- State of consistent, or noticeable pain or discomfort, generally caused by one or several causes.
- to suffer- to be in pain or discomfort.
- The process whereby one goes through emotional, physical or spiritual angish, pain, discomfort, or disease.
- The channel of God’s communication, methods, and love- whereby he gains our attention as to our fallen state.
Problem of pain
C.S. Lewis believed that suffering, while in his opinion an “evil”, was designed to be a warning system, whereby the unbeliever and believer alike realize their unfortunate separation from the perfection of God.
Caring pain - Marc Aupiais
Grace could allow suffering to aid salvation. This makes suffering an act of Love, whereby what seems infinite and unbearable, and horrid, is in fact, in truth- not a harm, yet like medicine, a benefit to the spiritual, a birthing of eternal happiness, and the extension of the voice of truth.
It also allows us to understand better the love of God, best understood by those who themselves have suffered. Many of the saints (if not all) became so Holy in their meditation of the pain and suffering of their predecessors, or of the Lord, Father- God- Yahweh, in the form of the Child- Jesus.
Marc Aupiais- Suffering
Suffering and pain are not contrary to the goodness of the Almighty, yet intrinsic to his nature. These are present yet but that his love involves suffering, as love is in nature both suffering and long-suffering. The ultimate act of love is an act of sacrifice. The ancients, whose God did not need food, understood that sacrifice was a sign of love, in that love gives of self. In est, it could be said that yet suffering exists, yet that created being may aid his fellow creation, who is in lesser circumstance than him, and thereby mimic the nature of God, giving of self, or of domain, that another may have comort, relief, or the hope of a gesture. Suffering is the ultimate act of love, and should always be dedicated either to God or others.
Of notice to the child of God as to suffering
Suffering- This nature of God, who is love is best shown in the adversity, and pain endured by Christ, and demanded of all Christians, especially via Stations of The Cross, which demands that the Catholic receives every such challenge as a sacrifice he is to dedicate to his creator, or the goodness of his fellows, so far as it is unpreventable, and as love demands on conscience.
“Suffering” often prevents greater harm, even eternal harm, and is necessary to salvaion- creating love, and often allowing grater harm to be avoided, or allowing grave harm to be stopped.
Self mortification, as demanded of Christians, even after Vatican II, on Fridays- sometimes still takes the form of a fast, such as not eating meat, or shellfish on Friday (as is demanded by some bishops in their diocese). It is purposeful, and beneficial, as personal suffering in some forms, becomes a personal sacrifice to God, and edifies the Christian salvation.
Harm of inadequate cure
It is not true that suffering is to only be cured in the body- rather- it always has further purpose, whether circumstantial, or pertaining to salvation itself with venial or grave dangers. Evil people, however their evil is used, and all things are used by our God for good in the end, are still punished, and should be punished, because the good of God does not excuse their harm.
John Paul, on suffering notes
“In fact, over the course of the centuries the Church has felt strongly that service to the sick and suffering is an integral part of her mission, and not only has she encouraged among Christians the blossoming of various works of mercy, but she has also established many religious institutions within her with the specific aim to fostering, organizing, improving and increasing help to the sick Missionaries, on their part, in carrying out the work of evangelization have constantly combined the preaching of the Good News with the help and care of the sick.”http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_11021985_dolentium-hominum_en.html (John Paul II)
Bible on suffering
Suffering is considered a reward, so far as it is not deserved by stupidity or sin(I Peter chapter II verse 18 - 25), for which He sometimes also gives it (Hebrews 11, I corinthins chapters 10, 11). Evil people may avoid suffering here, but are paid for it in another life. Even purgatory shows this vitalness of suffering (see Job 24)
Suffering is a devine mission, so far as it is beneficial, and Godly. It is the centre of Christian salvation, and meditation, in that wisely chosen, or devinely ordained Godly suffering brings salvation (Isaiah 53). This does not mean that the Christian should accept any suffering, but only some suffering.
Catechism on suffering
“1499 “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.”97 “
“516 Christ’s whole earthly life - his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed hismanner of being and speaking - is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: “Whoever has seenme has seen the Father“, and the Father can say: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”177 Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father’s will, even the leastcharacteristics of his mysteries manifest “God’s love. . . among us”.178 … 518 Christ’s wholelife is a mystery of recapitulation. All Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoringfallen man to his original vocation:”
“1500 Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted inhuman life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.
1501 Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt againstGod. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is notessential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for Godand a return to him.
1502 The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before Godthat he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he imploreshealing.98 Illness becomes a way to conversion; God’s forgiveness initiates the healing.99 It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulnessto God according to his law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.”100 The prophetintuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others.101 FinallyIsaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense andheal every illness.102
“516 Christ’s whole earthly life - his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed hismanner of being and speaking - is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: “Whoever has seenme has seen the Father“, and the Father can say: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”177 Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father’s will, even the leastcharacteristics of his mysteries manifest “God’s love. . . among us”.178“
54. How did God create the universe?
God created the universe freely with wisdom and love. The world is not the result of any necessity, nor of blind fate, nor of chance. God created “out of nothing” (ex nihilo) (2Maccabees 7:28) a world which is ordered and good and which he infinitely transcends. God preserves his creation in being and sustains it, giving it the capacity to act and leading it toward its fulfillment through his Son and the Holy Spirit.
55. What is divine providence?
Divine Providence consists in the dispositions with which God leads his creatures toward their ultimate end. God is the sovereign Master of his own plan. To carry it out, however, he also makes use of the cooperation of his creatures. For God grants his creatures the dignity of acting on their own and of being causes for each other.
56. How do we collaborate with divine Providence?
While respecting our freedom, God asks us to cooperate with him and gives us the ability to do so through actions, prayers and sufferings, thus awakening in us the desire “to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
57. If God is omnipotent and provident, why then does evil exist?
To this question, as painful and mysterious as it is, only the whole of Christian faith can constitute a response. God is not in any way - directly or indirectly - the cause of evil. He illuminates the mystery of evil in his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose in order to vanquish that great moral evil, human sin, which is at the root of all other evils.
58. Why does God permit evil?
Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil. This was realized in a wondrous way by God in the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, from the greatest of all moral evils (the murder of his Son) he has brought forth the greatest of all goods (the glorification of Christ and our redemption).”
Quotations on Suffering
The random massive destruction of a hurricane or earthquake can look meaningless. Worse, it can look monumentally unfair. Poverty has already wreaked havoc on the Caribbean Islands: Do they really need a hurricane on top of it?
But not only is this world not the only one that exists – suffering is a prerequisite for entrance into a far better world.
The Catholic faith uniquely understands the place of suffering in the human experience – and the divine experience.
Our church began with the crucifixion of its founder, grew during a time of persecution in which its most prominent members were martyred and now requires that each church feature a crucifix in its center and Stations of Cross along its walls.
When God asks us to suffer, he isn’t asking us for something he isn’t willing to do himself. In fact, we believe that God cared so much for our plight, he entered our world as one of us in order to transform our suffering into a pathway to a pain-free, eternal life.
This central truth of our faith transforms tragedies into hopeful occasions, all by itself, because it has the power to transform sudden death into eternal life.
Second: God brings good out of suffering even for the living. “
”From the time of Adam and Eve, man has tried to escape suffering in any form. It is a mystery to all except the holy ones of God. The Prophets saw it as a call from God to repent. The Apostles saw it as “a happy privilege” to imitate Jesus. Pagans saw it as foolishness. Men of today see it as an evil and try to avoid it, but it follows them wherever they go… How many times have we implored God for some favor with great fervor, only to suffer the most crushing disappointment. Months or years later our hearts break out in prayers of thanksgiving when we look back and realize the acquisition of such a “favor” would have been disastrous!“
“There are many ways of serving God in our particular state of life. We mention some that are more general and apply to all walks of life. Among these services we can render are: time, talent, suffering, prayer, and material means. One of the most precious gifts God has given us is time. It is a gift that must be traded well. Our eternity may depend on how well it is used. It is a tool in our hands with which we carve the edifice in which we will live for all eternity.”
(article on Godly sufferer- http://www.zenit.org/article-19582?l=english)