Suffering — get it while you can

An acquaintance of mine died last week. 

I said a prayer for her when I heard the news, and then I whispered, “Pat, rest in peace. You have finished your work, completed your journey.”

I think about that journey a lot. My friend didn’t make it to the three score and ten mentioned in the Bible. We just never know.

There is something uniquely precious about living in our imperfect world. It is only an instant in even the longest of lives. What are a 100 years compared to eternity?  Yet, we have only this breath, this heartbeat of time in which to determine our eternal destination, and to labor for God’s Glory.

I, who do not relish suffering, still value it and this amazing moment in my existence when it actually costs me to offer something precious to God.

It is quite thrilling to be among the Church Militant, marching through the battlefield of life, buffeted by the blows of pain, loneliness, rejection, grief and a thousand other sufferings which we encounter on our journey.

I think how tenderly Jesus watches over us as we bear our wounds for love of Him.  His eyes never leave us and His Heart almost breaks with compassion.  Yet, when we are brave, and offer up as best we can these trials, surely He is so pleased, so very proud of us.  

We cannot see, but Jesus Himself binds up our wounds with the balm of His Love, measures to perfection all that we are asked to bear, and supports us Himself that we may not be crushed beneath our crosses.

Heaven is our true home, but I find myself pondering how bittersweet it will be to leave this place of exile:  Never again to be able to make an act of faith when all seems lost, to tell God we love Him through tears and sorrow, to endure the battle of temptation and be victorious with His Grace, to do violence to our own will so that we may choose for God, to walk amidst a hurting and confused world and try to be a ray of His Light, to visit a lonely Jesus in His Sacrament of Love and console His Hidden Presence. 

These many treasures are ours for only a moment, and yet I waste an abundance of riches, and neglect the joy I could give to God by seizing every opportunity to cooperate with His Grace.

One day it will all end, and suffering will be no more.  I’m sure much of my Purgatory will be spent in weeping tears for all the times I walked away from the graces God extended to me – times I insisted on my own way, or complained about something trivial or was annoyed with someone else.

Lord, help me to begin again today to be ingenious in finding the jewels you have hidden in every moment of my life.  Those I choose are mine for all eternity.

But much more important: You have chosen to be glorified by the sacrifices lovingly made and offered by your children.

Oh Jesus, help me not to waste the moment this life on earth is, the only moment I will ever have to choose You above all the other distractions and temptations of my world.

In one of Therese’s favorite books, The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, by Father Charles Arminjon, in the chapter on Heaven we read: 

And the grateful God cries out, “Now it is My turn!”

He is so eager to reward us. Indeed the lives of the great mystics indicate that He can hardly restrain His Love, as He pours out upon His holy ones a foretaste of Heavenly bliss.

On our last day, if we had never been able to suffer anything in life, would we really be able to endure Infinite Love pouring into us from His pierced Heart, and the embrace of His crucified hands?


8 thoughts on “Suffering — get it while you can

  1. suffering and patience are the only ways to eternal happiness, for through offering up our daily pings and sorrows, we can atone for our sins and show God how much we really love him.
    Thanks to you Patricia, i have written my poem on my blog… it is shorter than yours but a prayer none the less.

    God Bless

    • Isaac, congratulations on your beautiful poem honoring Our Lady. I hope you will share many more poems. Thank you for mentioning “patience” with suffering. Without patience, our suffering can be without gain, or even worse, cause us to sin. God bless you always!

    • Thank you for reposting these, Patricia. I really appreciate this now as I am . dealing with my aging mom, aunt and uncle. It’s so overwhelming at times as I see them struggle through their sufferings and try to be there for them.

      You are such a blessing..Always a right word in due season..Hugs and +

      • Caroline, it must mean the world to your mom and uncle to know that they have you looking out for them. But yes, it is so hard to see our older relatives suffer and lose their independence, etc. But is helps so much when they have a safe and trusted person to turn to. I had bloodwork this morning, and afterward, my husband and I ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Almost everyone in there was very old. I looked around at all those precious people, and it was such a blessing just to see them. I remember some poet writing something about it being no small thing to be loved by a child, “so fresh from God’s hands…” And I think of the very old, so full of dignity, yet such vulnerability, as they make their way back to those Sacred Hands.

        Love and hugs, my friend,
        PS I miss those caregiver days….I always knew that I was doing God’s Will, taking care of my parents. Now, It is not so apparent….

  2. Patricia, I read this slowly . . . Each paragraph sharing your love and insight. With an eternal perspective it does seem like it should be easier to find the joy in the trials, knowing we are pleasing our God and our sacrifices can bring graces to further his kingdom in the hearts of others. God is so good, So loving!

    • How precious that our suffering is not wasted. The Catholic doctrine of redemptive suffering is so beautiful. It helps so much to know that God works wonders with our pain and suffering, if only we entrust it to Him, and unite it to the Suffering of Jesus. Therese used to say, “Jesus loves us too much to ever do anything without us.” She was referring to His Redemption of the world, and how He allows us to participate in that with Him. So like Him…so like His Infinite Love!

      And…it is such a short time we have on this earth to love Him that way. I would never ask for more suffering, but I pray to embrace what I have with ever more courage. You have been going through so much lately. You are a powerful lady right now!

      When a young police officer was shot and paralyzed years ago in New York City. Cardinal O’Connor visited him in the hospital and told him, “You are the most powerful man in the world right now.” He was referring to the value of this young man’s suffering. I’ve seen this severely injured young man on EWTN since then, and he is so beautiful, so filled with God…no bitterness, all forgiveness. So Christlike. Think of the souls he must be helping to save…..

      You too, Colleen. You too!

      Love you,
      Patricia xoxo

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