- Accept that all sufferings in this life are for your sanctification. Sufferings are either punishments for your sins or given so you can increase in virtue.
Regarding the first, recall that no sin, including those that have been forgiven, goes unpunished. Either you are punished on earth or in purgatory, and it is better to suffer on earth because if you willingly suffer on earth, you gain merit. Suffering in purgatory does not increase merit.
Regarding the second, recall that our goal while we are in exile here in the valley of tears (also known as planet earth) is to become holy. The holier you are, the higher your place in heaven. The road to holiness is the bumpy road.
Thus, when God gives you sufferings, rejoice!
Ok. Admittedly, #1 is easier said than done. Until you become a saint and rejoice (for real) whenever God gives you sufferings, you might benefit from the next tip.
- Whenever you find it difficult to accept sufferings, say to yourself, “I accept my sufferings as part of my sanctification.”
Say this as often as necessary. And by ‘say’ I mean say it orally, even if only in a whisper. It is important to not just say it in your mind.
I don’t know much about human psychology, but it is a fact, verified by human experience, that whenever you say an action orally it affects the will. Therefore when you say the above statement often, eventually you will find yourself actually accepting your sufferings for the sake of your sanctification.
- When even #2 fails, remind yourself that God’s will is His love.
Our Catholic faith teaches that nothing bad can happen to us unless God allows it. Every detail of our lives, including our sufferings which occur when they occur, is planned by God for our sakes, so we can become holy and enjoy eternal life with Him.
God is our personal trainer for the soul. To get a six-pack, you must make your abdominal muscles suffer. In the same way, to gain patience, you must make your impatient soul suffer. People don’t complain when their trainers make them suffer because they want the six-pack. Even if they whine in the beginning, they still do the exercise in the end and eventually they stop whining altogether. In the same way, if you want the virtuous soul, you shouldn’t complain to God either.
So, when the going gets tough, combine #2 and #3. Say to yourself orally, “I accept my sufferings as part of my sanctification. God’s will is His love.”