Tag Archives: suffering


How to Make the Greatest Evil in Our Lives Our Greatest Happiness

by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.

Suffering is the great problem of human life. We all have to suffer. Sometimes small sorrows, sometimes greater ones fall to our share. We shall now tell our readers how to avoid much of this suffering, how to lessen all suffering and how to derive great benefits from every suffering we may have to bear. The reason why suffering appears so hard is that, first of all, we are not taught what suffering is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it. Thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering. This is due to the incomprehensible neglect on the part of our teachers. It is surprising how easily some people bear great sufferings; whereas, others get excited even at the smallest trouble. The simple reason is that some have been taught all about suffering; others have not.


First of all, then, suffering is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent.

Why does God allow us to suffer? Simply because He is asking us to take a little share in His Passion. What appears to come by chance or from someone else always comes because God allows it. Every act in Our Lord’s Life was a lesson for us. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. This, then, is the greatest lesson for us. It teaches us that we too must suffer. God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?


Secondly, if we accept the suffering He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we receive the greatest rewards. Five minutes’ suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit the crown of martyrdom. Moreover, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Those who have suffered are usually the most charming people. If we bear these facts clearly in mind, it certainly becomes much easier to suffer.


Thirdly, when God gives us any suffering, He always gives us strength to bear it, if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt. It is this excitement and impatience that really make suffering hard to bear. Consider that we are now speaking of all suffering, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, disappointments, every day of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest rewards.


Even the greater sufferings that may fall to our share from time to time become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own impatience, our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundred fold and, besides, robs us of all the merit we could have gained thereby. We see some people pass through a tempest of suffering with the greatest calm and serenity; whereas, others get irritated at the slightest annoyance or disappointment. We can all learn this calm and patience. It is the secret of happiness. An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told them that he owed all his great success in life to the simple fact that he had corrected his habit of impatience and annoyance, which had been destroying all his energy and activity. Everyone, we repeat, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity.


We must all do penance for our sins. If we do not, we shall have long years of suffering in the awful fires of Purgatory. This fire is just the same as the fire of Hell. Now, if we offer our sufferings the very little ones as well as the greater ones-in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we are doing the easiest and best penance we can perform. We may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, while at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings.

Let us remember clearly that:

1) Sufferings come from God for our benefit.

2) When we are in the state of grace, we derive immense merit from every suffering borne patiently, even the little sufferings of our daily lives.

3) God will give us abundant strength to bear our sufferings if we only ask Him.

4) If we bear our sufferings patiently, they lose their sting and bitterness.

5) Above all, every suffering is a share in the Passion of Our Lord.

6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory.

7) By bearing our sufferings patiently, we win the glorious crown of martyrdom.

Of course, we may do all in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them. In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundred fold. It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation. We suffer from ill-health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us.


We have a great, great remedy in our hands, that is, prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly asking God to help us to suffer, to console us. or if it pleases Him. to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important. A very eminent doctor, in an able article he recently published in the secular press, says that “Prayer is the greatest power in the world.” He says, “I and my colleagues frequently see that many of our patients, whom we have failed to cure or whose pains we have failed to alleviate, have cured themselves by prayer. I speak now not of the prayers of holy people, but the prayers of ordinary Christians.” We should above all pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us. God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen.

Our Crosses

Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and takeup his cross, and follow me.”Matthew 16:24

I have found that if the things I am doing are hard, there is the possibility I am not doing things right,  but there is also the probability that I am doing the right things. 

This life was not meant to be easy. I use to let things, people, and places get me drunk. And when one loses sight of the end goal you get distracted and caught up in worldy things and pleasures very easily, until they control you. I had the illusion that I could control everything and that it should be done the way I want. This way of thinking was to no one’s benefit. Not even my own. It only served as another reason for me to drink excessively. At least until I got to the point where I didnt care anymore, and I couldnt stop after the first drink.

To quote a twenty-four hour meditation for alcoholics and addicts:

“When you live the right way, things seem to work out well for you. When you live the wrong way, things seem to work out badly for you. You seem to take out of life about what you put into it. If you disobey the laws of nature, the chances are that you will be unhealthy. If you disobey the spiritual and moral laws, the chances are that you will be unhappy. By following the laws of nature and the spiritual laws of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love, you can expect to be reasonably healthy and happy.”

I know that I am only truly happy when I am doing the will of God. Because all good comes from God, I know that what appears good, in the long run often isn’t. The things that are most hard are those that will pay off in eternity. When I let myself become preoccupied with something other than the glory of God each day, such as sloth, lust, or anger, I am focused on myself.

Like a car on the road, I affect the people closest to me with my actions. Everyone ahead of me is gone I cant get through to them, if I slow down everyone behind me does too. I think that is something that hurts me the most about my drinking. I really hurt a lot of people especially my parents. I was selfish my whole life, and I didn’t listen, I have always had the habit of taking the most simple things in life and messing it all up because I got complacent or bored.

I have always battled procrastination or sloth. I have a hard time getting interested into things because everything has lost its shimmer. I have grown up and sobered up and finally see the world for what it really is. Why it has taken me this long when I was told all about it and didn’t listen, I do not know. Right now however,  I can change for the rest of my life.

Part of this change includes an acceptance of His Will for me on a daily basis. When I wake up in the morning I try to get on my knees and offer God every physical, mental, and emotional pain I will have to endure for the day. I do this to say sorry for how I have offended Him and I ask that I may have the grace to know, love, and serve Him that day. There are plenty of tests everyday which I am so thankful for and try to be ever mindful of. The problem in the past was I let these things get to me, when in the end it is the Supreme Judge who will take into consideration our whole life.
Our judgements will be alone with our creator (there will be a general judgement,  and a particular judgment more on them later). We will have to render account for everything before Him trembling and remorseful. When I talk to God, I do so alone, as with most all Catholics I know. This is a reason I do not typically hold hands with others when I pray. I think it takes the attention of what YOU want to say to God and puts it on…well holding hands.

I could write a few pages on the Sign of the Cross, but as most know, Catholics make it before and after prayer and some many times a day. The reason we do this in short, is because  everything should be done or said, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost”, and the cross that is made with our hand is in respect to the tool used for our salvation. To ever remind us that Jesus died for our sins. I never understood why so many people make fun of this holy and sacred act. Given the immense power it has had in healing and miracles,  its all out there, people just have to read.  There are countless testimonials of saints lives, exorcisms, and everyday living that illustrate the power of the Sign of the Cross. Again, it’s out of respect and reverence for Our Creator and Saviour, nothing else.

When I keep in mind that all the sins and sufferings will help me become better at the virtues; it makes dealing with life on life’s terms a whole lot more bearable. When I can  put my needs and wants to death and sacrifice as much as I can to show charity to someone even if they hate everything I stand for, my trials and tribulations are all worth surmounting

You only live once, and those decisions echoe for eternity. Pick up your cross and smile,  walk with The Lord awhile.

God Bless BJS!!