There is a depth to the experiences we share with God. They are personal and tangible and affect our lives in deeply profound ways. If these encounters are going to have any impact on our lives, we will need to have a relationship with the Lord. That occurs most often through suffering. I know I say that all the time. That is because it is true. What I have learned is that suffering is a call to conversion. When you go through something hard, something you can’t understand, you see your helplessness to change things, and it forces you to look at everything differently because you have no idea what the future holds. Conversion is about change. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines it as “a radical re-orientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with our whole heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we committed.” It is going to take something big to cause this kind of “radical” change. God wants us to be holy. So He allows us to suffer at the hands of the enemy, or He blesses us with a special kind of suffering. One that He knows will have the best chance of bringing about this kind of change.
Many types of suffering can bring us to God. For me, it was spiritual suffering through demonic attacks. God allowed evil people to attack me through witchcraft, and my whole life changed for the better because of it. When you are going through it, you will have a hard time believing that, but as you move forward in suffering and darkness, you also move forward in the spiritual life. It is hard to believe God would allow something so heinous to happen to anyone. But He does it because He knows it will change us. Spiritual suffering has numerous positive effects on our lives. Holiness, humility, peace, joy, strength, and intense love for God. Also, an increase in trust and dependence on Jesus in all things. I want to touch on some of these to help encourage others who are going through such suffering.
“To love God is something greater than to know Him.”Saint Thomas Aquinas
Jesus gives everyone opportunities (sufferings) to come to know Him. Some will seize the chance, and others won’t. But the one that does will find a love so deep, they won’t be able to contain it. It will overflow the recesses of the heart and consumes every part of them. It is a love like no other. It surpasses even the love you have for your spouse and children. This love is the fruit of suffering, and once you’ve found it, it becomes the very center of your life. This love floods the soul with a trembling that emanates ever so slightly in the heart and then more forcefully echoes throughout the body. It is like a ripple of love gently flowing through you, overwhelming all your senses. You sink into this great love and savor it for as long as it lasts. Not that His love ends, no, it is just no longer physical. With every one of these encounters, your love increases until you ache for love of Jesus. It transforms everything about you and alters the very course of your life. And if not for the suffering, you may never have come to this kind of love.
Spiritual attacks cause extended periods of extreme fear and anxiety. There is no peace. But as God heals you, that anxiety begins to recede and is replaced with a deep inner calm. It is a peace you’ve never felt before because it is God’s peace. And it is accompanied by great joy. It may only come in bursts at first. But as Jesus continues to heal you, you spend more and more time in this peaceful state. It is part of why you love Him so much. To have that kind of anxiety relieved, even if only for a short time, gives you hope. It produces intense gratitude to Christ and is very humbling. All of this makes you more attentive to the Lord. You trust Him because you see what He is doing for you. You want to give Jesus all of yourself and never do anything to hurt Him. You want to be with Him and spend time with Him in prayer and adoration. You want to be holy.
“Therefore, since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead.”Hebrews 12:1
All of this is a direct result of the suffering you’ve endured. That makes suffering very valuable. That makes suffering the cause of conversion. So how does all of this take place? You have to be consistent in seeking the Lord. It is how those inner experiences with Jesus begin, which brings you to that intense love for God. Spiritual suffering and demonic attacks are debilitating. But they ignite something within that pushes you toward God. Once you figure out you can’t fix the problem, you will run to the Catholic Church and the sacraments. The Mass and the Eucharist are grace and strength, and confession removes sin. So the sacraments defeat the devil and his demons and bring you to a deeper relationship with God. How long this takes is up to the mercy of God. Don’t let that discourage you. Nobody wants to suffer. But knowing that it can have this kind of impact on our lives gives it a whole new meaning. There will come a time when you will praise and thank Jesus for all He has done for you through your suffering. From where He has brought you and how He freed you from the bonds of the enemy. You will no longer be a prisoner of the devil but a devout lover of your Jesus.
Memorare to The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Remember, O most kind Jesus, that none who have had recourse to Your Sacred Heart, implored its assistance, or called for mercy, have ever been abandoned. Filled, and animated by this same confidence, O divine Heart, Ruler of all hearts, I fly to You, and oppressed beneath the weight of my sins, I prostrate myself before You. Despise not Your unworthy child, but grant me, I pray, an entrance into Your Sacred Heart. Sustain me in all my combats and be with me now, and at all times, but especially in the hour of my death. O gracious Jesus! O amiable Jesus! O loving Jesus! Amen.
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