Real Answers for Real Suffering

Is there an answer to suffering? We all experience suffering in different forms and to varying degrees. So, how do we respond to it? What does it mean? In this episode, Jeff dives into the answers for some of the big questions around suffering.

Snippet from the Show
The answering to your suffering is found in Jesus’ suffering.


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The Different Forms of Suffering

There are two different kinds of suffering. You can experience physical suffering and you can also experience moral suffering. Physical suffering is linked to the body, whereas moral suffering is linked to the soul. The Old Testament is filled with examples of suffering, particularly moral suffering: the danger of death, the death of a child, infertility, longing for the homeland of Canaan, mockery and scorn, loneliness and abandonment, difficulty understanding why the wicked prosper, the unfaithfulness of friends and neighbors. Christ has compassion for people with either physical or moral suffering

The Different Types of Suffering

In addition to different forms of suffering, there are also different types of suffering. Jeff discusses temporal and definitive suffering. Temporal suffering is due to the consequences of sin, suffering, and death. The other type is definitive suffering. John Paul II wrote in Salvifici Doloris, “Man perishes when he loses ‘eternal life.’ The opposite of salvation is not, therefore, only temporal suffering, and kind of suffering, but the definitive suffering: the loss of eternal life, being rejected by God – damnation. The only begotten Son was given to humanity primarily to protect man against this definitive evil and against definitive suffering.”

The Road to Emmaus

In Luke 24:16, we read about two disciples traveling on the road to Emmaus. As they are traveling, a third person joins them. Unbeknownst to the disciples, it is actually the risen Lord. The three talk. The disciples share about their Lord who had opened up the Scriptures for them and had shared with them the way to Salvation. They share though that their Lord was crucified and died. That some in their group were now claiming that the tomb was empty and that Jesus had risen. They were troubled. They were suffering the loss of their Lord.

But what does Jesus do? He has come to them in their time of suffering, in their time of need. He then uses Scripture to reveal to them why he had to be crucified, why he had to die. Jesus helps them to understand.

Key Scripture Citations on Suffering

Luke 9:23 “If any man would come after me…let him take up his cross daily.”

John 16:33 “In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Colossians 1:24 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.”

Hebrews 12:5 “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you. For power is perfected in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 4:8–11, 14 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we will live we are always being given up to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh…, Knowing that he who raised the Lord will raise us also with Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 1:5 “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

Romans 8:17–18 “We are… fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”

1 Peter 4:13 “Rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

1 Peter 2:20–23 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted to him who judges justly.”

1 Peter 4:19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.”

Hebrews 5:8 “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”

Other Notable Quotations on Suffering

“This is the worst thing about sickness: not the pain in the body but the narrowing of interests in the soul.  It is as if the pain is a tyrant with a whip saying ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ every moment.” -Peter Kreeft

“Sufferings will be sweet to us while we are with Him, and the greatest pleasures will be, without Him, a cruel punishment to us.” -Brother Lawrence

“If we want to attain an end we must employ the means, and Jesus made me understand that he would give me souls by means of the cross; the more crosses I met with, the more did my attractions to suffering increase.” -St. Therese of Lisieux

“The springs of divine power gush forth precisely in the midst of human weakness. Those who share in the sufferings of Christ preserve in their own sufferings a very special particle of the infinite treasure of the world’s Redemption and can share this treasure with others” -St. John Paul II


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Meet Your Host: Jeff Cavins

Jeff Cavins is passionate about helping people understand Scripture and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though he was born Catholic, Jeff went to Bible school and served as a protestant minister for twelve years before reverting to the Catholic Faith. Jeff then received his MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Since then, he has become a leading Catholic evangelist and author.

Jeff created The Bible Timeline learning system, which revolutionized Catholic Bible Study for millions of Catholics. Since its introduction, Jeff has developed The Great Adventure series of Bible studies to help people better understand Sacred Scripture and its meaning for their lives. 

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