Tag Archives: suffering

St. JP II: Salvifici Doloris

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader's Edition. St. JPII, pray for us!

The frontispiece of the NRSVCE Reader’s Edition. St. JPII, pray for us!

As a person, and especially a Catholic, with a permanent and sometimes painful physical disability, the doctrine of redemptive suffering resonates with me very deeply. And this idea of patient suffering made me love John Paul II, even before I was Catholic—underneath that slouching, frail body was an indomitable Spirit that even non-religious folks noticed. I think of John Paul II, and I see the fruit Jesus’ words when he said, “Do not be afraid.” This man was to me so brave, and I’m glad he’s interceding for us now in Heaven, asking God to help us patiently bear our own crosses; what a reassurance! And what a reassurance and grace that we have a God who still speaks to us in the Sacraments and from the pages of Holy Scripture proclaiming, “Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe! Be strong and courageous!” (Dan. 10:19) Because Friday is traditionally a day of penance and reflection on Jesus’ sacrifice, I’d like to share with you all this excerpt from St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris:

As a result of Christ’s salvific work, man exists on earth with the hope of eternal life and holiness. And even though the victory over sin and death achieved by Christ in his Cross and Resurrection does not abolish temporal suffering from human life…it nevertheless throws a new light upon this dimension and upon every suffering: the light of salvation… This truth radically changes the picture of man’s history and his earthly situation: in spite of the sin that took root in this history both as an original inheritance and as the “sin of the world” and as the sum of personal sins, God the Father has loved the only-begotten Son, that is, he loves him in a lasting way; and then in time, precisely through this all-surpassing love, he “gives” this Son, that he may strike at the very roots of human evil and thus draw close in a salvific way to the whole world of suffering in which man shares…

The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ…

You can read the entire thing here. It’s a beautiful letter, and a reminder of the truth—”See, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) Even our suffering can become beautiful and good when illuminated by the Gospel and united to the cross. Have a blessed and safe weekend, everyone!

Lenten Resolutions: “Do Not Be Afraid.”

Lent started Wednesday of this week, and I’m excited to share my Lenten resolutions, The first one is to get well and take the history exam I missed Thursday. I’m also working out law school issues, but beyond the very obvious school hopes, I have a few more things in mind.  Continue reading

Sunday Morning Caffeine: Reflections on the Gospel

Coffee, prettified via Instagram

Coffee, prettified via Instagram

I didn’t nod off until after one this morning, and I was so anxious that I convinced myself to turn off my alarm. (On odd days when I can’t sleep, knowing the alarm is going to ring often keeps me from relaxing.) It wasn’t a bad idea; I woke up a little before 6, but since I hadn’t slept enough, I forced myself to lay back down. I woke up at 8:30, threw my clothes on, and rushed out the door just in time to meet my 9 AM pickup. So much for, “I don’t need an alarm today.”

in all of this, I’d forgotten the one reason I really get up so early on Sundays—early morning coffee before Mass, finished just in time to keep the hourly Eucharistic fast. So I did not get my coffee. And poor, dear Mrs. H took a zombie to Mass this morning! I mulled through the Opening Rites in a fog, was semi-awake during the Readings, and finally managed to be alive around the Sign of Peace. My head was splitting, the choir sounded like clanging metal, and I’m fairly certain my eyes were closed during much of the Intercessions.

But we did get an amazing homily on one of my favorite Gospel stories—Jesus and the leper. Their beautiful exchange is always so touching to me, and I found myself repeating after the deacon as he read today. This is a small part, Mark 1:40-42:

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

Father gave an excellent homily about showing the light of Christ to those “lepers” in our lives, whether they be men and women who, like the leper in the story, are ill, or simply people we don’t want to associate with. Are we being Christlike to those men and women? After all, what makes the Church beautiful is her openness to all people; we have to remember that Jesus calls all to share in the promise of the Gospel, not just the people we like the best. Food for thought on this beautiful, cold Sunday.

My coffee is getting cold by now, but my morning deprivation got me thinking about how much I like my little routines. I’m just that type of person—I need “me” time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But how often have I been rude to a friend or neighbor because they were “interrupting” my quiet time with music, activity, and noise? It’s something to think about as we approach the beginning of Lent; when things don’t go our way, do we accept this small splinter of Jesus’ cross and suffer it for the good of our brothers and sisters, or do we become indignant and ugly, choosing instead to tear them down?

We don’t always get our morning coffee, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to be complaining zombies. On the contrary, Jesus demands we “take up [our] cross” and leave ourselves behind. We are not called to be sorry, complaining zombies. We are called to be Saints. In fact, we are saints now, as St. Paul reminds us. We are set apart for the joy of Heaven. If only we will make do without our morning coffee, for just a little while—we will have an eternity of Maxwell House. Or at least, I like to think so.

I know it’s so silly, but I like to think heavenly ambrosia tastes a bit like dark roast and coffee cake. Happy almost Lent everyone! May your coffee be always hot, and your faith always fervent! God bless you!

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

Daily Prompt: No, Thank You

Because I’m running low on creativity, I decided to try my hand at a daily prompt offered by the Daily Post here on WordPress. Yesterday’s prompt was “No, Thanks.” The prompt asks, “Is there a place in the world you never want to visit? Where, and why not?” Now, I’m not sure about actual places in the world, because I’ve only ever been outside the country once, but I know a thing or two about places inside the mind I’d prefer not to return to. Continue reading