Suffering and Glory

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”1

St. Paul refers to the kind of suffering that we experience as a result of not quite achieving full happiness here on earth.  There are many self-help books, psychological studies, and scientific pursuits that claim to offer now, or to attain in the future, happiness.

Some object that Christianity does not offer happiness because those who belong to it do not seem completely happy.  In fact, the many sacrifices and burdens of authentic Christianity and its devotion to the cross seem to be in direct contradiction to happiness.

All throughout his letters, St. Paul speaks about the happiness and joy that is ours through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us already.  At the same time, he addresses the reality that we are still suffering.  That, indeed, our happiness feels incomplete.

St. Paul carefully notes that this in-completion is real because the Holy Spirit is a pledge, a promise, that God will fulfill his promises in the end of our journey here on earth and not in the present.  Christ himself exemplifies this journey.  Indeed, Christ himself accompanies us on our journey of suffering.  God the Father raised Him from the dead at the end of His painful journey on earth.

Christ promises the same for us.

As we experience a kind of lack here on earth, we can remember that promise.  We can reflect on the glory that awaits us.  We can celebrate how the lack of happiness on earth only pushes us into a hope of the future, rather than laboring for it now in futility.

In anticipation of All Saints Day, we give thanks to God for our suffering, the path to future glory.

  1. Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1994). The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (Ro 8:18). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

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