“Ask a Priest: What If It Seems That I Have It Too Easy?”

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Q: This might sound strange, but I worry that I don’t suffer enough. We are told to take up our cross and follow Jesus. While I have had and do have situations in my life that aren’t great, I would hardly call them “suffering.” When I see what some people have to endure, I find myself wondering why I don’t have more to endure. I don’t believe God sends suffering to us. But if he allows it in order to draw us closer to him sometimes, I wonder, does he not want to draw me in? That sounds ridiculous, but … believe me, I don’t want to suffer! And perhaps I will at some future date. But I can’t help wondering. Thanks for listening. – E.H.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Perhaps Our Lord has spared you (so far, at least) from major suffering. That doesn’t mean that the future will always be easy.

If Jesus has given you a respite from suffering, then you want to use this time as best you can.

This is the time to go deeper in your prayer life and sacramental life and works of charity. It would be good to get involved in volunteer work or some other kind of Church-related endeavor, such as door-to-door evangelization or catechesis. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (Luke 12:48).

All this will help you build a good foundation for the day when things get more difficult. “The day of adversity makes one forget prosperity” (Sirach 11:25).

A practical way to accept suffering, albeit minor, is to never complain about the problems you face day to day. This little discipline will help build your resilience and patience — and toughen you for the possibly rocky times again.

There are souls who have offered themselves as victim souls, asking for suffering from God, as a fruitful spiritual act. Perhaps you should ask in prayer whether the Lord thinks you could handle more suffering. The Lord might allow more suffering, but that is a point that you want to reach through prayer, not reasoning. In any case, God won’t test us beyond our strength.

Rest assured that a lack of stark suffering right now isn’t a sign that Jesus doesn’t want you close to him. His road for your holiness might just have fewer potholes.


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  1. oooh my, this was my journal writing this morning …

    Yes, no doubt: The good foundation learned in childhood of the graces that come via that initiation into the Divine Life of God’s ‘ONLY’ Son, Jesus (Baptism) From there comes ‘the learning of living the faith ‘in practice’ via Sacramental life of Christ… with the Sacraments of the church, there comes the grace of ‘purging and purification’ (purging 7 x 70x as the Holy Spirit so counsels in Confession or Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Purifying our Love for God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, taking of the BLESSED BREAD in ‘state of grace’ (no mortal sin) Venial sins confessed in the Penitential Rite of the Mass…


    This alone is ‘to suffer with Christ’ . . . when young we may not have those physical aches and pains of suffering, and life can seem smooth… because of being part of that ONE HOLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF CHRIST… ‘suffering’ can be those ‘little annoyances’ OFFERED UP for (name an intention) A rude store clerk, a small disagreement with relative, or employer, or co-worker OR just to ‘suffer’ silently and prayerfully for those who push the evil of abortion . . . contraception . . . illicit drug use by TAKING ONE’S BLESSED LIFE in CHRIST to the altar and ‘offering prayers’ to God that THE SPIRIT enlighten ‘the culture.’ As Father said, if you want a more concrete active service, consider teaching the youth in CCD, or try saying “I think” when a relative speaks casually about ‘a lifestyle choice’ of their child … ie: trying telling a person that ‘their actions are not pleasing to God.’ and ooooh you will ‘suffer’ their SCREAMS and door slams in your face.

    Don’t get mad… ‘offer up’ for those souls confused by the culture. Attend Mass daily and Sunday. Give up
    something pleasurable (WITHOUT talking of the sacrifice) For God to enlighten a neighbor, a relative,
    a young child.

  2. To ‘suffer with and IN Christ’ . . . via attending to the HOLY ‘unbloody’ Sacrifice of the Mass. ‘OFFER UP’ in union with Christ’s SUPREME sacrifice on the cross. Every Baptized Christian can do this… while enjoying THE FRUIT of that Sacrifice . . . a ‘blessed life’ of HE with our soul. From Baptism on.

    Indeed, if we do have a BLESSED life . . . there will be those who tell such faithful that ‘we have an easy life.’

    Being human nature with the vulnerability of emotions, and having to ‘control’ such FOR THE GO(O)D to dominate in any situation (neighborhood, workplace, school hallway) is to SUFFER with Christ, who endured THE ULTIMATE SUFFERING for the sins of mankind . . . flesh scourged with whip, spear in side, crowned with thorns to his head, his clothes ‘gambled for’ (cast lots), folks passing him hanging there and spitting and mocking . . . After doing so much good as He walked amongst them.

    To, by faith, keep always in mind THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST part of our being because of Baptism and that Real Presence of blessed bread and that ‘heaven is at hand’ via SACRAMENTAL sight of Him (eyes of faith) and NOT come down, when HE slowly raises us up . . . aka spiritual maturity is A CROSS TO BEAR for Christ. Each time we say a prayer for those ‘confused in their ways of doing’ HE lifts us up all the more and because we pray for those confused… HIS MERCY AND GRACE OF FAITH will ‘as He so wills’ also come to them. We may not see it ‘here and now’ . . . but UP THERE we will see. So, keep the faith. Each time we say NO to
    Hollywood movies with ‘R’ rating, when we dress modestly and live modestly, content with wages, when we
    ignore those who taunt . . . SIMPLE it is but WE SUFFER ‘with Christ’ . . . and be assured HE SEE’S AND HE
    BLESSES all the more.

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