the school of suffering
"Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church." —Colossians 1:24
Before we become committed to the Lord, we naturally choose to live a life of maximum pleasure and minimum pain. Because true love often entails pain, the life of maximum pleasure and minimum pain amounts to a life of maximum selfishness and minimum love.
If we repent, choose love, and totally commit our lives to the Lord, we choose a life of maximum love — no matter what the pain. In effect, we choose to take up the cross daily and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23). We choose to suffer redemptively in the pattern of Jesus' death (Phil 3:10).
As we grow in holiness, we not only accept suffering in Jesus but rejoice in it (Col 1:24; see also 1 Pt 4:13). We rejoice to suffer with Christ because we love Christ and want to be like Him. Moreover, we rejoice to suffer in Christ because we love others and we want all to be saved. When we realize that "suffering, more than anything else...clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls" (The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, Pope John Paul II, 27), we rejoice that the Lord's saving grace is being accepted through a sharing in Christ's suffering.
Are you committed to Jesus? Are you growing holier? To answer these questions, look at your attitude toward suffering in Christ.
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to transform my attitude toward suffering.
Promise: "One thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it." —Lk 10:42
Praise: Praise the suffering, crucified, risen, and exalted Lord and Love. Praise the blood of Jesus!
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003