January 9, 2018

The Importance of Offering Up Our Sufferings

Christ falls beneath the Cross for the first time.

Father Thomas Mattison

There are so many remedies for those who suffer unjustly that we have begun to imagine that suffering itself is wrong. Worse! We begin to think that those who suffer willingly or without complaining must be “sick” or uninformed or, maybe, getting what they asked for when they didn’t take care of themselves at some earlier time. In a fixable world, sufferers lose any right to compassion.

Those of us who are of a certain age learned a different answer: Offer it up! We may want to laugh at that, but it holds a profound spiritual truth. Compared to what others can do and have, I may be impoverished. But that impoverishment does not diminish the reality of God’s love for me. Nor does it rob me of the ability to be brave, to be generous, to be patient, to be forgiving, to be compassionate, to be loved, to be grateful. Some impoverishments may even provide me with the ability to inspire others; isn’t that what a support group is about?

Suffering can make me more aware of my need for God and more willing to trust His love. Suffering so that His love can reach others makes me more and more like Jesus, even if I look more and more like the “losers” of the world. Karl Marx lampooned Christianity as “the opiate of the masses.” A cult of entitlement has led us to an epidemic of opiates.

There are those who, with greater and greater frequency, are beginning to ask if fixing the different and leveling all disparities is actually a good idea. If all difference is abolished — maybe even made illegal — what will be the fate of the truly exceptional? Will they, too, be banned because they make others feel inadequate?

We know that state-sponsored collectivism produced a loss of incentive, a loss of healthy competition and a precipitous cultural regression. It did not stop greed or repression or persecution or torture or murder — either private or judicial. The tyrannical few and the tyrannical many are all dyed in the same blood.

“Offering it up” may sound quaint or old fashioned when we can make someone else pay for our happiness. On the other hand, the poor in spirit are promised the Kingdom of God, and those who mourn are promised comfort, and those who make peace are called children of God.

Fr. Thomas Mattison is pastor of Christ our Savior Parish in Manchester Center and Arlington VT.


Boreal Boy said...

Thank you, Father. Could you please tell me what one does in order to "offer it up"?

Catholic Guy said...

"Offer it up," as Father stated, is an expression. It means accepting whatever God gives us [or allows to happen] in a spirit of love and humility. We may offer up our challenges, difficulties and sufferings to God in prayer, just as Our Lord accepted His cross in obedience to the Father.

Pat Blanc said...

We were taught when we offer up our sufferings we do so for the souls in purgatory who can not help themselves any longer. They rely on our prayers and sacrifices.

Pat Blanc said...

We were taught we should offer our sufferings up for the poor souls in purgatory who can no longer help themselves. They count on our prayers and sacrifices.

Boreal Boy said...

So "giving it up" means saying a prayer to God in which we explain to Him our problems.

SHoJ,IHoM,p4us said...

You can pray a morning offering, such as the prayer Our Lady taught the children at Fatima.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings, all that this day may bring, be they good or bad: for the love of God, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When a particular suffering occurs, you can also turn to Our Lord and tell Him that you accept this as His will for you and offer it to Him.

Boreal Boy said...

Wonderful. Thank you for the tips.