One evening my husband said something really hurtful to me. I spat some suitably angry remark back at him then stormed off.
Just to ‘show him’ I grabbed a pillow and blanket from our bedroom, and resolved to sleep in the spare room, perfectly happy to let the sun go down on my anger.
Before laying down my resentful head, I sat down in my usual spot and began to read my daily prayers.
They are the Fifteen St. Bridget Prayers.
Our Lord appeared to St. Bridget of Sweden and told her that she would have honored each of His wounds if she recited the above prayers daily for a whole year.
There are also 21 St. Bridget Promises, traditionally associated with her prayers. You will find them at the end of the page I've linked. There is some confusion here. The booklet states that their supernatural origin has not been proved, and they are not covered by an imprimatur, whereas Bill Richer states at the end of the list of promises that they are covered by two imprimaturs.
Regardless, God will grant anything we ask Him, if it be consistent with His will. Matthew 21:22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
The prayers take about fifteen minutes to say properly, without rushing. So I settled into my chair and focussed on the words looking at me from the page.
They dwell on the suffering Christ endured before and during his Passion. I read of His being nailed to the Cross with big, blunt nails, being stretched out and pulled from all sides, and having His limbs dislocated. Yet He was able to forget His sufferings and pray instead for His enemies, saying: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
After fifteen minutes of immersion in the acute suffering of Our Savior, I felt really embarrassed about wanting to sleep in the spare room because of one hurtful comment. If Christ could go through all that agony for my sake, maybe I could swallow my pride and abandon my foolishness?
At least I hadn’t yet told my husband that I was slinking off in anger and was saved from having to take back those words!
The St. Bridget prayers proved so useful that day. They were long enough to give me time to simmer down, and described Christ’s sufferings in sufficiently graphic detail to put my own in perspective.
I highly recommend these prayers for those times when you feel a festering resentment towards someone and want to get even. They really work! Pray them with real fervor and you'll get a sense of peace and reconciliation.
Epilogue: Value of Suffering
As Bill Richer writes, below the prayers on that linked page: "With your sufferings, others who would ordinarily not be saved will be saved!"’
None of us enjoys our sufferings, but by offering them up for the salvation of souls, we can use them for good and rejoice in being able to do so.