Being Catholic in a Secular Classroom | Is There Meaning in Suffering?

As you may have noticed Daughter of a King has changed sites!! It was time for a nice change and have found a new home here at! 🙂

Now onto the topic of discussion… suffering.

On Friday morning I was sitting in a lecture for ethnic studies where my instructor began to describe intrinsic meaning within events and how it is impossible to have these. He continued on to say, “I hate when my mother tells me that ‘it happened for a reason’ because you know what this is implying? That there’s some higher purpose to suffering. Someone can’t tell me that 6 million Jews dying in the Holocaust has some intrinsic meaning.” Following this I raised my hand and mentioned that it depends on what he constitutes as being the meaning of suffering. He answered this by saying, “You are going to tell me that a woman sitting in an oven holding her childs hand is going to find meaning in that?”.

I was speechless.

My professor was telling me that suffering had no meaning and that this ‘higher power’ was not enough for one to suffer.

I was very disturbed that I was sitting in a lecture room hearing about the fact there was no meaning in suffering, and that just weeks before this I had to sit in the front row while this same professor told our class ‘thank goodness the Personhood amendment didn’t pass because it would have given the fetus as much rights as the women.’ We continuously talk about oppression and discrimination and the history of what it had done to ethnic groups like the Jews, Irish, Italians, and African Americans. Yet I was sitting in the front row feeling highly discriminated against because of my faith.

Yes Professor Cortés, I believe in a God that can make suffering worth it. I believe that as a Christian the paradox of death is that death brings life. I believe that I, along with millions of other Catholics, would lay down my life for the sake of my faith not because I would want others to find meaning in my own suffering but because my God (the one you may not believe exists) is worth dying for. I believe that millions of Catholics have DIED for a higher meaning. Therefore, No Professor Cortés, I do not believe in what you say that “events do not have intrinsic meaning”. Because I can tell you that the Cristero movement wherein thousands of Mexican Catholics died for the right to be able to practice their Catholic faith or that Saint Maximilian Kolbe who was unafraid of death and ”for Christ he was prepared to suffer still more” wasn’t for NOTHING. They died for eternity. They died to have life everlasting with a God who sent His son, who many would have called a homeless crazy man, to die on a tree. He suffered. And you are going to tell me the greatest sign of love, which was a man suffering and dying on a cross, was for nothing?

No Professor Cortés. Events do not have intrinsic meaning in it of themselves but people do. These people are what give these events meaning. Some of the most influential men and women were Saints who prayed for death because it would bring them to life with Christ. Eternal life is what makes suffering worth it. Jesus Christ makes suffering worth it.

To my fellow students who find themselves facing adversity in their classrooms I ask that you be courageous and not silent. Our Catholic Church and Our Lord is the truth. Others will disagree and even try to persuade you otherwise but be strong! Question, speak out, and most importantly pray for those persecute you. Christ is with you and for you. Therefore, you shall not fail.

cristeros priest martyred

The martyrs of the Cristero War in Mexico


Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Tell me this is not worth something.