Monday, May 25, 2009

On Suffering (2)

Response email to the post “On Suffering” from my good friend A.L., who is also into Catholic Apologetics. Great insight.
How do we reconcile a merciful, providential God with suffering?

Sin kills the soul while effect of suffering kills the body, both lead to death. Evil and suffering are connected, therefore like the effects of suffering like sin is not caused by God but like evil He simply permits it to happen in our lives because of our God-given free will.

How do we distinguish between "merited" and "unmerited" suffering?

In (Rom 8:28) "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." Even the most horrendous and inexplicable tragedies have value behind them as God allows them for greater good to happen; therefore no suffering is in vain.

Why does suffering occur to some and not to others?

This is truly a mystery. If God is all-just and all-powerful and all-knowing, it seems He must give each individual what he deserves; but no. Because the perfect man who ever lived on earth 2000 years ago, sinless and innocent is the “Man of Sorrows.” (Is 53) and suffered for the guilty.

Jesus preached "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Those who mourn recognize that one cannot, with human effort alone, reach blessedness of heaven. Only through suffering that we realize how vulnerable and weak we are and not in control of our lives, that’s when we often times only think of God and seek His help.

To quote C. S. Lewis put it, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world".

The suffering of Christ is sufficient for redemption and that the suffering of the saints/ faithful was/ is not in anyway adding to complete it. But as partakers of the divine nature (2Pet1:4) suffering is a mission for all faithful as a means of conforming themselves to Christ.

Rom 5:3-5, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

2Cor 1:5-7, For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Phil 3:8-11, Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Col 1:24-26, Now 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, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.

Heb 2:10, For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.

1Pet 4:12-13, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.


aeisiel said...

I like to share two wonderful passages from St. Faustina’s diary on suffering…

In Times of Suffering

O Living Host, support me in this exile, that I may be empowered to walk faithfully in the footsteps of the Savior. I do not ask, Lord, that You take me down from the cross, but I implore You to give me the strength to remain steadfast upon it. I want to be stretched out upon the cross as You were, Jesus. I want all the tortures and pains that You suffered. I want to drink the cup of bitterness to the dregs (1484).


O my Jesus, give me strength to endure suffering so that I may make a wry face when I drink the cup of bitterness. Help me Yourself to make my sacrifice pleasing to You. May it not be tainted by my self-love… may everything that is in me, both my misery and my strength, give praise to You, O Lord (1740).

WillyJ said...

Thanks, aeisiel.