Have you ever been sick, injured, or in pain, and someone says ‘offer it up.’ And you think, “Offer what up?” You mean pay attention to me, I want some sympathy. If you were raised as a Catholic, you are probably used to hearing that phrase, but you may not understand what is being said. If you are a convert, you might be thinking, “I did not sign up for this suffering part. Why do we have to suffer?”
Part of the reason goes back to the beginning with the first sin. We were removed from paradise and were told we would have to work. And work is difficult. We have to earn what we receive. And with that first sin, death entered into the world. Death is a struggle in itself. So we can do everything we can to prevent pain and suffering, which is useless and sure exhaustion in this world. Or we elevate pain and suffering to a spiritual dimension as St. Paul did. He did not seek suffering, but when it came his way, he accepted it, recognizing it as a gift from God that can be offered for the salvation of souls. This gave him a sense of joy so deep that he could rejoice in his suffering.
You and I may not be at that level of acceptance, but I’ve learned over the years that when I feel like my pain and suffering are too much to bear, I realize how many people are worse off than me. I can offer it up. I try not to complain. I suffer in silence. I pray for others who really need my prayers. In my suffering, I can be a person of joy to others. No matter how tired or worn out I may be, I can still help those in need.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen