The last couple of weeks I’ve been listening to an audio series by Jeff Cavins called the Mystery of Suffering. I’ve mentioned it before as my spiritual pep talk before labor and childbirth. In the third tape, he lists 15 things to do in the midst of suffering. He reminds us that when we understand suffering, we bring relief to those who suffer.
These 15 things are the things I find most helpful in offering up the pains of childbirth. I don’t think I would suffer as well if I didn’t have specific people and situations to pray for. Knowing that I am going to suffer brings me great mental suffering at times. But knowing that united to Jesus, my suffering can bring redemption and relief to others gives me a great deal of peace and strength. So if you have any prayer requests for me, it would give me great joy to offer up my suffering for your prayer intentions. If you don’t want to share them publicly, please email me your intentions off line.
15 things to do in the midst of suffering
1. Realize we’ve been called to participate in the redemption of the world–to participate in loving the world. “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” Col 1:24 and in Rom 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
2. Entrust ourselves to God. 1 Peter 2:21-23 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” And in 1 Peter 4:19, “those who suffer in accord with God’s will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good.” Tell our blessed Lord, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
3. Unite our will to the will of God. Do this through conscious prayer.
4. Realize that Jesus will not allow us to go through anything that we cannot handle. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9
5. Embrace the suffering conscious that God’s grace is present, active and effective. Call upon the Sacraments–Eucharist, Confession, and Marriage.
6. Go to Confession often and eliminate the sin that weakens our relationship with God
7. Participate during Mass when the gifts are being brought up–unite our offering and let Christ transform it and raise it up.
8. Avoid illegitimate suffering–don’t put ourselves in situations that we know we will suffer and don’t draw attention to ourselves. Suffer like our Master.
9. Think of others and offer our suffering up for them. 2 Cor 1:6 “If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.”
10. Actively love by doing what is right according to your vocation. It is through suffering with grace that good fathers become great fathers, and good mothers become great mothers.
11. Pray the rosary.
12. Study the saints–the people who were perfect.
13. Rejoice that you can share in the redemption of the world.
14. Keep an eternal perspective.
15. Trust God for the good of your suffering.