Sunday, October 25, 2015

Suffering Sanctified

Wayne and I are in Year B of Catholic Biblical School of Michigan.  We just finished studying the Gospel of Mark.  The topic of suffering was addressed and one of the members of our small group said something that bears repeating. (He is not sure whom to credit with these words but maybe someone reading this knows and can share.)

Christ our Lord became man. While man was created in the image and likeness of God and we are dignified by this association, Jesus, by becoming man (by "touching" human life) gives special dignity to  humanity.

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.  He touched the waters and thereby sanctified them for our baptism.

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert before beginning His public ministry.  He "touched" fasting thereby sanctifying it as a practice we should all embrace.

Jesus "touched" suffering.  He suffered immensely and He suffered well.  His touch sanctified suffering and made it something that we should long to do well.

St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians (Col 1:24) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church."

Fr. John Riccardo explains that what is "lacking in the afflictions of Christ" is our participation in them.

People in my age group and older were taught to offer it up when we had a headache or other type of pain we were dealing with.

I have learned over the years, from great teachers, that in addition to offering up our suffering, we should also UNITE our suffering with that of Christ's.

We will all suffer. It is an inevitable fact of life as a consequence of original sin.  For many, it is definitely their path to sanctification.  It doesn't matter how little or big the suffering is. From an annoying headache, a broken bone, loneliness, or cancer, uniting it to Christ's suffering sanctifies not only us but the suffering as well.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Last week I read quotes from two very wise gentlemen.  Both had to do with truth.

George Orwell said, "The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."

My cousin, Don Gervase, said, "There is one truth…how far you drift from it is determined by adopting a "truth" that fits with what you've been persuaded to believe.  That is why counterfeits look so much like the real thing, but are still fake."

We have seen this drifting away in major ways in our country.

Abortion is still legal even though we have been able to show, for decades, that the growing baby is not just a blob of tissue.  Some have been persuaded to believe that this is necessary and good for women.  Abortion is not health care.

Assisted suicide is becoming more widely accepted.  It is tragic when someone healthy and able bodied commits suicide, but when someone ill decides on assisted suicide they are seen as heroic. Suicide is not health care either.

Marriage has been redefined to include same sex couples, though this is most definitely not what God intended at creation.  Again, some have been persuaded to believe that this is necessary and good for these couples.

Jesus gave a mission to the 12 to go and preach the good news, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. They were to take His teachings and make sure that others learned them the way He taught them.

The apostles were the first Christians. They learned the truth from Truth Himself.  They spread that truth throughout the known world, and it has been this truth that the Catholic Church has been charged with teaching for nearly 2000 years.

In His teaching, we have the seven Sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Sacrament of the Sick.

In His teaching, we have the truth about marriage, divorce, contraception, the sacredness of life from conception to natural death, how to live our faith so that our neighbors are loved as we love ourselves and so on.

Jesus prayed before He died:

"As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you." John 17: 19-21

I pray for an end to abortion. I pray for more people to realize the dignity of human life. And, I add my prayers to those of our Savior;  that one day we may be one in the faith that Christ left us.