There was a recent discussion in a Group to which I belong concerning the redemptive quality of suffering.
One person said that she did not believe in it. It was 'rubbish' and that there was no reason to subject anyone to unnecessary pain...we are talking here about physical hurt...and that it was useless to her to suffer. You could say that the advances of medicine are good in that they do relieve the pain of those who are hurting ~ and that is a good thing, since those who dedicate themselves to helping them are actually performing acts of Charity. In that sense, she was right.
However, on the other hand, if talking about suffering that cannot be helped or avoided, there were those of us who, having learned from Holy Mother Church that, even as Our dearest Lord Jesus suffered and died for us, we too must suffer to be like Him, live for Him, in Him and go to Him in the end.
There is in the middle of the Holy Mass a special prayer that says as much; it is called the Doxology ~ 'Through Him, with Him and in Him...' and it takes in all of the meaning of suffering in one breath.
Jesus knows in His Heart of hearts how hard it is to be human and to be afraid of suffering. He was afraid in the Garden; He was afraid standing before Pilate; He was afraid on Calvary.
But I don't think it was the physical suffering that was so abhorrent to Him...I think it was the result of NOT suffering that made Him sweat blood.
He knew it would be hard, and for most people, nearly impossible, to go through the Agony which He was about to undergo...but if He didn't, just think of the result! No opening the Gates of Heaven, no possibility of anyone ever reaching the Father ~
And that, to Him, was the most abominable thought of all...
I don't know why, in His eternal wisdom, God chose to close the Gates the way that He did, when Original Sin was first committed...maybe to show Adam and Eve that they had no right to disobey Him, of course, but I suspect that there was a deeper meaning than the mere punishment of it.
I suspect that He was about to show them, and all of us, the value of a sacrifice, made with love and humility ~ and that was done to perfection when His only-begotten Son came and did it Himself!
Thanks to the tender graciousness of our Blessed Lady, who had taken a vow of Virginity, we were blessed nonetheless with a Brother, Who, in God's own eternal time, grew up to show us the Way. She didn't have to say 'yes'. She could very well have been within Her rights of free will if She had said 'no' and gone about Her own life in any way She wanted...but lucky for all of us, She knew the Savior of the world had to come somehow, and when would there be a better time than the time God was showing Her that day?!?
All of the suffering She endured, in Her own person, in Her humble sacrifice in giving up Her life in service to Him, in raising the Son that She did not set out to have, in watching with horror the suffering He had to endure on the Cross ~ for us ~ in Her meek acceptance of the martyrdom of Her own body, as She begged God to allow Her to feel His pain ~ all of this, was the utmost sacrifice offered freely by two People Who so loved the rest of us undeserving humans that, without the Two of Them, we would all be condemned to the most hideous of fates!
I, for one, do not like to suffer any more than anyone else...but I know it can be redemptive, both for my own soul and for the souls of others. My own Mother raised me to offer my daily sacrifices to God, usually for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, but now I know it can be for any intention, especially for the conversion of sinners, who ever is in most need of the Mercy of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.
Our Lady came to Fatima 90 years ago to request that we all offer, through Her Immaculate Heart, all of our daily duties and everything else we must suffer ~ physical pain, mental anguish, emotional scars, what ever it may be ~ for the good of ourselves and all of Mankind. We will not know in this lifetime how much good we are doing, but I can honestly say, I don't care to. I trust in His Mercy. I love the daily offerings to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. I know now why we suffer.
If we do what She requested, both as our Majestic Queen and also as our Loving Mother, we will come to understand this.
Yes, there is redemptive quality in suffering, and when we reach our eternal home in Heaven, and see all the people there who would not have made it if we did not offer sacrifices for them, then we will know just how valuable it is!!!
And I will come to know, myself, the people who offered before me their own prayers and sacrifices, both in good deeds done and in painful remembrances of their own, how much it took to bring this humble sinner to the glories of Almighty God for all eternity.