Salvifici Doloris – Week 5
Week Five: The Way of Discipleship
Overview: In this section, Pope St. John Paul II reflects upon how Christ’s suffering and death changed the meaning of suffering for man, making it part of every disciple’s journey to holiness and a way we can share in Christ’s mission.
A Taste of Part I: The Redemption of Suffering
In the Cross of Christ not only is the Redemption accomplished through suffering, but also human suffering itself has been redeemed. –John Paul II
The freedom that Christ offers is that every single action, whether positive or negative, can become redemptive. I imagine this is what St. Paul must have meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Nothing has to be wasted! For this reason, Bl. Andre Bessette could say: My only ambition is to serve God in the most humble tasks. And Brother Lawrence could make the judgment that peeling potatoes was more spiritually helpful than even his evening prayer time at the chapel. If the mundane is redeemed, imagine the glory and efficacy of suffering redeemed!
A Taste of Part II: The Path to Glory
In the eyes of the just God, before his judgment, those who share in the suffering of Christ become worthy of this Kingdom. –John Paul II
The 2021 World Watch List from Open Doors has been released. Please click here to view the state of global Christian persecution. 340 million Christians experience hostile persecution. In short, 1 in 8 believers. Consider “adopting” a persecuted country and offering your suffering for them this Lent.
A Taste of Part III: The Hope of Glory
Those who share in the sufferings of Christ are also called, through their own sufferings, to share in glory. –John Paul II
One of the greatest spiritual game changers for my life, in other words, a method that has helped me improve in suffering well, has been to read and try to follow as best I can Pope St. John XXIII’s Daily Decalogue. In particular, number 6: Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it, has there been an increase in “good” suffering and hopefully an increase in reward and share in glory.
For Reflection & Prayer: The Scourging of Jesus at the Pillar
The companionship of the God-Man in our life has become inconceivable, unimaginable tragedy, one that defies anyone’s imagination. In all the centuries of history there cannot be imagined–not even in play, like a fairy tale–a tragedy greater than this: the companionship of God-made-flesh was forgotten, outraged by man; a tragedy that arises from the cynicism of our pursuit of our instincts. Around this “wood” coagulate the evil of man who fails the call of the Infinite and the disasters caused by this crime, so that the death of the God-Man is the sum and symbol of all these disasters. And, at the same time, here too is met the irresistible power of God, because just that supreme disaster and that evil become the instrument for its conquest and redemption. This is the enigma that God maintains in life, because this great plan of goodness, wisdom, knowledge, and love must be a trial, must put into action the idea of trial. Why a trial? Because the world is in evil, the world lies in the Evil One. ~Fr. Luigi Giussani, The Sorrowful Mysteries
In what circumstance of your life have you most profoundly experienced the paradox of suffering and redemption?
For further study: Henri Nouwen’s book A Letter of Consolation and The Endow Podcast: A Litany of Healing for Families