I've been rereading Pope Benedict's encyclical on hope. He mentions a practice that used to be quite common among Catholics, but seems to have fallen by the wayside. It is the practice of "offering it up."
While major sufferings can and do come into our lives--tragedies and severe things that are hard to bear--most of our everyday sufferings are small things that can cause annoyance and discomfort. These things can be turned into opportunities to join our sufferings to those of Jesus for the salvation of the world.
The Pope's words made me reflect on this more. Sometimes I forget and waste these chances to offer everything to the Lord. But in some mysterious way that we can't fully understand, I can offer to God through Jesus my aches and pains, a cutting remark from someone, some extra work I didn't want to do, bad weath, or whatever it might be, and God can use that to bring grace to someone anywhere in the world.
Benedict says: "What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ's great 'com-passion' so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love."