The past 12 weeks I've been on a spiritual journey that I have really enjoyed (now I'm on round 2, woohoo!). The name of the study is Light Weigh, it is a combination of catechesis, scripture study, and lives of the saints... all under the umbrella of the redemptive nature of suffering... with a side bonus of losing some weight!
No one likes suffering, am I right, but kind of like that phrase, "turn that frown upside"... you can use suffering for to bring you closer to God, and to bring other to God!!
I heard some very interesting stuff on suffering last night at the Lenten talks at our church (some stuff I knew, and some was completely new to me). Steve Kellmeyer's series on Suffering starts with the Passion (good place to start, right!). Let me see if I can relay the information...
- Pain (suffering) is to detach ourselves from THINGS. (i.e. humiliation is to detach ourselves from pride)
- We each have suffering for two main reasons... because of ourselves, (and) or because of someone else.
- We, as parents, have the authority to offer up the suffering for our children if they are unable to offer it up themselves. Of course if are children are suffering, then so are we and should be offering up our suffering for them.
- Christ did not NEED Simon's help to carry the cross... He actually wanted the whole cross for Himself, but he allowed Simon to help because Simon had need of suffering for some reason (this was completely new to me). This should be a model for us. When we are suffering and someone is there to help us... we should allow them to because they have a shared benefit in our suffering (the example he gave was when you are sick and someone wants to clean/cook/care for you, you should not refuse because you want to do those things yourself... you have a duty in a sense to allow them to help you... yes I know Daddio it was like he was speaking directly to ME... I get it).
- Can suffering actually be enough to aid salvation (works/penance)? Short answer is NO, but it is necessary...think of it this way... can a child pay for an entire window (or an entire house in Steve's example) when he sends a baseball through the window? No, but he does have to pay something, right... allowance or something... but the actual burden will rest on the homeowner/insurance/child's parents... but in giving his allowance, something that he CAN do, it will help him learn and make reparation within his ability. WE can't fully rectify with our Heavenly Father for our own sins... it's impossible on earth. We can offer reparation in the best way we can through works and penance, Christ took care of the rest on the Cross with His suffering.
- The Passion... usually we think of SUFFERING... right?! Christ on the Cross... remember that the term really is LOVE.
- A beautiful Apostolic Letter by the late great JPII on the beauty of redemptive suffering: Salvific Doloris
*Remember, you're not special (to desire to be special is pride and vanity)... you are PRECIOUS to our Heavenly Father... which is so much more!