Posts Tagged ‘John Paul II’

1 Peter 3:8-22: Salvific Suffering – Part IV

Friday, May 12, 2017

Paolo Veronese: Christ Healing a Woman with an Issue of Blood

How do we suffer with Christ?

In light of the suffering the early followers of Christ underwent, we read an excerpt from John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris, in which he writes that Christ raises human suffering to the level of redemption and answers the question “Why must I suffer?”  John Paul writes: “Christ does not explain in the abstract the reason for suffering, but before all else he says ‘Follow me!’ Come!  Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering!’  . . .  Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him.  He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering Christ.  At the same time . . . the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man’s level and becomes, in a sense, the individual’s personal responseIt is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy.  A source of joy is found in the overcoming of the sense of the uselessness of suffering, a feeling that is sometimes very strongly rooted in human suffering . . . Those who share in the sufferings of Christ preserve in their own suffering a very special particle of the infinite treasure of the world’s redemption . . .”

As we read from a letter written either by Peter or by someone in his name, we hear this faithful follower say that suffering brings us to a cross that not only symbolizes pain, but that also emanates love and grace.  We hear Pater tell us that salvific suffering is holy when we allow ourselves to suffer with and in Christ, when we allow our experience to become Christ’s gift to us.  And once we live out this deep, transforming love, we will want to return this gift to Christ, and hence to the world. This is how we best understand sorrow. This is how we best offer our pain to the world.

Tomorrow, the baptism of Christ’s love.

To read Salvifici Doloris, go to: https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1984/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_11021984_salvifici-doloris.html

Adapted from a Favorite written in November 10, 2007.


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