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Friday, March 14, 1997

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Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalm 34
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

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privileged suffering

"Let us beset the just one." —Wisdom 2:12<br> "Let us condemn him to a shameful death." —Wisdom 2:20

Two weeks from today is Good Friday. On that day, we will remember that Jesus suffered and died for love of us. We also remember that in our own flesh we "fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church" (Col 1:24). Jesus has left room for our sufferings to be included in His plan of redemption.

Jesus blessed us when He said: "Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven" (Mt 5:11-12; see also Wis 2:22). May we be "judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name" of Jesus (Acts 5:41). May our lives be "not like other men's" (Wis 2:15) so that we will be privileged (Phil 1:29) to suffer revilement and torture (Wis 2:19) for righteousness' sake (Mt 5:10).

Rejoice "in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13). "If anyone suffers for being a Christian...he ought not to be ashamed. He should rather glorify God in virtue of that name" (1 Pt 4:16). Suffer, rejoice, and love.

Prayer:  Father, I accept Your grace to take up my crosses daily (Lk 9:23). May I know how to share in Jesus' sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death (Phil 3:10).

Promise:  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves." —Ps 34:19

Praise:  Joyce's entire household fasts on bread and water during the Fridays of Lent.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996