We all have suffering; there's no getting around it. Scratch the surface of even the most privileged life and you find a sort of chaos. Swirling around amongst the privileged fun and games is pain -- whether it's illness, broken relationships, jealousies, etc. And when the suffering comes it's easy to whine and complain and beg for relief.
But what if I embrace my suffering? What if I thank God for the opportunity to be united with him on the cross of pain? Years ago I read a book called Power in Praise. It's message was to praise God for everything, a Biblical message for sure. The author advised that praising God for everything changed those painful circumstances into something transformative. It's an opportunity, as Mother Teresa often said, to "do something beautiful for God."
I've gotten into the habit of saying this prayer whenever I'm challenged by any kind of suffering.
"Lord, I offer this for love of you, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in atonement for sins against the immaculate heart of Mary."
How much I love the Blessed Mother. How much she can change my outlook to conform it to her own if I let her. How much she encourages me to act with prudence and charity and all the virtues. If only I become a better listener, a better student learning at her feet, what impact can I have among my family, friends, and associates?
Let's do something beautiful for God today by refusing to stare at our own whining, complaining faces and turn our gaze to the faces of Jesus and Mary. If only everyone knew how much God loves them. How could they not respond to that love?