Our capacity to suffer
Since suffering and death are unavoidable in our life, we just have to see to it that we develop the appropriate skill and capacity to suffer and die. In this regard, the only way to proceed is to be vitally identified with Christ who knew how to suffer and die, how to conquer sin and the suffering and the death that come as a consequence of sin.
And let’s take note of this important point. Not only is he teaching us how to suffer. He actually accompanies us in our suffering and death. He is willing to suffer and to die with us!
This is what we can gather as we go through the passion, death and resurrection of Christ during the celebration of what is known as the Easter triduum that starts in the evening of Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Last Supper, then the Passion and Death of Christ on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
It would be good if we find time to meditate more deeply and slowly on this most important event in the liturgical calendar that actually culminates and summarizes the redemptive work of Christ.
We have to understand that Christ’s passion, death and resurrection are what complete our creation, providing us with everything we need to be reconciled with God our Creator and Father and to be what we ought to be.
And all we have to do now is to apply the merits of Christ’s redemptive work on ourselves. Let’s remember that Christ doesnot impose his good designs for us on us. We have to freely accept andcorrespond to them.
So, we really need to know how to suffer with Christ. Any problem that we encounter in life, in whatever form and degree it comes, should always be referred and united to the suffering of Christ. We have to avoid going through our suffering simply on our own. That would simply be disastrous.
With Christ, we would know why suffering comes, why it can be a redemptive means, a clear expression of love and of obedience to the will of God. With Christ, we would lose the fear of suffering and would even develop a welcoming attitude toward it, considering that it is not only good for us only, but also for others. We would realize that it has tremendous sanctifying, purifying and atoning power.
Any form of suffering is actually an invitation for us tounite ourselves with Christ more intimately, and to join him in the continuing work of the redemption of man. That is why suffering has a very positive value.
We need to process these truths and considerations more slowly so that we can develop the appropriate attitude and the relevant skills. We should learn to suffer not only in silence but also in joy and optimism. The truth is that Christ has taken up all our suffering. We really have nothing to worry about. Our role is only to have some share of it to enable us to relate ourselves to Christ. Isn’t that wonderful?
Suffering therefore can and should be a happy event for us. And when due to our human weakness, we cannot help but feelburdened and pained, Christ also has reassured us to go to him so hecan refresh us. (cfr. Mt 11,28) So we should not delay in having recourse to him whenever we in some way feel down, low and out.
Thus, our suffering should not be a hindrance in doing what we are supposed to do—sanctifying ourselves, sanctifying our duties and the world in general, and helping others to sanctify themselves. It can be a tremendous aid in carrying out the essential tasks and responsibilities we have in life.*
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