Redemptive Suffering

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I've seen a lot of comments here and elsewhere to the effect that the Pope's passage should be quick and painless. I have a few things to say about this.

First of all, I hate to break it to you, but that is not what's happening. The Pope is suffering from infections, heart problems, circulation problems, and other ailments. He will suffer.

Secondly, suffering is not in and of itself good. It is a consequence of the evil that entered into the world with the fall of Adam and Eve.

Thirdly, Christ came to take this suffering - which was meaningless - and give it value. Before Christ, suffering led only to death. With Christ, however, suffering can redeem. When we suffer, we are closer to Him who suffered for us. The easiest way to be Christ-like is to suffer.

Fourth, The Pope himself is not running from this suffering, he is embracing it precisely because he knows that through this suffering, he will be closer to Christ.

With those points as our basis, let us look at the Pope's suffering:

Yes, the Pope is suffering, and we should certainly hope and pray that his suffering be eased, but we should also recognize that this suffering is salvific. And if you believe that the Pope is a saint, and will have no need for a final purgation, then take comfort in the fact that his suffering, united to Christ's will be salvific for you and for me.

As St. Paul says: we rejoice in our sufferings, and elsewhere, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, and elsewhere, rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Rather than feeling sorrow for the Pope in his sufferings, let us look instead to his example of how to suffer joyfully. Let us learn from him, so when our personal time time to suffer comes, we may be able to unite our suffering to Christ's, so we may truly rejoice.

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The insight of seeing the pope suffer in the last days showed what suffering truly means. I've read about pain and suffering in books. I've seen it when my relatives lived in their remaining days. I saw them inch closer to the final day. Seeing t... Read More


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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on April 2, 2005 11:04 AM.

Pope slipping in and out of consciousness was the previous entry in this blog.

Rest in Peace is the next entry in this blog.

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