Skip to content

The Suffering Christian

By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005

How many times have you been aware of some suffering both in your own life or in the life of another and felt that it did not make sense. If you were a good Catholic, then you should be free of suffering. How often do you feel others say the same. Indeed, if you remember the Tsunami, many felt that it was proof that God did not exist. Yet, not only is that not true, the Book of Revelation says that such things would happen and people instead of turning to God, would curse God as a result. This is exactly what happened.


St. Peter in his first letter says that not only may one suffer as a Christian, he says expect it. Yet he also tells us why. Listen to these words. "For a little while you may suffer through various trials."

This letter was written in the First Century by again one of Jesus' contemporaries. Therefore, we can say from the earliest days of our faith, the idea that, if I am living my faith, my life will be without difficulties, has been a false teaching. It is just not the Christian faith. Indeed, St. Peter tells us, that we will have difficulties. Then he tells us why: so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. By the way, who is it who will be glorified at the revelation of Jesus Christ. The answer is not Jesus, he is already glorified. It is you.


Your sufferings are forming you and leading you to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be agents of God.

This is an important lesson because we live in a society that works desperately to avoid suffering at all costs. We will even kill instead of suffer. We will kill animals through animal experimentation and we will kill people, through abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty. Whatever it takes to avoid suffering we will do as a race. The more we work to avoid suffering the more worldly we become.

Now this does not mean that we seek after suffering. We are not masochists. We do not have to be. It does mean that suffering is redemptive to others and to ourselves.

This is a hard lesson to remember for all of us, including myself. How much suffering have we endured as Catholics over the past four years? All of that, if we allow it to be so, is for our glorification. It is further so that Christ may work through you and lead others to come to know the truth. Yet look at your own personal suffering. What do you experience and why? Are you running from it, or are you turning to Christ and embracing it.

You can name the suffering, a disease, daily aches and pains, depression or other forms of mental or physical illness, financial troubles, political problems persecution, imprisonment, death of a loved one. The list as you know is endless. Yet, all of it is transformed in Christ.

How do we do that? We keep focused on Christ. We become aware the nothing can separate us from his love, we trust his action in our lives and we trust that he is with us every step of the way. Most important we bring our suffering to our daily prayer, we keep it in mind in our daily bible reading, meditation and if possible mass attendance.

There is something here I have to correct however. We get into the idea when there is some suffering that it is a test. That somehow things normally go well and occasionally to make sure we are getting the message God gives us a test. Suffering is suffering it is part of the instability of earthly life. God does not send it upon us so that we may pass a test. He uses it, as Peter says, as a smelter uses to heat to purify the gold.


The book of Sirach, only found in a Catholic Bible by the way, reminds us that it is in fire that gold is tested and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.

The saints preach this all the time. St. Rose of Lima, the first saint of the Americas taught that if people knew how much their difficulties led them closer to Christ, they would ask for more of them. St. John of the Cross who spent nine months in prison over a dispute wrote his poem of the Dark Night of the Soul in that dark time. This poem and expression have led us through some really dark times in the Church over the past five hundred years and more so the last one hundred.

The concept that the better we are the better off we are in this world is a heresy so old it predates our species. Refuting that belief we know is a theological task at least as old as the Book of Job.

Worldly people run from suffering; Christians run through it. Worldly people plan on the stability of this world, Christians expect the end of this world at any time and the stability of life with Christ in eternal joy.

Whatever is you are suffering or will suffer, bring your pains, worries, and struggles to Christ and allow him to use them for your purification. This is so that you may be made as precious as the finest gold in the eyes of our Lord and Savior and all in the kingdom of God.


Catholicism Anew MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - parochial vicar, 617 625-0029



suffering, St. Peter

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.