Growing up Catholic this was a phrase I heard all the time: "just offer it up." It came out of my mother's sweet mouth every time something wasn't going my way. Whether it was not getting the candy bar in the store I really wanted, or having to do something I really didn't want to do, this was my mother's advice. I used to think it was just her way of getting me to do things I didn't want to, or to use magic "Catholic guilt" to get me to stop complaining. As a child I didn't even really understand what she meant by this statement. I simply did what she said and told God that I was "offering it up" and said a short prayer in my head. But as the years have gone by and troubles have come my way, I am so thankful to be raised in a faith wherein I have been taught that my sufferings are worth something.
"Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." Col. 1:24
These past two weeks I have been battling a sore throat, double ear infection, and stuffy head. It's been one of those illnesses where you do one simple thing like run to the grocery store and you are completely wiped out. Top that off with being nine months pregnant and chasing a toddler around. Needless to say, there has been a lot of suffering. As I stated in this post, I believe when things get too hard God will send a Simon. Well, things did get too hard, and my Simon came in the form of my mother and sister. I think that, had they not been able to come help out these past two weeks, I could have become very seriously ill. I am so thankful to God for their company and compassion during this rough time.
Even with the help, there was still much suffering to be offered to God. I kept wondering the whole time I was sick what I would have done had I not been blessed with growing up in the Catholic faith. I probably would have sat around all day feeling sorry for myself and wondering why God cursed me with such afflictions. But instead, I was able to "fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions..." For my family, for myself, for sinners everywhere. I'm not saying it was/is easy or that I'm some saint who enjoys suffering; I'm simply saying I am thankful that our loving God does not let us suffer for nothing. We are all going to suffer in some way at some time. Why not do something with it? How much greater would this world be if we would all offer our daily sufferings "for the sake of his body, which is the church"?
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