Salvifici Doloris – Week 8
Week Eight: The Good Samaritan
Overview: Saint John Paul II concludes Salvifici Doloris, by examining how Christ calls us to respond to the suffering of others.
A Taste of Part I: Who Is My Neighbor
We are not allowed to “pass by on the other side” indifferently; we must “stop” beside him. Everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person, whatever form it may take, is a Good Samaritan. –John Paul II
In his text, The Risk of Education, Fr. Luigi Giussani writes: “Other people are to be “hosted” within ourselves. Hospitality is making another person a part of our own living. Bear in mind that hospitality is the greatest possible sacrifice after that of giving one’s own life. For this reason, we rarely know how to truly welcome and host others, and do not even know how to welcome ourselves. To make others a part of our own life is the true imitation of Christ, who welcomed us thoroughly into His life that he made us into parts of His body. The mystery of Christ’s body is the mystery of our body being hosted within His.”
A Taste of Part II: Witness To Love
The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love; and in a certain sense man owes to suffering that unselfish love which stirs in his heart and actions. –John Paul II
The proposals that Catholic Social Teaching makes to the Church are principles which, if they are applied, are an alleviation of human suffering into “another world.” The four foundational principles of CST are: Personalism, the Common good, Subsidiarity, and Solidarity.
In short, the primacy of the human person (the personalist principle), the good of the whole people (common good), friendship/social charity (solidarity) and the idea that “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order” (subsidiarity).
These principles taken seriously are the concrete ways we build a “world of human love.”
A Taste of Part III: You Did It To Me
In the messianic programme of Christ, which is at the same time the programme of the Kingdom of God, suffering is present in the world in order to release love…–John Paul II
The Endow study guide on suffering ends reminding us that our missions not only include suffering but also loving those who suffer “in a particular way.” This “particular way” is the work of our apostolate which is not primarily to remain enclosed in our families, Endow Groups, or parishes but to be sent out. This is why we call the mass, “mass;” meaning “sent!” It’s why in the Latin rite the liturgy ends with the words: Ite, missa est. “Go!”
For Reflection & Prayer: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Precisely through our gaze fixed on the cross–where hangs the One who looks at us with the fixed gaze of eternity, fixed with pity and the will to save us, having pity on us and our nothingness–through the gaze fixed on the cross, what would be something so foreign as to seem to us abstract, arbitrarily created, becomes the experience of redemption. It is by fixing our gaze on the cross that we learn to perceive experientially the invading Presence and the unavoidable need for grace that gives our life perfection, and gives it joy. It is in Mary that the adoration of our heart finds its example and its form. For the condition of the cross was not just for Christ; Christ’s death on the cross saves the world but not in isolation. It is not alone that Christ saves the world, but by the adherence of each and every one of us to suffering and the cross. St. Paul says it: “In my own body I make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ, in His Cross and Passion.”
With you, o Mary, we recognize that the renouncement that is asked of our life is not a punishment, but the condition for its salvation, for its exaltation, for its increase. Mary, make our offering, the offering of our lives, help the poor world, this poor world, to be enriched in the knowledge of Christ and to rejoice in Christ’s love.
–Fr. Luigi Giussani, The Sorrowful Mysteries
For Further Study: 5 Tips for Good Friday From Catholics Who Live Their Faith Amidst Persecution
The Endow Podcast: The Lay Vocation: A Conversation with Fr. Andrew Mattingly