Redemptive Suffering through Christ’s Passion and Resurrection
Very Rev. David G. Caron, OP, Ch. M
All one has to do is turn on the radio, open the newspaper, watch television, or go online. We are bombarded with news of pain and suffering, almost to the saturation point, around the entire world.
As the Order of Malta, we are charged with the care of the “Lord’s poor and the sick” as we see the poor suffering around the world, including in our own country. However, suffering is not limited to the economically poor. Who of us cannot find suffering in our own life or in the lives of those who touch ours? No one is spared.
Every day, people are diagnosed with life-changing illnesses, or some have been unemployed for a long time and now are desperate to support their families. We know of individuals experiencing failed relationships or the sudden death of loved ones. So many are bearing difficult crosses.
As Christians, we know that suffering is a deep mystery of life. Although it may be hard to understand our faith tells us that God never abandons us in our suffering. With all suffering, there eventually comes a resurrection. That is the paschal mystery, a central doctrine of our faith. Jesus suffered, died, and rose.
We, too, live that mystery in our own lives in big and small ways. To suffer is part of being a Christian. It is not easy and no one wants to suffer. But the redemptive part is that God is with us in our suffering, just as he was with Jesus during his. We are called to unite our suffering with Christ’s.
Suffering can make us bitter or it can make us better, transforming us. Which are you? We have little power over most suffering, our own and others, but we do have control over how we let it affect our lives. Experiencing a hurt or loss can enable us to be more compassionate and loving to others in similar circumstances.
Today, we remember our malades and all those who suffer in any way. With them, we remember that Jesus lived the paschal mystery. We, his followers, are called to do the same.
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