/> Raising Angels: The Gift of Suffering

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Gift of Suffering

The first reading in the Catholic Church today is from Job. Even if you have never read the Bible, you know about Job. If given one word to describe him, we might all say 'suffering'.

Mackenzie caught the last sentence of the reading - I will never again feel happiness. "Mama," she asked curiously, "why will he never feel happiness again?"

I could explain why Job felt the way he did. What was hard to explain was why he had to suffer. It's not something most of us would choose to do. Generally, it is not seen as a good thing. Consequently, the question often arises as to why a God who loves us would allow us to suffer.

It seems, through our worldly eyes, that God is picking on us. There was Job, a faithful servant, who suffered greatly. My uncle, who made his living and found his identiy in being a farmer, who was diagnosed with MS over 15 years ago and has suffered mentally and physically ever since. His wife, my aunt and his caregiver, who was diagnosed about 5 years ago with ALS and died in September. Our pastor, Father Tim, who just lost his mother and father within 54 days of each other.

If you look through spiritual eyes, you may begin to see a slightly different picture. People with faith, and sometimes people who have none, find themselves drawn closer to God during their suffering. Those who come out of their suffering are much stronger than they were prior to it. Those who do not are well prepared for the final journey home.

Father Tim told us that suffering is really Jesus saying to us, "I love you so much that I want you to climb up on this Cross with me." I guess that if Jesus, who was perfect in every way, can suffer for us, the least we can do is offer our suffering up to him.

As parents we spend our lives teaching our children about our faith, right from wrong, and basic things they need to survive. When we have taught them everything we know, we still have one last gift we can leave them. We can teach them how to die with dignity. We can live our final days in such a way that when they come to the end of their lives, they will remember how we ended ours and want to do the same themselves.

I'm not sure I'll ever be at a place where I can ask God to allow me to suffer so that I may be more holy. However, if I ever have to suffer, I hope I do so with grace and dignity. I hope I will be drawn closer to God and by my example draw those around me to Him. I hope I will remember my Aunt Pat and the unbelievable courage she showed during her suffering and death. Honestly though, I hope I die peacefully in my sleep after living a happy life full of health.

Either way, I hope I end up with Jesus.


Blogger Sr. Lorraine said...

Hi Amy,
Thank you for leaving your comments on my blog. I came here to check out your blog, and the pictures of your children and just great! They really are little angels.
God bless you!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

I have worked over 10 summers with the Missionaries of Charity and I have a brother who is now in his 3rd year of seminary. Funny though it may be, I always feel a connection with and a deep respect for people who serve the Lord through their religious vocations. May God bless your service to Him. Can't wait to hear about your retreat!

12:15 AM  

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