This verse popped into my head last night while I was lying awake thinking about my dad. He is currently in the hospital, awaiting admission to a nursing home.
He is facing surgery in the next few weeks and is suffering while he waits.
He suffers from not understanding what is going on. He suffers from being apart from my mom (his wife of 52 years). He suffers from not remembering what he's been told several times already.
He knows he's suffering. That part, he gets.
I walked into his room yesterday to visit and the very first words that popped out of his mouth were:
"For all the souls in purgatory."
St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians, "Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." (Colossians 1:24)
As Fr. John Riccardo so aptly put it, "what in the world could be lacking in the suffering of Christ?" And his most appropriate answer, "Our participation in it."
All our growing up years we heard, "offer it up!" Which meant, if we were suffering anything, instead of complaining we were to offer it to Christ. Fr. John suggests, rather, we "unite it" to Christ's suffering.
My dad learned that as a very small boy and, now, as an adult, he has not departed from it. He can't change any of his circumstances, but he can offer up his suffering, or unite it with Christ's, "for all the souls in purgatory."
Even with Alzheimer's he is still teaching us and setting the example.
Thanks dad. I love you!
This bible verse was in our associate pastor's column this past week. It is now stuck to the back of my phone, because, after all, we are all suffering along with my dad:
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4: 12-13)