My strength is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9
Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion. -Lamentations 3:32
Reflection. How much do you suffer? How many times in life have you suffered? Whether through a physical ailment, an emotional disruption like the death of a loved one, or a horrible event, a loss of a job, or the breaking down of a relationship- suffering is all around us, and is a constant presence. But how often do you embrace it? How often do you wish for suffering, or sit to await its arrival? Keep this in mind, if you keep in mind anything in this reflection-Christ’s Passion. Christ with his never-ending-dying love for us, was tortured and put to death by our ancestors, so that we may have ever-lasting life, so that our sins would be forgiven, so that we may model our lives after Him, in His ever-lasting love. Imagine the suffering, not only on a physical level, but as an emotional one-as the Father, as the Creator- as His own Children tortured and put Him to death. Truly, in this aspect, if we put ourselves in His shoes- that is, imagining our closest loved one doing the same to us- He suffered the most horribly on this Earth. But why in the world, would we want to embrace it? The answer, although complex, is quite simple- to bring us closer to His embrace, his love, his wish for us. Saint Pio, a modern day Saint, suffered through most of his life, both spiritually and physically though both his stigmata and illness (he is the only Priest to have ever suffered it), and said:“Suffering is necessary for our souls.” In this context, we can look at suffering as a way to bring us closer to our Lord, as a purification of our souls, so that we may be ready when the time comes to join Him in paradise.
Suffering of any form is not easy- in fact its downright hard. But instead of turning away from God, we should embrace Him; draw ourselves closer to Him, for in the end of our earthly lives, we will be joining Him. We should turn our suffering towards God, dedicate our suffering to His passion, as a way to purify ourselves here on Earth, so that our pain and suffering in purgatory will be lessened, so that we may become spiritually clean. If we are truly to live with Christ in our midst, we must share in his passion, for Saint Pio also said: “Consider yourself extremely fortunate in participating to the sufferings of the God-Man.” and “Bearing physical and spiritual ailments is the worthiest gift we can offer to Jesus.” We must come to understand from the minute we are born that suffering is from God’s grace. That through our suffering we should draw closer to Him, not away from Him. His love is ever-present, and we must come to understand the purpose of our suffering. If we dedicate our suffering as a sacrifice to Him, then our suffering becomes a means of love towards Him. We must turn our sufferings into our personal Cross to bear, sharing in the Lord’s suffering. That being said, we must also learn to become self-less- that is, understanding that all suffer, and that we must continuously pray for those around us that do suffer when we don’t, and dedicate ourselves to them, to lessen their burden and bring them closer to God. I pray for all those that our suffering now, that they may come to understand the purpose of the suffering, and turn themselves towards God’s comfort and love, and that their suffering may not only be a testimony of love, but that it may be lessened through the grace and love of our savior, Jesus Christ. God Bless! ~CJA
Along life’s pathway troubles come
That God will help us bear;
Then we can look beyond the pain
To those that need our care. -Branon