Understanding Suffering Like the Saints Did

I’d like to share a few lines from an enlightening article titled “On Suffering” which I read today at Catholic Bandita:

As iron is fashioned by fire and on the anvil, so in the fire of suffering and under the weight of trials, our souls receive that form which our Lord desires them to have.
–St. Madeline Sophie Barat

A lot of Catholics view suffering as a sign of God’s displeasure–like a form of punishment. Understanding suffering like the saints did is something we should be striving for. Many have this notion that those who experience troubles and afflictions in their lives do not have God’s favor upon them. But the truth is, suffering is an essential part of our spiritual journey. As the Blessed St. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:12-13: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

May our sufferings bring us joy and stronger faith and not cause us to turn away from God. Catholics should keep in mind that we have a loving God who providentially orchestrate all things for our greater good. Understanding suffering like the saints did is obviously not easy, but try to remember that God is not abandoning you when you are struggling. Struggle is a part of the journey just as much as happiness is.