Monday, March 24, 2008

The gift of suffering

This weekend's "Intercession for Life" in our parish bulletin struck me:

Let us pray to the Lord for all who are sick, but especially for those who are dying, that we might open our hearts to the gift of their suffering.
Wow. I am used to praying for the sick and dying - that they might be healed, that they might be comforted, that they might be welcomed into Heaven. I am NOT used to praying that I might recognize their suffering as a gift and allow it to change my heart.

Maybe God is trying to tell me something here? I welcome your thoughts and experiences...

3 comments:

Bill Donaghy said...

Hi guys,

I often think of suffering as a kind of fire that burns up what's selfish in me. It strips away the comforts and the cushions I've built up in my life and gets things down to the bare bones again, where I can see just what's most important.... which is always three things: God, others and me and the trinity of our relationships. So it is a gift I think, but we don't always see the gift in the "present" if you know what I mean ;)

Peace,
Bill

Frances said...

Thanks for sharing your insight, Bill. I think I understand this better now. Suffering - our own and that of others - definitely has the potential to purify our lives, our attachments, and our desires. Painful process, at times, but we feel much lighter in the end - much freer to "fly" unto God.

Frances

Adam said...

After reading this post again, I find the idea of the "gift of suffering" to be one of unity with God. When we suffer, it generally causes us to cry out to God for help and comfort. Less common is prayer of thanksgiving for the times when we do not suffer.

Perhaps these people are being drawn to God through their suffering, and thus, their suffering, although tragic, is that much more glorious because they are afforded a relationship with our Lord.

It can also be a gift for those who know the suffering, drawing them closer to God on behalf of the suffering, as well as potentially bringing family together or uniting those who have been out of contact with the suffering.

God bless
Adam