit me to die form this sorrow, longing, and loving, and then do with me as you please. Grant only that I may love you forever" (Bl. Mary Angela Truszkowska)

"Do not think that your burden is heavy; it is very light, compared with what you deserve to bear and with what Jesus Christ our Lord bore for your sake; it is slight indeed in comparison to the reward it will bring you. Remember that we shall soon quit this world, and then all the past will seem to us like a short dream, and we shall see that it is better to have labored than to have rested here. Learn how to profit by your sorrows, for they bring great riches to the soul. They cleans it from past sin; what fire is to gold, that tribulation is to the just man, whose heart if purifies. Trials only injure the wicked, for instead of being grateful to God they murmur against Him. Their punishment does them no good, because they turn their sufferings into sins, and so lose where they might have gained, earning hell by painful labor. Do not imitate them, but let your courage increase with your trials. God proves His sons by sorrow, and no one will be crowned but that he has been through the combat. St. James says: Blessed is the man who endureth temptation, for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life (Jms. 1:4), which God promises to those who love Him. If only we realized the value of this crown, how gladly should we now suffer affliction! Would that we understood how blessed, both now and hereafter, are the tears we shed in this life... Live here as a stranger, your body on earth, but your heart above, so that when our Lord calls you, He may not find you sleeping, but ready to go with Him, and to hear the sweet words: Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord (Mt. 25:21)." (St. John of Avila)

"Then, be it that the 'earth is accursed' and brings forth 'thistles and thorns,'- be it that the soul is saddened with grief and the body with sickness; even so, there will be no evil which the envy of man or the rage of devils can invent, nor calamity which can fall upon the individual or the community, over which we shall not triumph by the patience of suffering. For this reason it has been truly said that 'it belongs to the Christian to do and to endure great things,' for he who deserves to be called a Christian must not shrink from following in the footsteps of Christ. But by this patience, We do not mean that empty stoicism in the enduring of pain which was the ideal of some of the philosophers of old, but rather do We mean that patience which is learned from the example of Him, who 'having joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame' (Heb. xii., 2). It is the patience which is obtained by the help of His grace; which shirks not a trial because it is painful, but which accepts it and esteems it as a gain, however hard it may be to undergo. The Catholic Church has always had, and happily still has, multitudes of men and women, in every rank and condition of life, who are glorious disciples of this teaching, and who, following faithfully in the path of Christ, suffer injury and hardship for the cause of virtue and religion. They re-echo, not with their lips, but with their life, the words of St. Thomas: 'Let us also go, that we may die with him' (John xi., 16). May such types of admirable constancy be more and more splendidly multiplied in our midst to the weal of society and to the glory and edification of the Church of God!" (Pope Leo XIII, "Laetitiae Sanctae", 1893)

"Saint Paul speaks of such joy in the Letter to the Colossians: 'I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake'. A source of joy is found in the overcoming of the sense of the uselessness of suffering, a feeling that is sometimes very strongly rooted in human suffering. This feeling not only consumes the person interiorly, but seems to make him a burden to others. The person feels condemned to receive help and assistance from others, and at the same time seems useless to himself. The discovery of the salvific meaning of suffering in union with Christ transforms this depressing feeling. Faith in sharing in the suffering of Christ brings with it the interior certainty that the suffering person 'completes what is lacking in Christ's afflictions' (cf. Col. 1:24); the certainty that in the spiritual dimension of the work of Redemption he is serving, like Christ, the salvation of his brothers and sisters. Therefore he is carrying out an irreplaceable service. In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross of the Redeemer, it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of Christ's sacrifice that is the irreplaceable mediator and author of the good things which are indispensable for the world's salvation. It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption. In that 'cosmic' struggle between the spiritual powers of good and evil, spoken of in the Letter to the Ephesians, human sufferings, united to the redemptive suffering of Christ, constitute a special support for the powers of good, and open the way to the victory of these salvific powers." (Pope John Paul II)

"[P]eople react to suffering in different ways. But in general it can be said that almost always the individual enters suffering with a typically human protest and with the question 'why'. He asks the meaning of his suffering and seeks an answer to this question on the human level. Certainly he often puts this question to God, and to Christ. Furthermore, he cannot help noticing that the one to whom he puts the question is himself suffering and wishes to answer him from the Cross, from the heart of his own suffering. Nevertheless, it often takes time, even a long time, for this answer to begin to be interiorly perceived. For Christ does not answer directly and he does not answer in the abstract this human questioning about the meaning of suffering. Man hears Christ's saving answer as he himself gradually becomes a sharer in the sufferings of Christ. The answer which comes through this sharing, by way of the interior encounter with the Master, is in itself something more than the mere abstract answer to the question about the meaning of suffering. For it is above all a call. It is a vocation. Christ does not explain in the abstract the reasons for suffering, but before all else he says: 'Follow me!' Come! Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Through my Cross. Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering of Christ. At the same time, however, from this level of Christ the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man's level and becomes, in a sense, the individual's personal response. It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy." (Pope John Paul II)

"One could certainly extend the list of the forms of suffering that have encountered human sensitivity, compassion and help, or that have failed to do so. The first and second parts of Christ's words about the Final Judgment unambiguously show how essential it is, for the eternal life of every individual, to 'stop', as the Good Samaritan did, at the suffering of one's neighbor, to have 'compassion' for that suffering, and to give some help. In the messianic program of Christ, which is at the same time the program of the Kingdom of God, suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of human civilization into a 'civilization of love'. In this love the salvific meaning of suffering is completely accomplished and reaches its definitive dimension. Christ's words about the Final Judgment enable us to understand this in all the simplicity and clarity of the Gospel. These words about love, about actions of love, acts linked with human suffering, enable us once more to discover, at the basis of all human sufferings, the same redemptive suffering of Christ. Christ said: 'You did it to me'. He himself is the one who in each individual experiences love; he himself is the one who receives help, when this is given to every suffering person without exception. He himself is present in this suffering person, since his salvific suffering has been opened once and for all to every human suffering. And all those who suffer have been called once and for all to become sharers 'in Christ's sufferings', just as all have been called to 'complete' with their own suffering 'what is lacking in Christ's afflictions' (cf. Col. 1:24)" (Pope John Paul II)

"While it is true that suffering has a meaning as punishment, when it is connected with a fault, it is not true that all suffering is a consequence of a fault and has the nature of a punishment. The figure of the just man Job is a special proof of this in the Old Testament. Revelation, which is the word of God himself, with complete frankness presents the problem of the suffering of an innocent man: suffering without guilt. Job has not been punished, there was no reason for inflicting a punishment on him, even if he has been subjected to a grievous trial. From the introduction of the Book it is apparent that God permitted this testing as a result of Satan's provocation. For Satan had challenged before the Lord the righteousness of Job: 'Does Job fear God for naught? ... Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face'. And if the Lord consents to test Job with suffering, he does it to demonstrate the latter's righteousness. The suffering has the nature of a test." (Pope John Paul II) 

"The parable of the Good Samaritan belongs to the Gospel of suffering. For it indicates what the relationship of each of us must be towards our suffering neighbor. We are not allowed to 'pass by on the other side' indifferently; we must 'stop' beside him. Everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person, whatever form it may take, is a Good Samaritan. This stopping does not mean curiosity but availability. It is like the opening of a certain interior disposition of the heart, which also has an emotional expression of its own. The name 'Good Samaritan' fits every individual who is sensitive to the sufferings of others, who 'is moved' by the misfortune of another. If Christ, who knows the interior of man, emphasizes this compassion, this means that it is important for our whole attitude to others' suffering. Therefore one must cultivate this sensitivity of heart, which bears witness to compassion towards a suffering person. Some times this compassion remains the only or principal expression of our love for and solidarity with the sufferer. Nevertheless, the Good Samaritan of Christ's parable does not stop at sympathy and compassion alone. They become for him an incentive to actions aimed at bringing help to the injured man. In a word, then, a Good Samaritan is one who brings help in suffering, whatever its nature may be. Help which is, as far as possible, effective. He puts his whole heart into it, nor does he spare material means... A Good Samaritan is the person capable of exactly such a gift of self. Following the parable of the Gospel, we could say that suffering, which is present under so many different forms in our human world, is also present in order to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one's 'I' on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love; and in a certain sense man owes to suffering that unselfish love which stirs in his heart and actions. The person who is a 'neighbor' cannot indifferently pass by the suffering of another: this in the name of fundamental human solidarity, still more in the name of love of neighbor. He must 'stop', 'sympathize', just like the Samaritan of the Gospel parable." (Pope John Paul II)

"Great indeed are the advantages of tribulations. The Lord sends them to us not because he wishes our misfortune, but because he desires our welfare. Hence, when they come upon us, we must embrace them with thanksgiving, and must not only resign ourselves to the divine will, but must also rejoice that God treats us as he treated his son Jesus Christ, whose life upon this Earth was always full of tribulation." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Suffering & Death | Adversity | Affliction | The Cross / Crosses | Death & Dying [Pg.] | Necessity of / Reasons for Suffering | Pain | Sickness / Illness | Sorrow / Sorrows | Trials & Tribulations | Words of Advice (Suffering) | Words of Encouragement (Suffering) | Suffering & Death | Misc. (Suffering & Death) | Preparing For Death | Perseverance | Suffering (Topical Scripture)

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