2017-38 Suffering and Love

Is there any sense in suffering?

St. John Paul II, who had experience with the great cross of suffering, wrote that “in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person internally close to Christ, a special grace”.

St. John Paul II, who had experience with the great cross of suffering, wrote that “in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person internally close to Christ, a special grace. […] as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. […] It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy” (Salvifici doloris, 26).

The Lord God has revealed to us that suffering and death are the consequences of original sin (Gen 3:1-19). The first people stopped believing God; they believed Satan and as a result found themselves subject to suffering, death, and slavery to the power of evil.

In order to wrest humanity away from slavery to Satan, sin, and death, God became true man, and took upon Himself the suffering and death of all persons: “Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: […] he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins” (Is 53:4-5). Jesus Christ through His suffering and death on the cross bore the consequences of the sins of all mankind. Rising from the dead, He freed humanity from slavery to Satan, overcame all sin, defeated death, and made it possible for all human suffering united to His suffering on the cross to become a road to salvation, a source of amazing grace, and participation in His suffering for the salvation of the world.

If a person rebels and fails to surrender his suffering to Jesus, it becomes for him at that point a power that can destroy his whole life

Suffering makes sense only in unity with Jesus. It is God Himself who suffers with every sick, suffering person, in each of the millions of human beings living in misery and debasement, brutally exploited, dying from hunger, suffering from torture and terrorism. Only people of deep faith can recognize this shocking reality of God’s love, which suffers along with mankind. It is when a person looks with faith at the cross of Christ and unites his suffering to Jesus’ suffering for the salvation of the world, that he discovers the joyful truth that the suffering that he endures becomes a grace, a great blessing, and a path to growing in love and to eternal life in heaven.

“If we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him” (Rom 8:17); “if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Pet 4:13). Uniting ourselves to the suffering Christ, surrendering our own suffering to Him, we discover that the suffering which affects us is a great gift and grace and signifies our participation in the suffering of Christ for the salvation of the world. If a person rebels and fails to surrender his suffering to Jesus, it becomes for him at that point a power that can destroy his whole life.

Joanne’s testimony helps us to understand that when suffering affects us, it is Jesus who is the first to carry our burden; that it is only a small fraction of His suffering for the salvation of the world. Joanne speaks to each of us; accept all suffering as a gift from the Lord God; don’t rebel, but rather thank Him for the difficult experience and offer your suffering to Jesus, join in His suffering for the salvation of the world.

“Do not be afraid of sufferings; I am with you” (Diary 151)

The Lord Jesus says: “There is no way to heaven except by the way of the cross. I followed it first” (Diary 1487); “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone” (Diary 1767); “Even though your sufferings were very great, do not lose heart or give in to despondency […] reveal all the wounds of your heart; I will heal them, and your suffering will become a source of your sanctification” (Diary 1487); “There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to my suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them” (Diary 324); “Help me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners” (Diary 1032); “You shall accept all suffering with love. Do not be afflicted if your heart often experiences repugnance and dislike for sacrifices. All its power rests in the will, and so these contrary feelings, far from lowering the value of the sacrifice, in My eyes will enhance it. Know that your body and soul will often be in the midst of fire. Although you will not feel my presence on some occasions, I will always be with you. Do not fear, My grace will be with you” (Diary 1767); “Now rest your head on My bosom, on My heart and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings because you will find neither relief, nor help, nor comfort anywhere else” (Diary 36).

Permit Jesus to heal you

In order for Jesus to have access to your heart, to treat and heal it, you must fulfill the following conditions:

1. Tear yourself away from all sins definitively, since they are the source of all your misfortunes.

2. Trust in God and in His boundless mercy. The Lord Jesus says: “The greater a person’s misery, the greater his right to my mercy”. Acknowledge all your sins to Jesus in the sacrament of confession, and receive Him in the Eucharist, as well as in the anointing of the sick.

3. Forgive everyone everything; hold no grudge against anyone.

4. If you were involved in any kind of occultism, if you received any bioenergy therapy, it is essential to break all connections to the powers of evil which work through these practices.

5. Pray the rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily, read scripture, and, if possible, attend the Holy Eucharist and adoration of the Lord Jesus present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

Offer your suffering for the intention of the conversion of sinners, for persecuted Christians, for your homeland, and for the call of new priests and religious. We also ask for your prayers and offerings of suffering for the evangelization of missionary countries through “Love One Another!” magazine, which we publish in 23 different languages.