As a young girl, I suffered from migraines. My mom often got a call from the school nurse telling her I was in the office lying down with a headache. I remember my mom working tirelessly to find solutions. She took me to weekly chiropractor visits, had me cut chocolate from my diet, and even suggested having my tonsils removed. Unfortunately, I still suffer from migraines. To this day, anytime I complain of a headache, I hear my mother’s voice telling me to ‘offer it up.’
Because we live in a sinful and fallen world, suffering is inevitable. St. John Paul II once said, “Don’t waste your suffering.” When we 'offer it up,' our suffering purifies our hearts, unites us with Jesus, and can be an offering for the salvation of souls. By accepting the invitation to unite our suffering with Christ’s passion, our suffering takes on redemptive power!
Jesus does not want us to suffer alone. He desires to take our pain upon Himself so that our suffering and his suffering are one and the same. The Catechism tells us, “By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.” (CCC 1505)
Chronic illness, financial strain, loss of a loved one, or mental illness come to mind when I think of suffering. I forget that the small, day-to-day sufferings also matter. God has the time and desire to handle our minor inconveniences throughout the day. God will use any size of spiritual, emotional, and physical suffering. We may never know how our offering gets dispersed, but we know that our redemptive oblation does not go to waste.
Next time you experience a red traffic light, a runny nose, a stubbed toe, a messy house, a bad hair day, or a sleepless night, do not let your suffering go to waste and offer it up.
I will leave you with a quote from St. Theressa of Calcutta, “Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”
Until next time, your sister in Christ,