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loving to suffer
"Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you." —Colossians 1:24
Naturally we want to avoid suffering. Supernaturally we can and must embrace certain sufferings, which are a share in Christ's sufferings. Love is the only thing stronger than our natural aversion to suffering. Those who choose suffering in the pattern of Jesus' death (Phil 3:10) do so only because of love.
Therefore, to take up the daily cross of redemptive suffering (Lk 9:23), we must ask the Holy Spirit to produce in us the fruit of love (Gal 5:22). We must "seek eagerly after love" (1 Cor 14:1) and ask the Lord to make us "overflow with love for one another and for all" (1 Thes 3:12). We should pray that our "love may more and more abound, both in understanding and wealth of experience, so that with a clear conscience and blameless conduct [we] may learn to value the things that really matter" (Phil 1:9-10), even suffering.
"Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love, and experience this love" (Eph 3:18-19). Naturally we don't like to suffer. Supernaturally we must love in order to suffer. Love to suffer.
Prayer: Father, heal me from unnecessary suffering for redemptive suffering.
Promise: "His hand was perfectly restored." —Lk 6:10
Praise: John has grown in love since he daily cared for his mentally disabled son.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011
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