Offering it up.

11 Nov

I’ve had pain and suffering on my mind a lot lately. Don’t worry, it isn’t S.A.D.-induced depression; it’s the birth classes Charles and I have been attending. The first half of each class generally involves learning a new relaxation technique, which usually translates into Charles (aka- my birth coach!) giving me a massage for a half hour or so. That part’s great. But the second half of class–that’s the frightening part. That’s when we watch birth videos. Natural birth videos. Videos of naked, sweaty, primal, pregnant women moaning in agony as they progress through labor. It’s like something out of National Geographic.

Ironically, watching these terrifying videos is supposed to help us prepare for and confidently approach our own natural childbirth. The verdict is still out on that front. However, I’m growing more and more attached to the idea of being able to offer up my sufferings for the intentions of others.

The teaching of “redemptive suffering” is one of my favorite parts of Catholicism. It basically says that we who suffer are able to offer up our sufferings in union with Christ’s passion and death, and that our suffering can bring about grace for whomever we’re offering our sufferings for. It is a way of imitating Christ, because he himself offered up his suffering to the Father, for the sake of humanity.

It is carrying the cross.

It is love and suffering intertwined.

So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of suffering, whether it be a migraine headache, a frustrating day at work, or a colicky baby at home, remember that your suffering is a gift. It is a chance to become more like Christ, and to seek the good of those around you. I pray that I might be able to deny myself a little more and to unite my sufferings to Christ.

Love,

Erica

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2 Responses to “Offering it up.”

  1. Charles November 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    I think this is what St. Paul was getting at when he wrote, “Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty” (1 Tim. 2:15).

  2. Mandi @ Catholic Newlywed December 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    As someone who has gone through natural childbirth, I think it looks much more painful than it really is. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t think that while you are going through it, but in hindsight, it really wasn’t as bad as I expected. If it was, most women would only have one child! I have heard that it is helpful to have specific intentions in mind to offer your pain for, but when it came down to it for me, I forgot all about the intentions I had planned to offer my suffering for!

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