Salvific Suffering

Here we are. We’ve made it through the first week and half of Lent already. Have these past ten days been as rough for you as they have for me? UGH! I could share sob stories about countless hours put into renovating our house only to find renters who didn’t pay and then threatened to sue us. I could moan about how tired I am being unexpectedly pregnant at the ripe old age of 41. I could pour out my tears to God about my father, and then my father-in-law being hospitalized with life-threatening illnesses. I could explain to you how I didn’t sleep most of the night because I was worried about my son’s upcoming surgery…. 

There are seasons in life where we definitely feel overwhelmed, as if 20 baseballs were thrown at us all at once and we can’t catch a single one. But the thing is, we ALL go through these seasons. I think it is safe to say that not one of us has floated through life on a cloud without a single hardship. I also think it is safe to say that many of you have suffered far more hardships than I have. 

Lent is a perfect time to embrace these hardships and allow them to unite us ever closer to our Lord. During last weekend’s homily, our Pastor reminded us of St. John Paul II’s encyclical “Salvifici Doloris”, regarding salvific suffering.

The encyclical states: “suffering is the undergoing of evil before which man shudders. He says: ‘let it pass from me’, just as Christ says in Gethsemane.” What a profoundly human statement! Just reading this, I exclaim “Yes! God understands me!” It goes on to say: “Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.” So although profoundly human, Christ has elevated it to a supernatural level.

“As a result of Christ’s salvific work, man exists on earth with the hope of eternal life and holiness. And even though the victory over sin and death achieved by Christ in his Cross and Resurrection does not abolish temporal suffering from human life, nor free from suffering the whole historical dimension of human existence, it nevertheless throws a new light upon this dimension and upon every suffering: the light of salvation.”  

“In the Second Letter to the Corinthians the Apostle writes: ‘We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh …. knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus’(58).”

So whether your sufferings be numerous and burdensome, or relatively few and far between, may today’s Scriptures remind us that as long as we follow God’s commands we will be blessed. We suffer now but we will be redeemed!

May the rest of your Lent be full of salvific suffering that unites you more intimately with our Lord. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Aaron Burden,