Sometimes it’s hard to make sense out of suffering, especially when you’re in the midst of it. Fortunately, Catholic theology teaches that our suffering doesn’t have to be wasted. By uniting our pain with the suffering of Christ, we can share in his mission of redemption. Saint Paul writes:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church. (Colossians 1:24)
Here’s what I wrote about this verse in Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Paul was in no way insinuating that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was incomplete. Christ did exactly what was required to redeem us. As members of the mystical body of Christ (the Church), however, you and I have been given the privilege of helping him with his mission, and one of the ways we do this is by offering up our sufferings. Paul understands the value of suffering. He rejoices not because he enjoys the pain, but because he knows he is helping Jesus.
It’s a hard concept to wrap your brain around, but it can give you the peace you seek. If you’re suffering right now don’t waste it. Even if you’re not “feeling it”, give your suffering to Jesus and ask him to use it.
I guarantee he will.