Prison Ministry Nov 2014
Today I’m going to talk to you about suffering. Suffering is a gift from God. When we accept suffering gratefully and gracefully we’re given the opportunity to unite our suffering to the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. That’s what Jesus meant when he told us to take up our cross and follow him. Matthew 16:24
My suffering, my cross is small compared to what many people suffer. I hope I can get into heaven carrying this little cross. One wonders how God rates the different crosses we’re given to bear. By the severity of our suffering or our submission and acceptance of our cross? Our merciful and compassionate God sees into our hearts and will judge us fairly. Again, I say suffering is a gift from God as God favors some with greater suffering than others.
Here are four questions for you:
How do we know God loves us?
How do we know God is merciful and compassionate?
How do we know God forgives our sins and wants us to be with Him in heaven?
What is the greatest thing God has done for mankind?
I repeat. What is the greatest thing God has done for mankind?
Jesus! The answer to all four questions is Jesus. God gave us Jesus. That’s why the name of Jesus can bring us back from a painful spiritual death. The name of Jesus gives us new life making us spiritually healthier than we were before. Jesus is the key to our happiness. Don’t ever forget how much Jesus loves us! Jesus loves us so much He died for us.
If we ask God, God will give us the grace to accept suffering when suffering comes to us. When we accept suffering, we let God know our faith and trust in Him is strong. We must have faith and trust in God if we want to receive our inheritance of eternal life. Faith and trust go together. In other words, in order to show our faith in God, we must trust God unconditionally.
I know the devil want’s to destroy my trust in Jesus. It took me so many years to completely trust Jesus. I’m not letting the devil take this trust away from me! If suffering helps me show my love and trust for Our Lord, I desire to keep it.
The way I deal with the devil is to keep this adversary of mankind away the best way I know how. How do I keep the devil away? I go to Mass and receive Jesus in Holy Eucharist every day if possible. I endeavor to keep God’s Commandants and love my neighbor. I go to Confession often. It’s necessary and beneficial to pray every day, including the Rosary. It’s also a good idea to learn to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Here’s a warning. The devil takes advantage of us when we suffer, when we are going through a bad time. The devil knows that in times of suffering we are most vulnerable and the father of lies will try to turn us away from God. The devil can’t touch us if we wholeheartedly accept our suffering and unite it with the suffering and death of Christ.
Here’s some life saving advice: When the devil tempts you and tries to destroy your faith and tries to destroy your trust in Jesus, call upon the Holy Spirit immediately! It’s never a good idea to talk to the devil even if you’re trying to get rid of this enemy of your soul. Instead quickly say, “Come Holy Spirit Come! The Holy Spirit knows why you called and will get rid of the devil for you.
I like to I repeat what Father Eric told us about suffering one time during Mass:
“If we want to know what the future will be like look to Jesus. What has been given to Jesus will be given to us as well. His suffering and joy. If we accept the suffering, we will receive the joy of heaven.”
The Saints knew this. That’s why they’re Saints. Many of the Saints suffered greatly. I thought about this and realized that though many of the Saints suffered, they’re suffering was long ago and is long over. Now these Saints are in heaven for all eternity. This glory is what the Saints want for us as well.
PRAY for the grace to accept whatever God gives you. If we pray, God will give us the grace to endure suffering for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Friends of Jesus Christ, drink of his bitter cup and your friendship with him will increase. Suffer with him and you will be glorified with him. Suffer patiently and your momentary suffering will be changed into an eternity of happiness. Make no mistake about it, since Incarnate Wisdom had to enter heaven by the Cross, you also must enter by the same way,” Saint Louis De Montfort. See? This is what Father Eric also told us about suffering!
Thomas Kempis from his book Imitation of Christ wrote, “No matter which way you turn you will always find the Cross! …you can carry it cheerfully or you may carry it impatiently and unwillingly.” And then Thomas Kempis warns those who carry their Cross unwillingly may find themselves in this situation from the book Wisdom 5:7 “We have labored and suffered in the world and after it all, here we are with the damned.”
So what does that mean? Those who didn’t accept their cross, those who didn’t see their suffering as a gift from God might not be in heaven? There’s no way for us to know. but we do know of the promises of Jesus. The hope Jesus gave us to live with Him forever. “Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer... Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10