Salvifici Doloris – Week 7
Week Seven: Priests, Prophets, and Kings
Overview: In these excerpts, John Paul II highlights those who have best proclaimed “The Gospel of Suffering:” the Blessed Mother, the martyrs, and the most vulnerable among us.
A Taste of Part I: The Good News
The witnesses of the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ have handed on to the Church and to mankind a specific Gospel of suffering. –John Paul II
“The Good News (Gospel) of Suffering” sounds very strange to our ears. And yet, isn’t it indeed good news that our suffering can be a wellspring of redemption for our brothers and sisters and even for ourselves? Neither the Son of God, Jesus, nor his mother Mary was spared of suffering and “all kinds of humiliations.” Not only can we look to them for strength during trials knowing that we can never suffer as much as they did but also we can become like them in using our suffering to alleviate the sufferings of others as their suffering of the Cross in a definite and ultimate way did for us.
A Taste of Part II: Suffering For and With Christ
Christ did not conceal from His listeners the need for suffering… –John Paul II
Why do we need to suffer? Because we have a desire to love. All of the theology culminates in this ultimate reality of love.
A Taste of Part III: The Joy of Suffering
A source of joy is found in the overcoming of the sense of the uselessness of suffering.
–John Paul II
Josephine Bakhita, one of my favorite saints, (and Pope Benedict’s I think!) said something once that liberated me when I heard it: I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good. This is the posture of the Christian. Suffering has meaning and purpose because of the Cross and the privilege and freedom of the Christian is not only the knowledge of that but the agreement with it. It is the agreement that helps us enjoy its eternal weight of glory!
For Reflection & Prayer: Jesus on the Way to Calvary
God who came among men goes to the scaffold: defeated, a failure; a moment, a day, three days of nothingness, in which everything is finished. This is the condition, the condition of sacrifice in its most profound meaning: it appears to be a failure, it appears not to succeed, it appears that the others are right. Remaining with Him even when it seems that everything is finished or has finished; staying next to Him as His Mother did–only this faithfulness brings us, sooner or later, to the experience that no one outside the Christian community can have in this world, the experience of the Resurrection.
–Fr. Luigi Giussani, The Sorrowful Mysteries
For Further Study: Ending the Catholic Love Affair with Suffering by Jim Schuster
The Endow Podcast: It’s Okay to be Angry at God: A Conversation with Adam Young, LCSW
For Prayer: Our Lady Undoer of Knots Novena