Once when I was going through a difficult time in life, a priest told me to offer up my suffering for the holy souls in purgatory or for a friend or loved one. I hadn’t thought …
Once when I was going through a difficult time in life, a priest told me to offer up my suffering for the holy souls in purgatory or for a friend or loved one. I hadn’t thought about doing that prior to talking to my priest, but it made perfect sense. In 1917 our Blessed Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Portago (Jacinta, Lucinda and Francisco). Our lady visited the children from May through October of 1917. One of her strongest messages to the children was to intercede for sinners by praying and offering penance for all sinners. Our lady also asked the children to pray and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary which encompasses Christ’s birth, his ministries, his death and resurrection. Meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary brings to light life and suffering of Christ and his blessed mother. Who did Christ suffer for but all of us. He offered his life for our salvation. Since the punishment of sin is death, Christ took on our sins by suffering and dying for our sins. So, it’s not surprising that his blessed mother asked the children to offer up prayers and suffering for sinners.
Saint Paul talked about offering up his suffering for the good of others in Colossians 1:24-28: “Brothers and sisters: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.” We can follow Saint Paul’s teaching and offer up all our daily sufferings big or small to the Lord and for his people as a form of intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayers are very strong, and God hears us as we intercede for others. Remember Abraham and how he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham that the sins of those cities were great, and he had heard the cry of the people against Sodom and Gomorrah but Abraham interceded for the sinners and the Lord heard him.
We all have daily sufferings that may be work related, family related, friend related, church related or it may even be caused by someone we don’t even know, like when we are traveling or at a restaurant. Instead of wondering why is it me that suffers with a broken marriage, loss of job, a straying child, illness or family difficulties, we can be like Saint Paul and offer our suffering for the sake of others. It’s not an easy task, but if we just say, “Lord I offer up my pain and suffering to be united with the suffering you endured on the cross for the redemption of sinners,” then our problems seem less burdensome. When we offer up our suffering as a form of prayer for others then we are doing works of spiritual mercy. It is like doing mission work without having to travel to far away places.
We might think we are too insignificant to intercede for others and say, “Who am I to pray and offer my suffering for the good of others?” That’s the evil one putting thoughts of unworthiness in our minds. Don’t forget you are the child of the most high God who created the universe. God says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). You are his favorite child regardless of what your sins may be. He loves you and wants you to return to him and by offering up your daily sufferings, you are honoring him. So don’t let difficulties in life bring you down, instead offer everything up to the Lord. When you have a cold and have to work a 12 hour shift, then say, “Lord I work for you and offer up my pain for the terminally ill.” Or if someone was rude and mean to you then say, “Lord I offer up my hurt feelings for those who are persecuted or are struggling with an addiction.” As we offer our hardships to the Lord throughout the day, we are praying and staying in communion with our heavenly father. Our heavenly father will not ignore our little prayers and he will send his angels to assist us and relieve our burdens.