Our Lady and Sheen

Redemptive suffering

Suffering is one of the worst words in the English language. The idea of it, either physically, mentally, spiritually or just nails on a chalk board make people cringe. Grace allows the martyrs to die for Christ; Grace also allows us to suffer patiently knowing that it is part of God’s larger plan.

I do not suffer happily mostly.

We must view suffering through the eyes of Christ. Matthew 16:26 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” I am no theologian, nor am I a saint, but this simplest of instruction is a commandment in which many of us will leave sad, yet, we are offered “little” crosses in order to become “little” Christ’s.

Romans 8:17 tells us “if we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.” To me, a simple layman, I do not think it’s necessarily the greatest invitation. Much like when a boss at work informs his overworked and under paid staff, “if you get through this project, we’ll all be recognized by the CEO as a great team.” Of course, in some companies the employee may gain recognition, but in most it becomes stressful overtime suffering for nothing.

St. Paul, under inspiration, offers us more than just a catch phrase, the next verse spells out the game plan. Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” In the midst of sufferings, it is hard for most of us to see Hope (our Hope is in the name of the Lord), but we must.

I don’t know if you can put the reasons for suffering in a hierarchical order, but I would agree with St. Paul in saying that we suffer, which allows us to suffer for others. Colossians 1:24 is a hard scripture to take, “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.”

It is bold, for a man to say that his sufferings add to the Sacrifice of the Cross, and this would throw many people who read it for a loop. “But how can Christ’s sacrifice be once and for all if it isn’t perfect!?” Fortunately we have the Magisterium of the Church and 2000 years of the gates of Hell failing to prevail against the Church to help guide us. I am woefully under equiped to theologically and spiritually explain offering our sufferings to “fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ.” The best I can offer is: God wishes to allow us to apply Graces to the whole Body. Our sufferings are nothing when compared with the perfection of the triumph of the Cross; but God allows us to play our part.

All of this is to say that our lives, whether joyful or in suffering, are able to offer up graces for the world. I have had the opportunity to observe someone ask God to allow him to take on suffering for another, for a very specific healing, and its “worked.” But, it’s not a magic formula, it’s Love! Divine Love, which offers no boundaries, even allowing Graces to be earned for the assistance of others. This Love gives us the opportunity to experience the cardinal virtue of Charity, loving our neighbor because we love God with all our heart, mind, and strength.

Some of us will never be able to rescue the body of a man, but we can ask God to let us lay down our lives for our fellow man, spiritually. This sacrificial charity, in any form, will cause a renewal of the world in the image and likeness of God.

As cliche as it sounds, we must never forget that we must “offer up” our sufferings for the good of the Kingdom!

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
John Paul the Great, pray for us!
Archbishop Fulton Sheen, pray for us!

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

A few days ago, a student asked me if I wanted to buy a valentine for anyone; I must admit it made me cringe ever so slightly, then I realized that it’s not that big of a deal!  (I do enjoy that St. Valentine is listed as the patron saint of greeting card manufacturers!)

“Wuv… twue wuv,” as the man says, is not something that is eternal.  It is, in fact, someone who is eternal.   The most beautiful part about the Love to me is that throughout time it is the Love of the Cross.  St. Valentine, while alive served the faithful by providing the sacrament of matrimony in the face of the Emperor’s order against it.  He gave his life in an attempt to allow those creatures of God an opportunity to mirror the heavenly love.

While jailed by the Romans he cured the sight of his jailer’s daughter, and mailed off to her a lovely letter, encouraging her in her faith, signing it “Your Valentine.”  Then he was beheaded for the love of Christ.

In the words of our priest at Mass, red, the color of love, is also the color of blood out-poured by the martyrs, like St. Valentine.  I enjoy CatholicCulture.org for its coverage of feast days like today.

St. Valentine, pray for us, and especially for those couples attempting to live lives of Christian virtue.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Feast | , , | Leave a comment