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Sunday, March 21, 2010

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21
Philippians 3:8-14
Psalm 126:1-6
John 8:1-11

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the prayer for suffering

"I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from His resurrection; likewise to know how to share in His sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death." —Philippians 3:10

The Lord calls us to pray to be freed from suffering to be freed for suffering. We must pray for healing, deliverance, victory, and peace. We pray to remove sufferings that are not God's will to help us accept sufferings that are. Therefore, after praying to be freed from suffering, we should pray "to know how to share in [Christ's] sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death" (Phil 3:10).

This prayer to know how to share in Christ's sufferings is rarely prayed. Only those deeply in love with Christ are open to this prayer. To pray for suffering, love must be more important to us than self. We must love Jesus so much we prefer to suffer with Him rather than to enjoy ourselves without Him. Because of love, we consider Jesus more important to us than pleasure, and we even value suffering insofar as it is in union with Christ.

We proclaim: "I have come to rate all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ. For His sake I have forfeited everything; I have accounted all else rubbish so that Christ may be my Wealth and I may be in Him" (Phil 3:8-9). Rejoice in the sufferings of Lent "in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13).

Prayer:  Father, may I consider it a privilege to suffer with, for, and in Jesus (Phil 1:29).

Promise:  "See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth." —Is 43:19

Praise:  "We praise You, the Lord God Almighty, Who is and Who was" (Rv 11:17). "Who would dare refuse You honor, or the glory due Your name, O Lord?" (Rv 15:4)

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009

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