Thursday, August 28, 2008 – The New Testament – Revising our Suffering
The last time we looked at the New Testament as a whole was nearly twelve months ago, last September just as the school year was beginning. Again as the summer closes and we turn back to shorter days and longer nights, we may want to pause to reflect on this significant story of suffering and redemption.
A paragraph from Phyllis Tickle’s DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME (page 438) stays with me – although I read it several days ago. It is cited as coming from THE NEW COMPANION TO THE BREVIARY and the prayer reads: God of justice, God of mercy, bless all those who are surprised with pain this day from suffering caused by their own weakness or that of others. Let what we suffer teach us to be merciful; let our sins teach us to forgive. This we ask through the intercession of Jesus and all who died forgiving those who oppressed them. Amen.
This is a beautiful prayer which brings us a wonderful perspective on suffering. We are reminded to use pain, grief and loss as a kind of tuning fork to hone our own capacity to empathize with fellow sufferers and to forgive transgressions – our own as well as those of others.
As I read the introduction to The New Testament in my mother’s Douay Version of the Bible, I read about the genesis of this translation of sacred scripture. When the Catholic Church was outlawed in England (1560), there was a need for an accurate Catholic, English version to counterbalance the newly translated English Bibles. In 1582 this Catholic New Testament was printed in Rheims, France. In 1609-1610 the Catholic Old Testament was published in Douay, France. Together these works, translated by exiled English priests, were called the Rheims – Douay Version, to be later referred to as The Douay or Douai. This translation was believed to be more faithful to the original texts and has undergone several more revisions since that time.
This causes me to think of the number of times (with its number of reasons) that we re-translate ourselves to the world, the number of times that we re-read, re-set, re-calibrate, revise and re-edit ourselves. What do we use as our values? What do we use as our criteria? What do we use as our checks and evaluations? What do we do with the behaviors we know we need to change? How do we carry on with the conduct we know we must continue to maintain?
Do our revisions of ourselves abide with God’s Word to us in the Incarnation? Do our revisions of ourselves console something within us that seeks completion? Do our revisions of ourselves enact the promise God placed in us at our conception? We need to answer these questions as we move through the days marked out for us to live here on earth . . . and we will want to observe how to make these revisions as best we can . . . because we will want to be well-practiced when we pass from this life into the next. We will want to use our suffering well.
Tickle, Phyllis. THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME. New York: Doubleday, 2000. Print.
To learn more about The New Testament, click in the image above or go to: http://www.abu.nb.ca/courses/ntintro/indexntintr.htm
Return to The Book of Our Life tab for more reflections on Books in the Bible.
This page has the following sub pages.
- The New Testament – The New Covenant
- Matthew – Our Personal Gospel
- Mark – “I Am”
- Luke – Part One of God’s Promises Fulfilled
- John – Jesus is the Word
- Acts – The Story of the Holy Spirit
- The Letters of Saint Paul
- Romans – Universality and Individuality
- Corinthians – Idolatry
- Galatians – Magnanimity
- Ephesians – Christ
- 2 Thessalonians – Lawlessness
- 1 Thessalonians: The Call
- Titus – Church As Community
- Philemon – The Challenge
- Hebrews – Motivation
- 2 Peter – Passion
- 1 John – Testimony