I know a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain. Most of my Marfan friends are non-Catholics, and I observe how very differently they approach the question. Often, “Offer it up” has become such a cliche that it loses meaning. Even Jesus cried out from the cross, and sometimes that’s what we have to do, but we must always remember to keep focused on the goal. I constantly have to remind myself of these things:
1. “Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, . . .”
2. “We deserve our punishment, but this Man has done no wrong.”
3. “In my own body, I fill up what is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ.”
4. Mother Angelica once asked, “Why me, Lord?” She got a response: “Why Me?” She never asked again.
5. A single mortal sin merits eternal suffering. The worst we can bear here is nothing compared to that. Imagine enduring *anything* forever. My mom’s all-time favorite homily was, “You think it’s hot here?!”
C. S. Lewis once responded to someone who said, “It’s hot as Hell,” with “How would you know?” When I was in CVICU last year, thinking I was dead and in Gell, everything seemed unendurable because ?I thought it was forever. I was hot (high grade fever and screwed up post op metabolism). I was thirsty (living off a feeding tube and npo). I was in pain. Most of all, I was *bored.* I couldn’t move or speak. I was strapped in a bed with tubes all over my body.
The only way to survive such a situation without despair is the Lord’s grace. The Voice kept telling me to stop waive ring and make a choice. It kept telling me it was over: I was in Hell or destined for it, that Jesus would never forgive me. Yet, I thought of Faust, and I prayed, and I used the seemingly endless monotony to pray. In particular, I thought about “70 times 7 times,” though I confused it as “70×70” and couldn’t remember if I was supposed to ask or grant it, so I kept naming people in my prayers and asking their forgiveness while offering mine. I prayed the Pater repeatedly, the Publican’s Prayer and St Dismas’s prayer, over and over, 24/7, for at least 2 or 3 days. My recovery began.