learning to suffer
"They will turn Him over to the Gentiles, to be made sport of and flogged and crucified." —Matthew 20:19
God's word shows us ways to react to suffering and pain.
- Jeremiah resisted not only his sufferings, but also those who caused them (Jer 18:19-21). This reaction to suffering is usually sinful and vindictive. Sometimes it is good to resist those who cause our sufferings. We hold them accountable in order to help them because we love them. However, we must always remember that our battle is not against people, but demons (Eph 6:12).
- Some people try to escape from suffering. They deny the reality that suffering is an almost inevitable part of life. This makes matters worse and prevents them from building up the Church through suffering (see Col 1:24).
- Another reaction to suffering is throwing a "pity party." Wallowing in pity, we neither accept suffering nor remove it (see Jon 4:1-3, 8).
- We can also react to suffering by resisting and removing it. This is often the right reaction to suffering. Jesus did this when He healed the sick. We also resist and remove suffering when we heal or care for the sick and oppressed.
- Finally, Jesus' reaction to such sufferings as persecution, rejection, and self-sacrifice is to freely choose these redemptive sufferings and make them the most powerful expressions of love possible (see Mt 20:18).
In this Lent, may we let Jesus teach us how to suffer by being formed into the pattern of His death (Phil 3:10).
Prayer: Father, may my joy be in proportion to my share in Christ's sufferings (1 Pt 4:13).
Promise: "Such is the case with the Son of Man Who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His own life as a ransom for the many." —Mt 20:28
Praise: St. Katharine shared her wealth and her faith with those who had neither.
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009
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