A Blog on Suffering by Bro. Mark
My disability has begun to get the upper hand now and confines me to my bed most of the time, with a single walk around the house with my crutches. I try this walk around the house just to keep my muscles from atrophying, even though each step produces excruciating pain I feel like I’m going to war with pain and I refuse to lose this war. My life as a contemplative hermit gives me hope that my suffering is doing someone else some good. I personally believe that the energies that bloom from my physical pain is transformed by God into energies of healing. I don’t know right now who or what benefits from these energies. Hopefully, if I make it to Heaven I will get to know, but right now it remains a mystery. It is my love for Christ Jesus and all that He endured on the Cross that keeps me moving forward into the unknown. He humbly submitted to the suffering imposed by the soldiers. The humiliation, the beatings, the crown of thorns, the nails, the Cross. I don’t understand why He chose suffering to heal my soul, but I believe He chose this way to bring each and every human being into union with His Father. He died for all people, and He promises to draw all people to Himself. I believe Christ Jesus uses suffering to bring healing to our world because suffering is so hated by man. We all despise suffering. We all try every which way to avoid it. So why in the heck did Christ embrace suffering since it is so hated. I believe He embraced suffering because He knows the intrinsic value it truly has. He knows the energies it produces can be transformed into healing energies. Now, I must importantly note that the suffering I am writing about is not a sadistic or masochistic suffering, but the suffering that just comes to us as we live our daily lives. Those who embrace these daily sufferings for the sake of Christ also grow in patience, grow in mercy, in forgiveness through the grace that God freely gives us. I understand how some may think my way of thinking is out of whack. It might be, but this journey God has me on makes me believe suffering has value in life and for life. Often in prayer, I concentrate on the wounds of Christ and I rest in His wounds. I ask to be united with Him as my one true Love. That I too may be a co-redeemer along with St. Paul and the rest of His Saints, a co-redeemer who has been invited by Him to be a disciple, a brother and a lover. Through my daily suffering, I have become closer to Christ Jesus. I believe I have anyway. I experience a deeper peace in my heart and life, now that I have offered my sufferings to Christ Jesus. I have a deeper respect for all of Gods creation and a new hope that my sufferings can and does help heal our broken world. The energies produced from suffering are very powerful. I can’t over estimate this enough. If you have trouble with your suffering and its meaning for you in your life, I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what it all means for you. Be open to the possibility that your suffering can help others. I promise you, when you freely offer it to Christ Jesus you will begin to experience a fullness of grace flowing into your heart and your life. If you are losing hope because of the weight of your suffering, please be patient with yourself, unite yourself to the Heart of Christ Jesus no matter how far away from Him you might feel. I remember reading the life of St. Francis of Assisi many years ago and how he called suffering his sister. He use to speak to his suffering asking it to be gentle with him. And in his heart, he found peace. He found hope, he found a faith that completely transformed his life. He embraced suffering as his sister. Personally, I am still trying to embrace my suffering like St. Francis embraced his, but I am still very far away from that transformation. I’m open to such a transformation if it be Gods will. In the meantime I will continue to trust that my suffering is transformative and that it’s doing the world some good. It is my prayer that you who may read this blog and are struggling with the meaning of your own daily suffering, will find meaning in it. I pray that your sufferings and my own will unite, that our suffering along with everyone else’s suffering will become a wonderful gift of transformative love and healing for the world that so desperately needs it at this time in history. Until the next time, may God fill your whole being with His grace and patience as each new day brings you new promise.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
Hermits of St. Giles
Thoughts On Suffering
A Blog on Suffering by Bro. Mark
6 thoughts on “Thoughts On Suffering”
I Love this brother! My suffering includes: breakdowns depression panic disorders etc. These do have a physical basis which many people do not understand but its in the brain. Sometimes when my pain seems pointless I ask Lord to join my suffering to his so that it actually means something and I am sure that he does because he gives me peace in response to my prayer…Recently started doing a jesuit examen of consciousness (shared by fr Michael E Gaitly MIC in ‘The one thing is three’) which has moved me as it is deeply meaningful in terms of suffering. In the first stage you survey the day/time you are reflecting on. Giving thanks and praise for the peaks of experience and giving thanks and praise for the troughs of experience the latter with the rationale that the lows are when we are carrying our God given cross. This has worked wonders in me as before this if I started to feel my mood going down I thought it was my fault because of something I had done which incidentally never had a memory of doing something wrong and yet I remained convinced it was my fault! Actual sins are dealt with later on in the examen.. Love to you and thanks for your sharing, its helpful comforting and poetic. br francis philip tssf ofh (franciscan).
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Dear Br. Philip I want to thank you for your kind words to me and for sharing your journey with me. I am so inspired to read that you too experience a transformative and positive growth when you freely offer your suffering to Christ Jesus. I truly believe our daily suffering has a profound meaning that brings us into a union with the Heart of Christ. Trying to find the words that can shed some light on what suffering really is since it is so personal to each of us. But anyway, I am rambling on. Thanks again.
God bless you,
Beautiful blog on suffering, Mark! Thank you!!!
Your broâ Matt
Dear Bro. Mark – Thank You for this deeply personal Sharing of your Crosses. I say “crosses” because it is obvious that the physical Cross is only one of them, the others being in the struggles of the Mind and Heart to understand the Blessed Darkness in which you so often find yourself. Your Trials of Faith, your Perseverance, your constant Surrender, All of these Trials are Crosses unto themselves, let alone in combination with a chronic Disability such as yours.
May God grant you Every Grace to continue to bare His Crosses for the Good of All the Sick and Suffering in His World.
Dear Brother Mark, as contemplative monk you know the value of suffering as Jesus all the saints, and every martyr chose such a path. Even if you didn’t choose this path but it was given to you you must use this both for your own purification and the glory of God, because you have the example of all martyrs in the church who were deified and sanctified by the loving surrender to divine Providence and trustful abandonment. Always remember that suffering comes from the devil and our fallen ancestral sin, not from God. Christ and the martyrs were Victors over sin, death, and the disease of being human and fallen. The relics of the saints give countless healing as proof of this. As a nurse and former contemplative nun I urge you to alleviate as much of your pain with appropriate medicine so that you can keep sane and loving. There is a world of pain out there, I worked as a hospice nurse, now I am dying with chronic kidney disease. Let’s unite all our sufferings and prayers with Jesus Crucified and all other sufferers. My prayer be with you. In Christ, Sister Kassiani.
Brother Mark, I just want you to know that I feel deeply sympathetic with your suffering – the pain you talk of. I really value what you are sharing but I can also see what it is costing you. I would offer you my hand to shake if we were face to face. I send my love and prayers. Philip