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Suffering: How to turn the Greatest Evil into the Greatest Blessing

Suffering: How to Turn the Greatest Evil into the Greatest Blessing

Suffering is the great problem of human life here on earth. We all have to suffer, there is no way around it. Sometimes it’s small sorrows, other times it’s greater ones, but it’s always around us. So how do we avoid suffering? At the very least, how do we lessen it and derive great benefits from what we must endure?

According to Fr. Paul O’Sullivan O.P, the reason why suffering is so hard is because, first of all, we are not taught what suffering actually is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it; and thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering. This is due to a cultural neglect and lack of knowledge of God and faith.

It is surprising how easily some people are able to bear great sufferings, whereas others get excited over the smallest of inconveniences. The simple reason is that some people have been taught all about suffering, while others have not.

Suffering is not the evil we think it is

First, there is something we must all understand. Suffering is not simply an evil. Think about it this way: no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself (who was holy and perfect!), more than His Blessed Mother (who was made without original sin), or more than the Saints (who lived holy lives of virtue). So we can conclude that every suffering comes from or is allowed by God for some reason. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering is allowed to come to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission; not even a hair will fall from our head without His consent.

Why does God allow us to suffer?

Why then does God allow us to suffer? Simply put, because our Lord is asking us to take a little share in His Passion of suffering. Looking at it from that lens changes the whole game doesn’t it? What a blessing it is to accept His offer and to take a little share in His Passion! What appears to come by chance or from someone else, in reality comes because God has allowed it for our greater good. Every act, every decision, every moment in our Lord’s life was a lesson for us. And the greatest act in His life was His Passion.

Suffering, then, is the greatest lesson for us as it teaches us that we too must suffer. If we know this, that we must suffer, then it’s not shocking when we do. Rather, we can understand that it is the will of God for our benefit.

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?

Suffering is the Gold in our Lives

Moreover, if we accept the sufferings that He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we are promised the greatest reward. Five minutes of suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of worldly pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit what is called “the crown of [white] martyrdom.” Furthermore, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Think about it, those who have humbly suffered are usually the most charming people. So if we bear all these facts clearly in mind, it certainly becomes much easier to suffer.

God always gives us strength to bear our sufferings

When God gives us any amount of suffering, He always gives us the strength to bear it … if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt; they take matters into their own hands. It is this excitement and impatience that make suffering hard to bear. Consider now that we are speaking about all sufferings, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, and disappointments everyday of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest of rewards.

How to bear suffering well

Even the greater sufferings that befall us become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience; with the understanding that God has allowed it, and if He has allowed it then He will make something good come from it if we trust Him. What really makes suffering difficult to bear isn’t the suffering in and of itself; but rather our own impatience, our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundredfold and 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. But we can all learn this calm and patience, and we should as it is indeed the secret of happiness.

An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told the group 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 his energy and activity. Everyone, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity!


The Church, Sacred Tradition, as well as holy Scripture make clear that 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 – fire that 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. In so doing, we may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, while at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings.

In sum, 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 only we 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 (what an honor!)
  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 [white] martyrdom.

We may do everything in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering here on earth. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them rightly. In a word, we must understand that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting. The moment we get excited, however, the smallest suffering increases a hundredfold. It’s like having a sore arm or leg. If you rubbed it violently it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if you were to touch it gently you’d soothe (rather than irritate) the situation.

We may suffer today from a variety of different sufferings, ill-health, various pains, headaches, arthritis, accidents, enemies, etc. 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 here on earth. Almighty God could have saved us from all this suffering, but He did not because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us!


We have a great, great remedy in our hands. What is it? Prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly, asking God to help us to suffer better, to console us, or if it pleases Him, to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important – and it is all done through prayer.

A very eminent doctor recently said, “Prayer is the greatest power in the world.” He continued by saying, “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.”

Above all, we should pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all of our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us here on earth with and through our tribulations. God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the most 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 as well. No mother on earth ever loved a child as much as Our Blessed Lady loves you. Therefore, in all your troubles and sorrows, go to the Blessed Lady without delay and with unbounded confidence and hope.

The Memorare (a powerful prayer to Mother Mary)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that ne er was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O virgin of virgins, my mother. Tho 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.

See also:
Most Powerful Psalm of Protection: Psalm 91
Ten Best Bible Verses for God to do the Impossible
The Warrior’s Prayer: Putting on the Armor of God
10 Best Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving
19 Best Psalms for Healing
7 Powerful Psalms for a Financial Breakthrough
28 Best Bible Verses for Answered Prayer
Powerful Prayer for a Miracle
The Warriors Prayer: Putting on the Armor of God
3 Powerful Psalms for Forgiveness
19 Most Powerful Psalms for Healing
18 Best Bible Verses for Financial Prosperity

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