by Aubry Rose

Light at LourdesWarning: rambling post.

I was so grateful for this little faith epiphany moment that I had the other day (as in like two weeks ago, but whatever we all know I’m not the world’s best blogger).

I guess in different seasons God reveals things to you in a way you have never seen it before. That’s why Scripture is called the “living word.”

The whole topic of ‘suffering’ is incredibly complex and mysterious and sometimes we weak little humans need to admit defeat that we will never fully understand certain things, but I am happy to explain things to someone outside of the blogosphere if you are totally confused after reading my post — just contact me here and we will set up a little date. Unfortunately I find talking on the phone a big pain in my arse (I think it comes with surviving a long distance relationship + trying to remain connected with all my friends who live between infinity and beyond) BUT I will lovingly make exceptions if you don’t happen to live at the same longitude/latitude point as me.

I have had a lot of crazy things going on with my body recently – the worst of it being a yucky case of shingles-induced facial paralysis on my right side (prayers appreciated, always!) and not every moment has been very easy. I felt defeated many times over the past month, especially when my facial paralysis was real bad. (It has gotten SO MUCH better, praise the Lord! And praise the Lord for a husband who put up with my moping.)

Through it all, I’ve tried my best to offer my suffering up, and give it to God as a small slice of humble pie. How does that work, one might ask? I’ve tried to explain this to people who don’t adhere to Christianity (and I suppose, in particular, Catholicism, because, well, I’m Catholic), and it’s quite difficult, but I’ll do my best here…

We believe that just as Jesus gave his life for us on the cross and God took that suffering and pain of Jesus as a gift to redeem the world, so also can we offer our pains and sufferings and trials up to God as a sacrifice and small gift. Rather than complain and feel sorry for ourselves, we can see suffering as a gift from God, something that unites us to Jesus on the cross, and his mission of salvific redemption. And we can even humbly offer our suffering up for particular intentions or people, asking God to take it and use it for His good and glory.

I know, I know, so incomprehensible and confusing. And so very hard to explain in a few short words, but I tried.

And I have given many offerings to God over the past however many years that my faith life has been much more mature than the total lack of understanding I had as a newly-confirmed high school student. Which, by the way, if you feel like your understanding of the Catholic Church has been pretty stagnant since Confirmation, or perhaps you believe the Church is a misogynistic cult that is totally old-fashioned, I challenge you to seek out greater understanding with an open mind, because it will actually change your life. I mean, really. When was the last time you looked up in the sky asked the question, What is truth?People were freaked the heck out on the Camino when I would ask them questions like this, as if I was speaking a foreign language. I remember one particular Irish bloke who started walking really fast — “Bye!” Or another question to ponder… “Is everything relative in this world and subjected to people’s personal beliefs, or are there objective rights and wrongs?” or maybe even… “What does the Church actually teach? Maybe it’s different than what I read about in the angry comment section of the internet.” Try asking those questions daily and seeking out the answer. Because why wouldn’t you want to know the truth? If there is truth that exists… then I sure as heck don’t want to be the one passively living in the lie.

As I was saying though (I’m getting on a tangent), I have done my best to offer small sacrifices of suffering to God. It may not be much, but then again, compared to God, everything is small and not much. I mean, honestly. I am a tiny little speck in this vast universe. Yet, what is truly incomprehensible is that what I do does matter. He loves us so much that he actually cares a lot about us.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

I’m getting on tangents again, though. Let me try to get back to my point.

So often I offer my suffering up to God, and ask for grace to come into someone’s life through it. Through my small little gift to God. But I have never really thought about it before as an opportunity to make amends for Jesus’s suffering.

What I mean by that is that Jesus, unfortunately, is defamed and humiliated every day. Examples: “God, what she was wearing was ridiculous!” or “Oh my god! Blah blah blah.” And to go into really dark territory, satanists really do exist, and black masses actually take place. Pretty intense testimony here if you’re interested.

So, yea, Jesus suffers, and deserves remorse. Because he gave his life for us. Because he’s Lord. Because he loves us. Because we humans trample the crap out of him every day.

Padre Pio was an incredible, incredible holy man, and in this amazinggggg book that I’m currently reading, we find out that Padre Pio would PRAY to suffer more greatly. In a moment of intense conversation with Christ in prayer, he cried out to God, “I want to help You… Can’t You make me strong?… Have they committed many offenses against You lately?… Make it possible for me to help You with that heavy, heavy cross… I am weak… but to support You if nothing else…” etc. etc. you get the point. I don’t know about you, but MY MIND WAS BLOWN by this attitude that Padre Pio possessed thanks to infinite amounts of grace, because that is like, not normal, peoples. That’s why he’s a saint and I’m still on level 1 of the game of sainthood.

Padre Pio desired to offer himself as a “victim of divine love,” to suffer with Christ to win souls. Jesus reveals to Padre Pio in prayer “that by the grace of Christ he can be enabled to participate in the sufferings of Christ so as to be able to assist him in his work of redemption.”

I read this in the middle of my super frustration with my face not working properly, and just straight up feeling like poo, and it really turned me on my head. It opened my eyes yet again in a new way to the honor suffering awards those who offer it to the Lord as a small gift to make amends for the wounds he bears daily — from us, and for us. Amen!