Are sufferings necessarily a punishment, and if they are patiently endured can they merit glory in Heaven?
Ilya Repin, “Job and His Friends”, 1869
2 Cor 4:17
“That which is light and momentary in our tribulations, is working (producing) for us beyond all measure and eternal weight of glory.”
“If we are sons, we are heirs, heirs indeed of God, fellow heirs with Christ – if only we suffer with Him, so we may be glorified with Him. I judge that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church
901 – “Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives.”434
434 – LG 34; cf. LG 10, 1 Pet 2:5
1505 – Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”.112 But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,”.113 of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.
112 – Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4.
113 – Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:4-6.
“Trials and tribulations offer us a chance to make reparation for our past faults and sins. On such occasions the Lord comes to us like a physician to heal the wounds left by our sins. Tribulation is the divine medicine.”
St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)