I would love to be the kind of person who rejoices in the midst of great suffering.
There are some people who just know that everything is from God. Both the good and the bad. It is the most incredible gift. To understand that God has a plan even in our suffering, that would be…astounding. And we can all become that person. We can all rejoice in our sufferings through the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us. In the sacrament of confirmation, we receive the gifts of wisdom, understanding, prudence, fortitude, knowledge, reverence, and fear of the Lord.
How do these gifts apply to suffering?
If we are wise, we want to choose the things that are of God (He has given us this suffering and we want what He wants for us). When we have understanding, we can embrace the teachings of the Church. Being prudent, we make good decisions regarding our suffering (e.g. going to Confession when we don’t want to). When we practice fortitude we are choosing to stand strong in our faith despite the obstacles. Using the gift of knowledge, we can know God’s plan for us through prayer. The gift of reverence gives us confidence in God. Fear of the Lord puts us in awe of the One who gives us our suffering, helping us to realize that our trials are from Him.
St. Philomena suffered immensely before dying. She was scourged, shot with arrows twice, nearly drowned, and endured long periods in prison. She knew well the pain of serving the Lord. However, she was given the grace she needed to carry on. If God did that for her, why do we think He will do any less for us if we ask in faith?
Lord, when I want to get rid of my suffering, send your Holy Spirit on me to renew the gifts I received at Baptism and Confirmation. I want to embrace my suffering and even learn to rejoice in it. I recognize your hand in my life and in all things. My hope in you will never disappoint me.
-Courtney C. Filomena Lee