Non-fiction/ Devotional



Author’s Worldview


Year Published



Suffering, Sins, Temporal Punishment, Jesus’ Crucifixion, Seven Sorrows of Mary, Saints


Reviewed by

Tiffany Buck

In modern America, pain is bad and must be escaped. Treat yourself. Numb the pain. Take a pill. We do all these things to rid ourselves of any discomfort. Have a headache?  Take some medicine— it’s quicker than trying to rehydrate. Work is too demanding, so why not use your bonus money to treat yourself to something nice? You can always save your pennies later. Your college boyfriend dumped you?  Numb  the pain by eating a tub of ice cream. A family member mistreats you?  Cut them out of your life. You’re better off without them.  If there’s a solution to almost every sort pain out there, then why are people so miserable and fall so easily into despair?

Father Jacob Powell has written a very helpful guide to suffering in The Saving Power of Suffering. Broken into three parts, the book offers readers hope when faced with anguish.

  1. “Seeing it God’s Way” Readers learn how individual sufferings can benefit their souls and the souls of others. We can offer up our suffering for others and ourselves.
  2. “ Our Tools to Transform Suffering” We are reminded of the tools Jesus gave us to transform our suffering into something beautiful to offer God.
  3. “Our Examples: Mary and the Saints” Readers learn of the great suffering Mary and many of the saints experienced. Their suffering did not make them bitter, but drew them closer to Jesus.

We cannot escape pain and suffering. We have all heard the question, “If God is all good, then why is there so much suffering?” Naturally, we ask this question because we are mortal and see things with human eyes. God, the creator, has perfect vision and sees suffering through divine eyes . We suffer because human beings are sinners. Suffering is ultimately a consequence of sin, although the person suffering is not always the one who is guilty. God is not always trying to punish us, although sometimes suffering can be punishment. But God always does  love us and wants salvation for us. Suffering is often the method God uses to draw his people close. God never abandons us—when we are crying out in agony, he is right there. Consider a sculptor chiseling away at the stone. Only he sees the masterpiece hidden within. 

While reading this book, I couldn’t help but ponder my sufferings and the sufferings of my loved ones. So many times, I have found myself asking why. As a cradle Catholic, I was taught to “offer it up,” but I won’t deny the fact that I bought into the “pain is always bad” mentality. Reading this book brought me a sense of hope when faced with pain. In fact, I wish I had read it many years ago when I was diagnosed with depression.

Father Powell’s book on suffering is well worth the read, especially for Catholics who want to draw closer to Jesus. However, some may not be too enthusiastic about reading a book on embracing suffering—especially if they are going through something quite difficult. For those who have ongoing suffering such as chronic pain or mental illness, this book can be quite helpful in seeing your cross through God’s eyes.

Best Catholic Books of 2017

2017 was an awesome year for Catholic literature. Here are our best finds for every genre.

Books to Pray with: January The Gift of Diversity

Every month in 2024 Pope Francis has a monthly prayer intention. Every month we will release a book list that will draw your heart and soul deeper into prayer on these topics.
January starts the year off with praying for and in thanks of the gift of diversity to the church.

Books for Lent

Deepen your Lenten reflection with these stories of repentance and forgiveness

Best of 2020

Yes some good things DID happen this year- Catholic creators have not let turmoil stop their mission.

The People’s Choice- Top 10 Genres in Catholic Literature

The book-geeks have spoken! Top favorite genres in Catholic literature July 2018- July 2019

End of Year Releases

The newest stories in Catholic literature! End your year with a good book.

Why Flannery O’Connor is Too Dangerous for Catholic Book Stores (And why I love them both for it)

Why the promotion of religious fiction is just as important as the promotion of nonfiction and Apologetics.

Best of 2023 Book Awards

Our favorite books that we reviewed in 2023. If you want Catholic literature but don’t know where to start this, (and previous award winners) is the list for you.

Freedom & Responsibility in “Citizen of the Galaxy” by Robert Heinlein

One of the masters of science fiction delivers a story exploring the limits of freedom and the ongoing battle against fallen human nature.

Books to Pray With, March: For the New Martyrs

Every month in 2024 Pope Francis has a monthly prayer intention. Every month we will release a book list that will draw your heart and soul deeper into prayer on these topics.

Best Books of 2018

2018 was a fantastic year for Catholic fiction! Check out our best picks of the year and let us know your favorites.

Best Books of 2022

Our favorite book finds of the year!

Why Reading Fiction Made Me a Better Catholic

How reading fiction became a crucial step in my conversion to the Catholic Church.

How the Dragon Awards Could Uplift Catholic Fiction

If you don’t like current state of mainstream publishing and wish there were more widely available alternatives, this is your chance to help make that a reality.

Spooky Catholic Reads

Books with the themes of the All Hallows season grouped according to scariness level.

2021 Summer Reading List for Preteens

Six series that are a must-have for your Preteen’s library ages 8-13

Books to Pray With: April, For the Role of Women

A book list with prayerful reflection on the gift of women in the church. Pray and read along with us and the Pope’s monthly reflections for 2024.

Books to Deepen Your Lent

Whatever your needs or tastes these books explore the Lenten themes of repentance, confession and renewal.

August & September New Book Releases

Step into Fall with a Good Book

For Those Fleeing Their Country: June Books to Pray With Series

A reading list to reflect on the plight of migrants and refugees. We pray that migrants fleeing from war or hunger, forced to undertake journeys full of danger and violence, find welcome and new opportunities in the countries that receive them.