Catholics/Temporal Punishment, Reparation for Sin
Hello and thank you for taking my question
I have been suffering with anxiety, panic attacks and depression (Suicidal at times) for over 30 years now. Im 48 and it started when I was 13 although I had panic attacks as a young child. I would like my suffering to serve some good purpose. What exactly does the church mean when they say to "Offer your suffering up to Christ." People have told me to "Offer it up" but when I ask them what it means they cant tell me.......... can You ???
Thank you, Pete
Yes, I can. Although sin that is truly repented of can be forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance in Confession with a traditional Catholic priest (New Order presbyters are not ordained with this power), the consequences of that sin remain, for the effect that it has had on oneself and others. Reparation must be made for these consequences through penance actually performed, not just the small pro-forma penances now given in the Sacrament, but by one's other prayers, works, and sufferings.
The analogy is like this: you pound a nail into a fence board and decide that it is wrong, so you remove the nail. The nail is gone, but the hole remains. The reparation of the consequences of sin is called Temporal Punishment because it must be paid back in the time (Latin "tempus") that we have in this world. If we do not pay it back now, it must be paid back after death in Purgatory. (Obviously, if one is in Hell for eternity, it is too late for any reparation.)
In suffering we do penance to God in justice for the sins that we have committed against Him. It is a way that we share in the suffering that He endured for us on the Cross in redeeming our sins. So, it is a good practice each morning to offer up one's prayers, works, and sufferings of the day to repair for the sins that we have committed and to repay the Temporal Punishment that they have incurred:
"Ego per hanc diem integram Tibi libentissime offero omnes meas intentiones et cogitationes, omnes meos affectus et desideria, omnia mea opera et verba."
[I throughout this whole day offer most willingly to Thee all my intentions and thoughts, all my feelings and desires, all my works and words."]