Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

I hope and pray that everyone is doing reasonably well after our little dance with Sally. What a year, huh? COVID-19, great civil unrest, worry about the economic impact from those, and now Sally. I know many of us are feeling like this string of events is straight out of the Book of Revelation.
I think everyone has suffered some loss, and some have suffered great loss. I am sorry for you. Please know that you are in my prayers. I think it is important to remind ourselves that God is with us. Suffering is part of the human condition, and I don’t want to tackle the “problem of evil” question in this space. I will be happy to do so in a future offering.
I would like to use this space to propose that there is purpose to the suffering in our lives. Jesus’ suffering on the Cross paid the price for our sin, all of it. St. Paul tells us that he makes up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. Somehow, Paul’s suffering brings God’s grace. Our suffering can be an avenue for God’s grace too, but it isn’t automatic. We can reject the grace and wallow in bitterness, or we can offer our suffering as a gift and unite it to Christ. It is our choice.
But why would my suffering be an occasion for God’s grace to flow. I think the simple answer is love. True love seeks the good of the other. True love willingly and even joyfully suffers for the other. We all know this. We sacrifice for our children, our spouse and others. Love, in its purest form, suffers. So when I suffer for another I am loving as best I can love. Since God IS love, He is inexorably drawn to my acts of sacrificial love and He brings His grace and peace with Him.
Let us unite our suffering to Christ on the Cross and in doing so sanctify our suffering.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at
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