What Every Catholic Should Know



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Product Details

Product Code:
0.5 (in)
Size (HxW):
8.06 x 5.25 (in)
Publication date:
February 07, 2024
8 oz
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Product Overview

Click "Product Videos" below to watch Mark Giszczak discuss Suffering: What Every Catholic Should Know on the Ignatius Press Podcast.

Just as Job was tried, all of us are tested by suffering. It comes to us in many different forms: grief about the past, pain in the present, and sadness about what might have been. The personal dimension of suffering means that it marks our experience and, in some ways, makes us who we are.

Coping with suffering as Christians includes certain spiritual practices that lead us to surrender our lives more fully to the Lord. By offering our suffering as a spiritual sacrifice, joined intentionally to the suffering of Christ through prayer, we engage with the most profound Christian teaching about suffering: that it is redemptive. Suffering can transform us to be like God.

Editorial Reviews

"Many of us think if we do everything 'right' that God will keep us from suffering and that God is 'unjust' if suffering crosses our path. This book is a very helpful companion as we struggle to understand and respond to the mystery of suffering which none of us can escape. It will help you live a more joyful and fruitful life."
— Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap., Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia

"A perfect book for those wrestling with the problem of why God allows good people to suffer. Giszczak tackles the tough questions with compassion, clarity, wit, and deep Catholic faith."
— Mary Healy, Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

"One of the deepest mysteries of the faith is why we must continue to suffer after Christ's victory on the Cross.  Didn't Christ deal the devil a 'knock-out blow'? This work is a pastorally sensitive guide to an authentically Catholic understanding of this mystery. It will be a source of consolation to many."
— Professor Tracey Rowland, St. John Paul II Chair of Theology, University of Notre Dame (Australia)

"All of us suffer, but not many of us suffer well. I highly recommend this book to all wanting to find purpose and fulfillment in the inevitable trials we face."
— Bob Schuchts, Author, Real Suffering; Founder, John Paul II Healing Center

"Dr. Giszczak has given us a detailed theology, helping us to better understand suffering in our lives, and to allow ourselves to realize its transforming power."
— Jim Beckman, Executive Director, ImpactCenter

"A richly rewarding book that combines humble, straightforward honesty with a transformative practical vision!"
— Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

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  • 5
    Superb work on suffering

    Posted by Roger Thomas on Mar 27th 2024

    It’s been said that if you ask the wrong questions, you’ll get the wrong answers – not wrong in the sense of answering the faulty questions, but in the sense of addressing the situation you’re questioning. The truth of this old axiom can be clearly seen these days in the questions asked and the answers offered regarding human suffering and God’s power, or goodness, or love. “If God’s so loving, why did He let our grandchild die?” “If God’s so powerful, why didn’t He stop that terrorist attack (or whatever catastrophe)?” For many in our slogan-saturated society, these questions (and their implied answer: “He isn’t”) are the discussion-stoppers, the ace of trump thrown down in defiance to any claim of God’s love or goodness. In his book Suffering – What Every Catholic Should Know, Mark Giszczak begins the discussion by straightening out the questions. “Questions” that are actually rationalizations, or expressions of pride, or whatever, don’t actually answer the universal human reality of suffering – they just paper over it, leaving those who cling to them still hurting with no solution. Drawing on Scripture, centuries of Christian devotional wisdom, and human experience, Giszczak begins by framing the right questions, then carefully and thoroughly answering them. The keynote to the whole work is finding meaning in suffering. Even basic human experience tells us that suffering that has meaning is more bearable. From the athlete training for the big even to a wife who learns that her firefighter husband perished while ensuring some children were rescued, we instinctively grasp that it isn’t suffering per se that is difficult to bear, but senseless suffering. I remember this clearly in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks: people were not so much angry or vengeful as they were stunned and bewildered. The attacks were incomprehensible, they made no sense. Why would anyone do such a thing? This touches on the deeper question of whether suffering can ever have any meaning, and this is what Giszczak take up from the outset. From a scholar like Giszczak, you would expect well-reasoned and theologically sound answers, and he does not disappoint. What you might not expect is a realistic and sensitive treatment of the hard and often bitter reality of suffering, but he provides that as well. He does not offer abstract solutions to the knotty equation of human pain, but rather speaks from his own life experience and that of others. His examples are drawn from everyday life, things to which we can all relate. His advice is gentle and sympathetic, yet also challenging. Another thing you might not expect from a book on suffering is assistance in deepening your devotion, but that’s exactly what I found. As I better understood how Jesus enters into our suffering, I found myself drawing closer to Him. I even found myself going to confession after reading about how poor responses to suffering can be nothing more than expressions of ego. Of course, this stands to reason – if the wrong questions and answers regarding suffering can hinder our devotion, the correct ones can aid it. Atop all these virtues, the work is extremely accessible. Nearly anyone could read this book and benefit from it. To me, this has always been the mark of true genius: not the ability to explain a subtle concept to another genius, but to explain it to the school janitor. Giszczak manages this deftly. Suffering doesn’t give glib, facile answers to the problem of human pain, because the topic cannot be answered that way. The reality of evil, and the consequent suffering is far too complex and personal. The fact that God Himself came down in person to walk beside us, and indeed enter into our suffering, should amply indicate that the problem will admit no simple solutions. But that very fact is what provides meaning, even redemption, to our suffering. Mark Giszczak does a thorough and admirable job of explaining how to better grasp that truth.