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Why Suffer?

This is a question we ask ourselves a lot nowadays, isn’t it? After all, with modern medicine and technology, suffering is almost unnecessary (for lack of a better word). Why be uncomfortable? Why deny yourself anything?

Now, before I really get into this, let me clarify something. I’m not knocking modern medicine here. I’m not saying that advancements in the way we care for our health are not important and I’m not saying that they aren’t blessings for us. That is way beyond my point.

Here’s my point: With all of these comforts available to us, we’ve lost sight of the value of suffering. (And yes, suffering does indeed have a value.) We no longer approach suffering from the Christian perspective, as redemptive, we approach it from the world’s perspective, as an inconvenience, an obstacle to happiness. Do we avoid suffering like the plague?
When pain comes our way, do we offer that up to God for the Church or other souls, or do we immediately seek a way to end our suffering?

But why does suffering have value in the eyes of a Christian? Because Our Lord suffered for us…because we are the value of suffering. The value of suffering can be the immortal souls of others. It is because Jesus suffered for us that we can be called the children of God. So how can we, as Christians, do anything other than embrace the crosses of suffering that will surely come during our lives?

So…why suffer? Because we know, through Jesus’ example, that suffering has value. We know that suffering doesn’t separate us from God; rather, it draws us closer to Him and makes us more like Jesus.

If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain. Do you want to become a great saint? Ask God to send you many sufferings. The flame of Divine Love never rises higher than when fed with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite charity of the Savior used to finish His sacrifice. All the pleasures of the world are nothing compared with the sweetness found in the gall and vinegar offered to Jesus Christ. That is, hard and painful things endured for Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ.
-Saint Ignatius of Loyola
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