Salvifici Doloris – Week 4
Week Four: The Suffering of Christ
Overview: This chapter, we continue exploring Pope St. John Paul II’s reflections on the suffering of Christ, looking at the reasons for His suffering, the nature of it, and what it teaches us about the love of God.
A Taste of Part I: The Man of Sorrows
The Man of Sorrows of that prophecy is truly that “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” –John Paul II
John the Baptist confirms the prophecy of Isaiah eight centuries later. 20 centuries later, this prophecy remains true for you and me, today.
A Taste of Part II: The Experience of the Cross
Christ, through the divine depth of his filial union with the Father, perceives in a humanly inexpressible way this suffering which is the separation, the rejection by the Father, the estrangement from God. –John Paul II
Mother Teresa is remembered for saying that the worst possible suffering is loneliness. It is no wonder then that the words that Jesus cries from the Cross are about the feeling of abandonment: My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
A Taste of Part III: The Love on the Cross
The Cross of Christ has become a source from which flow rivers of living water. In it, we must also pose anew the question about the meaning of suffering, and read in it, to its very depths, the answer to this question. –John Paul II
In the midst of suffering, it is easy to fall into political idolatry for alleviation. However, “The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern.” (Deus Caritas Est, Benedict XVI)
For Reflection & Prayer: Jesus’ Agony in the Garden
“Now my soul is sorrowful; and what must I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour [faced with the thought of sacrifice, the thought of death, of self-denial…]’? But it is for this that I have come to this hour [for this, for this condition have I been chosen, called, lovingly taught by the mystery of the Father, by the charity of the Son, by the warm light of the Spirit. Now my soul is sorrowful and what must I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? ‘Take away this condition, Father, take away this condition.’ Must I say this? But it is precisely for this that I have come to this hour!].” Thus I can say at the end, “Father, glorify Your name [glorify Your will, bring about, realize Your plan], which I do not comprehend [because He did not comprehend the great injustice]. Father, glorify Your name in front of which I stand in fear and trembling, in obedience–that is to say, in love. My life is Your plan, it is Your will.
–Fr. Luigi Giussani, The Sorrowful Mysteries
What comes to mind when you consider that “the condition for being true in a relationship is sacrifice?”
For further study: C.S. Lewis’ book A Grief Observed
The Endow YouTube Channel: Wounded Healers: A Conversation with Jeannie Ewing