Paul suffered to the point that he may be called another Job. When compared to other leaders of the Corinthian church, Paul said: "I am more: with my many more labors and imprisonments, with far worse beatings and frequent brushes with death...Leaving other sufferings unmentioned, there is that daily tension pressing on me, my anxiety for all the churches" (2 Cor 11:23, 28). Yet Paul considered these sufferings and many more to be "nothing compared with the glory to be revealed" (Rm 8:18).
Paul was able to keep suffering in perspective. This is truly a miracle because suffering, by nature, will push everything into the background, even our awareness of God. Paul kept suffering in perspective because he believed in what the Lord had already done and what He promised to do. Jesus has redeemed suffering and transformed its meaning by suffering and dying on the cross for each one of us personally and individually.
When you believe that Jesus died for you, you are overwhelmed with the need to thank Him. Then suffering with Jesus and for love of Him becomes a valuable opportunity to express your thanks. Thus you will consider suffering a privilege (Phil 1:29) and find joy in it (Col 1:24; 1 Pt 4:13). After you see suffering in the light of the cross, you can see it in the light of the resurrection and eternal life in Jesus. Then you will see suffering not as meaningless, fearful confusion but as light, love, and mystery. Suffer in and for Jesus.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from June 1, 2005 through July 31, 2005.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004.