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Hit in the Gut with Redemptive Suffering

As I scrolled through the daily readings in the waiting room, they revealed that it was the Feast of St. Raphael, the angel of divine healing. I burst into tears at the reminder of God’s presence in my healing because I had been begging the intercession of this angel.

My gut was very sick and I was more than ready to heal, but what suffering would I endure to get there?

The doctor compassionately interrogated me and then ran some tests. I waited not so patiently for the phone call that came days later. I had a severe yeast infection in my gut, and, along with some meds, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, I had to overhaul my diet for complete healing. I was restricted to only meat, fish, veggies, some nuts, few fruits and NOTHING else.

No coffee, no caffeine, no dark chocolate, no chips, no processed foods.

Oh boy, this diet almost killed me. Little did I know that my attachment to food was probably one thing that would have to be handled in Purgatory… I could see Our Lord now, prying all the dark chocolate from my hands before I was awarded Heaven! Physically I began to be restored and healed. Spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically, I was dying from the self discipline and sacrifice.

He stripped me of all I had used to help me cope with motherhood and stress and life.

One day I was whining about my diet to my husband and he gently reminded me that I could offer my new eating habits for something in need of Divine intervention. From then on, every time I said no to a piece of birthday cake, no to that warm cup of coffee when exhausted, no to the savory cheesy pizza, I prayed: “Lord I offer this small fast for the purity of heart of my children” because he tells us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

This example is how our suffering can be redeeming. I can participate in His Paschal Mystery! I can unite my suffering to His cross and humbly ask Him to pour grace upon my children (or other special intention) and make up for what is lacking.

How else do I fail to suffer well? Give me the grace to discern this, Lord, and use it for your glory.

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Kristi Bentley

Kristi is a wife and homeschooling mom of 5 (3 boys, 2 girls) who loves to read to her kids, dance in the kitchen, craves silence and enjoys all the books about mystics & the interior life, and has an addiction to Tate’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

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