Redemptive Suffering

“When you get sick, death becomes a reality. It isn’t something far in the distance, it’s something that you have to face right now.

I was a mom to a new little baby and a teenaged son, and I had found out that I had breast cancer. I had to stop breastfeeding right away, and I had to go in for treatments.

It was a really difficult time in my life. I went through many surgeries, 6 chemo therapytreatments, 26 radiation treatments, a lumpectomy and then a mastectomy.

But with each stage of my sickness, God was calling me into a deeper relationship with Him. It was in the hardest time of my life that I learned how profound the love of God is in the midst of struggles and despair. It became a journey with Christ that was so deep and beautiful.

It was during this time that He sent me a Spiritual Director, who is a Redemptorist priest, and he taught me about uniting my own suffering with Jesus on the Cross, through redemptive suffering.

I had always had a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but God the Father I didn’t really know. It was during this time, that I learned that my trial could have profound meaning by uniting my suffering with Jesus’ suffering on the Cross, as a gift to the Father. My suffering became redemptive and I used it in reparation for my sins, for conversions in my family, for our priests, our Church and so many other intentions. Suffering was no longer wasted but I could offer up my suffering to God.

My pain became a gift for myself and others. The Holy Spirit allowed me to understand this suffering so intimately. It is incredibly difficult to accept or understand any value in suffering if you don’t bring it to God and become one with Christ. Our hope is Christ crucified and risen. He lifts our struggles with Him and allows us to experience His resurrection.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “in order for us to get to the resurrection, we have to go through the crucifixion” – and that struggle is a struggle that we will all have to go through in our lives.

We will experience pain in our lives, it is what we do with that suffering that will make an impact on the whole world.

Do we use our daily suffering? Our day to day struggles united to Jesus has so much power. We can unite it with Jesus and use it as a small offering to save others. The Cross has so much meaning and value, that when we encounter it, we should pick up our cross daily and follow him.”

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