Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thanks for the Suffering, God

     A couple weeks ago I went to daily Mass at St. Benedict’s, and I had a few ah-ha moments, some real revelations on the greater good that can come from our suffering. I found it interesting that since so many people were already there spread out through the pews, I ended up sitting farther back than usual and pillars were blocking my vision of both statues of Our Blessed Mother Mary that I can usually see, but that the Crucifix was directly in front of me.
     That afternoon and early evening were pretty rough for me, but I’m glad I went to Mass. I was thinking about Christ suffering during His Passion. I contemplated what He’d been through even before hanging on the cross, and though I was feeling down and in pain, it occurred to me that if my suffering would even for the briefest moment, in the smallest way alleviate Christ’s suffering on the cross, then it would be worth it.
     He sacrificed His mind, body, and spirit for us. I want and need to do the same for Him. Of course there were times when He was overwhelmed and wanted to give up, have the cup pass from Him. He didn’t give up, though. He accepted the strength, courage, perseverance, and grace His Father provided, and He endured the suffering necessary for our eternal salvation.
     Everything in us may be begging to give up at times, but if God sees fit to keep putting us back in the fiery furnace for a while longer, then there must be some other way(s) our being there will benefit others, and thereby slake Christ’s thirst for our love and sacrifice.
     It occurred to me at Mass that God knows what He’s doing in giving me so much suffering. He knows I am not strong enough in faith or trust. He knows that I’m not far enough along spiritually that I would normally ask for suffering myself or would necessarily say yes to it if I were offered the choice.
     He knows only on rare occasions do I ask to be given part of the suffering another is bearing to relieve them of a portion of their burden. I am often far too self-centered to pick up on the depth of anguish others are going through. I’ve learned when in the midst of suffering to offer it to God along with Christ’s perfect sacrifice of His life on the cross, so that it can be turned into something good to build up His Kingdom. Trials and tribulations also remind me to pray for others who are struggling.
“All things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
     God knows what it takes to get me to the point at which I am completely willing to submit to His will, no matter what it requires of me. Sometimes it takes more pressure than others to get me to turn my focus back to Him. He alone knows what will crush the pride, selfishness, and sinfulness in me. The Lord alone knows how long I need to be held in the flames to be purified, but not destroyed.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22
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