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Suffering and Abandonment

Suffering and Abandonment


Presence of God – O Lord, teach me to suffer with simplicity, without useless concentration on self, but in total abandonment to Your divine will.


The secret of learning to suffer in a virtuous way consists chiefly in forgetting oneself and one’s sorrows and in abandoning oneself to God.

The soul that is absorbed in its own sufferings and concentrates its whole attention on them, becomes unable to bear them serenely and courageously. “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34), said Jesus, thus teaching us to bear calmly, day by day, moment by moment, whatever sorrows and crosses God places in our path, with no thought of what we suffered yesterday, no worry about what we shall have to endure tomorrow. Even when our suffering is intense, let us not exaggerate it, nor attach too much importance to it; let us not foster a morbid tendency to nurture our sorrow, to ponder over it, weighing and analyzing it under every aspect. To act in this way would result in the paralysis of our spirit of sacrifice, of our ability to accept and to act, and would make us useless to ourselves and to others. One who is oversensitive and preoccupied with his own suffering, often becomes insensible and indifferent to the suffering of others.

In order to resist these selfish tendencies which have been rightly defined by Father Faber as “the worm of Christian sorrow,” we must forget ourselves, go out of ourselves and our own sufferings, become interested in the sufferings of others and endeavor to alleviate them. This is a very effective way to regain in times of discouragement the strength to bear our own crosses. We should be mindful of the truth that we are never alone in suffering; that if our sufferings are great, there are always those who suffer incomparably more than we. Our troubles, often enough, are but a drop compared to the sea of sorrows in which mankind is engulfed, and are practically nonentities in comparison with the Passion of Jesus.

Those who are overly concerned with their own troubles eventually become exasperated by them. Drowned in their sorrows, they stifle every impulse to generosity. By contrast, those who know how to forget themselves, maintain their equilibrium, and take greater thought for others than for themselves. They are always open to charity and generosity toward God and their neighbor. These are simple souls who, because they are unmindful of themselves, can bear suffering magnanimously and derive much profit for their own sanctification.


BlessedMariaTeresaDeSoubiran3_1834-1889 - for "Suffering and Abandonment" post“O Lord, grant that I may never cease to turn to You, and to look only at You. In consolation or desolation I shall run to You, stopping at nothing else; I shall run so quickly that I shall have no time to look at anything, nor to see the things of earth, because my pace will be so rapid. Therefore, out of love for You, I shall spurn pleasure, repose, dependence upon the judgment of men, satisfaction in their approval, dread of physical discomfort, sadness of spirit, and success or failure. In a word, I shall spurn everything that is not God.

“I realize that my crosses have been permitted and willed by You, my God, to teach me to trust in You in spite of everything.

“O God, be my sole strength in fear, weakness, and distress; be my confidant, or rather my confidence. Divine Guest, dwelling within me, on the throne of my heart, abide with me as my protector; You alone have dominion and power over my whole being; You alone are its love!

“Why should I worry or fear? All is Yours, O God, and You will take care of my wants and provide for them. You are infinite Love, and You love the works of Your hands more than they can know and love themselves. Who would dare question Your power, or the loving, providential care You bestow on Your creatures from all eternity, and with the efficacy of Your love?

“I believe that all You do and permit is for my good and my salvation, and I abandon myself to Your guidance with love and trust, and without anxiety, fear, or calculation” (Bl. M. Thérèse Soubiran).


Note from Dan: This post on “Suffering and Abandonment” is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art: Partial restoration of Blessed Maria Teresa de Soubiran [1834-1889], photographer unknown, by 1889, meets public domain criteria, from open source material.  Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.


Editor’s Note: A Happy and Blessed Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all!

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Sarah

    There is some suffering and abandonment that must be dealt with. Our pain is often an indicator that we need a physician and emotional/psychological pain is often an indicator that we need help. We are parts of one another. How true we must not make it our habit of discourse to constantly analyze every hurt and pain even when sharing our life story with others unless helpful to do so. I agree with this writing almost 100percent. Having had a nervous breakdown, I was helping others, it was beyond my ability to cope without going into deep analysis for a time. It truly helped and it would hinder me now to constantly converse about my past. There is a time to move on and get out of your self and no longer speak of the negative or complain about the people who hurt you. When mentioned it is good to say, “all is forgiven” and move on. I do wish I would have learned that sooner and kept my negative experiences and memories confined to a counselor.

  • Philip George Regan

    Thank you once again Dan for this excellent reflection on how we might approach suffering – yet at the same time can there be a Christianity which does not have the Cross ? For it is only suffering united to Our Lords suffering on the cross -which truly purifies and ultimately reminds of us of our total dependence and trust in Jesus.

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