• Sarah Raad


Updated: Nov 21, 2021

When I offer my suffering to God it has such value and worth that I cannot ever understand…

The other day I went to the fruit shop and bought fruit and vegetables for my family. Now, we are a little bit unusual in our home, because we eat a LOT of fruit and vegetables.

In fact, my children often give me trouble to eat their food but are happy to replace meals with the fruit and vegetables – which might sound lovely in theory but is actually a pain in the neck in real life…

Because I am a regular customer and I tend to buy a fair bit of fruit each week, the man who owns the fruit shop that I go to knows me and usually helps me by advising me on which fruit to buy so that it will last for a week or two in the fridge.

Now, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. You see the fruit-shop man is very clever. He knows that I do not like to buy fruit that is not very good quality because it will not last a couple of weeks and this means that he will often try to sell me the more expensive fruit rather than the cheaper fruit…

I do not blame him really. You see, ever since I was a little girl, I have not liked the idea of throwing away fruit. At the same time, I am very fussy when I eat fruit and if the fruit is even a little bit over-ripe I usually will not eat it, and that means my children usually will not eat it either.

I have sort of inherited this interest in fruit and vegetables. You see, on the very same day that my maternal grandfather (may God rest his soul) arrived in Australia (about seventy years ago), with only $10 in his pocket and absolutely no English at all, he went – by train – to the Flemington Markets to buy fruit (and some groceries) for his young family. He simply dropped them off with the family they were staying with while they found their feet, and off he went.

And my mother’s family – my father’s family as well – were very poor for a long long time after they arrived in Australia. You see, uneducated migrants – whose only skills were in agriculture in their little rural village – who come to Australia with nothing more than a $10 note in their pocket and the name of a friend of a friend with whom they can stay until they find their feet, tend to be poor. And because they were poor and it was hard to buy things they did not throw food away. This meant that overripe fruit did not get thrown out! In fact, my maternal grandfather ate that overripe fruit himself – rather than throwing it away – even though in his later years he was a diabetic and it was quite bad for him, because he would not throw food away…

For us – growing up as the second or third generation Australian offspring of migrants – we never faced such poverty. And so – though we did not eat the overripe fruit ourselves – we cooked with it instead. My mother taught us to make apple pies and teacakes and other sorts of deserts with it.

I have been reflecting on this industriousness with fruit and vegetables over the last few days, because worthless fruit goes in and delicious cakes come out and through this I see the benefits of suffering!

The spiritual fruit of suffering is HOPE. When we suffer, we grow in the virtue of HOPE by uniting our suffering with that of Christ crucified and it is through that unity that our suffering can have some merit. This unity with Christ is sort of like – in my mind at least – using up that old over-ripe fruit in a cake…

You see, of itself, the overripe fruit would be worthless and go to waste because nobody would eat it. In fact – worse than that – fruit that began by being a little overripe would eventually – after spending some time in the fridge or on the kitchen bench – become so over-ripe that it would rot or mould and perfectly good edible fruit would soon become garbage.

That disintegration of the fruit reminds me of what it is to suffer without offering it to God…

You see, Christ suffered on the Cross for LOVE of us. In fact, though it is possible that some souls have suffered greater physical tortures that Christ – though I personally find such a concept hard to believe – nobody loved or surrendered more during their suffering than the Son of Man.

In this way, this HUGE suffering of Christ’s on the Cross became not a worthless thing – like a piece of over-ripe fruit on the kitchen bench – but a marvellous thing of its own new worth – like the cake that I cook with that worthless fruit…

And this means, that if I could only imitate my Beloved just a little, I too would be able to turn my suffering into something of far greater value… I would be able to turn it into the spiritual virtue of HOPE!

And just like the worthless fruit that goes into the delicious cake, I too would be able to do something GOOD for God – using the things that nobody thinks have very much value left at all – suffering (and a bit of GRACE)…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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