This was not the Blog I had planned for this AM but our Deacon Dave wrote in the church bulletin about a subject I have been talking about ever since I had breast cancer in 2001 or 2001. My mother used to say this to me, it may be a Catholic way of praying that goes back hundreds of years, but it makes sense. OFFER IT UP…offer your suffering up for another, here it is:
“I remember when I was much younger when I would stub my toe, get a cut on my finger, had a stomach ache, or just plain felt ill, my mother said I should, ‘offer it up.’ I often wondered just what that meant. Through the years, I would use those those words often, but her meaning never really sunk in deeply until I had encountered other types of sufferings later on in life.
Her explanation still rings in my ears. “Offer up your pain and suffering to God as a sacrifice.” My reply was often, ‘to what? For what?’ The teachings of the Church had not been firmly embedded in me at the time. I had no heard of ‘REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING’and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have understood it fully.
In short, redemptive suffering is attaching whatever pain, suffering, or discomfort you may have to Christ’s suffering on the cross for relief for the souls in Purgatory, for the specific relief of someone else’s pain and suffering, or given to God to be used as He sees fit.
It isn’t that Christ did not suffer enough, so that he needs our miseries to be added to his: it is just that he allows us to be part of the healing out of pure love. The simplest and clearest analogy I’ve heard is that of a mother, baking a chocolate cake in the kitchen. She has everything she needs and doesn’t need anything or anyone else to help. In comes her little three year old daughter who says, ‘Mumma, can I help?’ And love receives. Love doesn’t say, ‘No thanks, I have enough, goodbye.’ So mother says, ‘Sure, honey.’ and the little girl throws in her attempt with a half beaten egg and mess of flower.
Shift gears. God doesn’t NEED our help. But if we offer our painful feet, our pesky cold, our cancer , our heart problems, our annoyance with the person who just cut us off in traffic to God and say, ‘GOD, PLEASE TAKE THIS___________as a gift and unite it to your suffering on the cross. Use it for.._____________or whatever way you wish.’ That is making the best possible use of suffering. WHY WASTE IT?”
And there you have it. WHY WASTE IT? Don’t think this is easy. Sometime the pain and suffering is so much you can’t think…teach others in your family to help you think about “Offering it up” when you are in extreme suffering that never seems to end. This is what is so wrong and so hard about assisted suicide, which is so wrong, and devastating, but sometime may seem the only answer for you or those who love you. Remember GOD HAS A PLAN, so offer up your suffering for someone who is worse off than you. Teach your family to do the same things. It does mater, God does listen, He does have a plan for you and He is in control. (Suffering on this earth may get you straight to heaven, we won’t know until we get there)
PRAYER; Heavenly Father, you cannot be outdone in generosity, for you have given us the gift of life in the Spirit. Give us the grace to be open to this gift, that we may serve you and our brothers and sisters. Through Christ our Lord. Amen