Joy in suffering PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 14:42


THERE can be joy in suffering only if we identify ourselves with Christ. With Christ, suffering becomes an act of selfless love that can take on anything. Only in him can we find joy and meaning in suffering. With him, suffering loses its purely negative and painful character, and assumes the happy salvific character.

We need to process this truth of our faith thoroughly, always asking for God’s grace and training all our powers and faculties to adapt to this reality. That’s why Christ told us clearly that if we want to follow him, we simply have to deny ourselves, carry the cross and follow him. There’s no other formula, given our wounded human condition.

This self-denial and carrying of Christ’s cross will enable us to see that suffering is obviously the consequence of all our sins—ours and those of others. Embracing suffering the way Christ embraced his cross unites our suffering with that of Christ.

Our motive for it is like that of Christ. It’s the desire to conquer that suffering and ultimately our death through his death and resurrection. It’s obeying God’s will just like Christ obeyed his Father’s will. “Not my will but yours be done.”

Our reaction to any form of suffering in this life should therefore be theological and ascetical. It should be guided and inspired by faith. It should not just be physical or a natural affair.

It should reflect the spiritual and supernatural realities to which we are all subject.

Everyday let us find ways of deepening our understanding and appreciation of this truth of our faith, and also of acquiring the capacity to live it as fully as possible, until we can truly say that we are finding joy in our suffering.

Let us often meditate on the passion, death andresurrection of Christ since it is from there that we can get the proper inspiration on this matter.

At least we can say that we complain less when some suffering comes our way, or we don’t lose our peace, we are actually game with any suffering, our reaction to it goes beyond the level of the senses and feelings, etc. We get more and more convinced that going through some suffering is doing a lot of good to us and to everybody else.

To train ourselves for this, we might have to actively pursue a plan of what is called as active mortification. We make a list of acts of self-denial and even of corporal mortification like fasting, abstinence and the recourse to ascetical instruments like the cilice and the discipline.

We should be familiar with these instruments that were very useful in ages past. They can be very useful and relevant now given the temper of the times when we live in an environment where self-indulgence is a mainstream practice. We need to recover the use of these instruments since they are effective in curbing our tendency to indulge ourselves.

We have to overcome the apologetic attitude whenever this topic is brought up. It’s not something to be feared or to be ashamed about. It is actually part of the Good News that will bring us a lot of joy.

This truth of our faith should be discussed more often in churches, families, schools and even offices and other workplaces.

From there, let’s hope that this truth gets to be considered seriously in the bigger worlds of business, politics and international relations.