I just finished reading the Letters of Saint Faustina. It is a lovely book and I bought it while in Poland. (After searching for it here on the Internet, it doesn't seem to be very available here in Canada).
St. Faustina, along with other saints, always seem to welcome suffering for God. I always struggle over this concept, as I wonder, how can anyone welcome suffering? It seems so contrary to human nature.
The other night as I lay in bed before going to sleep, I asked to God to help me to understand this. To give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding of how our sufferings can help others. How our "offering it up" can be of benefit to God or to others.
When I woke up in the middle of the night, I started to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet and in fact was actually able to say it without losing track of it like I usually do, as I lay in bed awake, and my mind inevitably wanders off to something else. I finally seemed to comprehend its message which was right before me the entire time.
"Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your Dearly Beloved Son Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world...for the sake of his sorrowful Passion have Mercy on us and on the whole world."
When we suffer (and we all do at some time or another, some more than others), and we unite our suffering with Jesus's suffering on the cross, we can truly help other sinners.
I had always sort of understood this, but for some reason, I kept questioning it.
St. Faustina's Diary is full of entries about suffering for Souls, and of her "praying for Souls".
In this passage in one of her letters, this one to Sister Ludwina, she tells us how we can "purchase immortal souls, the souls of poor sinners" when we unite our suffering to Jesus's suffering.
Faustina simply offered up her own suffering for the sins of sinners. Precisely what Jesus did on the cross, when he died for our sins. He saved souls. Faustina saved souls. Those who suffer, and unite their suffering with Jesus--can also save souls. It really is as simple as that. In fact, it's almost so simple that it's easy to miss. Of course, the idea is simple--the suffering is not.
Faustina prayed constantly for the "sake of sinners'' and offered up all her sufferings to God.
I know many people who are near and very dear to me, who suffer immensely. Perhaps this passage may help ease their pain a teeny tiny bit.