The Meaning of Suffering
By Pope John Paul II
“If a grain of wheat…dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24).
The redemption carried out by Christ at the price of his passion and death on the cross is a decisive event in human history, not only because it fulfills the supreme divine plan of justice and mercy, but also because it gave new meaning to the problem of suffering. No problem has weighed more heavily on the human family, especially in its relationship with God. We know that the value of human existence is conditioned by the solution of the problem of suffering. To a certain extent it coincides with the problem of evil, whose presence in the world is so difficult to accept.
Christ’s cross — the passion — throws a completely new light on this problem by conferring another meaning on human suffering in general.
In the Old Testament suffering was considered as a penalty inflicted on man for his sins by a just God. However, within this perspective, based on an initial divine revelation, it was difficult to explain the suffering of the innocent. This is an acute problem, the classic example of which is found in the case of Job. It must be added, however, that already in the Book of Isaiah the problem is seen in a new light. The figure of the servant of Yahweh seems to constitute a particularly significant and effective preparation in relation to the paschal mystery, in the center of which those who suffer in all times and peoples find their place alongside the “man of sorrows” — Christ.
Christ who suffers is, in the words of a modern poet, “the Holy One who suffers,” the innocent one who suffers. This is so because his suffering has a much greater intensity compared with that of all other human beings, even of all the Jobs, that is to say, of all those who suffer without fault of their own. Christ is the only one truly without sin, and who, moreover, could not sin. He is therefore the only one who absolutely did not deserve to suffer. Yet he is the one who accepted suffering in the fullest and most resolute manner, and who accepted it voluntarily and with love. This indicates his desire, his interior urge, as it were, to drink to the dregs the cup of suffering (cf. Jn 18:11), and this “for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world,” as the Apostle John explains (1 Jn 2:2). In this desire, communicated to a soul without guilt, is found the essence of the redemption of the world by means of the cross. The redemptive power of suffering is in love.
Thanks to Christ, the meaning of suffering changes radically. It no longer suffices to see in it a punishment for sin. One must discern in it the redemptive, salvific power of love. The evil of suffering, in the mystery of Christ’s redemption, is overcome and in every case transformed. It becomes a force of liberation from evil, for the victory of the good. All human sufferings, united to that of Christ, complete “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body” (cf. Col 1:24). The body is the Church as the universal community of salvation.
In what is known as his pre-paschal teaching, Jesus made it known on more than one occasion that the concept of suffering, understood exclusively as a punishment for sin, is insufficient and even incorrect. Thus when some told him of the Galileans “whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices,” Jesus inquired, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus?… Or those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?” (Lk 13:1-2, 4). Here Jesus clearly called in question a view that was widely and commonly accepted at the time. He made it understood that the misfortune that brings the suffering cannot be understood exclusively as a punishment for personal sins. “No, I tell you,” Jesus declared, and then added, “But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3-4). In the context, a comparison of these words with those that went before makes it evident that Jesus intended to emphasize the necessity of avoiding sin, because that is the real evil, the evil in itself. Given the solidarity that binds human beings among themselves, sin is the ultimate root of all suffering. It does not suffice to avoid sin merely through fear of the punishment that the sinner may incur. One must truly be converted to the good, so that the law of solidarity can reverse its effectiveness and develop, through communion with Christ’s suffering, a positive influence on the other members of the human family.
This is the meaning of Jesus’ words when he healed the man born blind. The disciples asked him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (Jn 9:1-3). By giving sight to the blind man, Jesus made known the works of God which were to be revealed in that disabled man, to the advantage of himself and of all those who should come to know of the event. The miraculous healing of the blind man was a sign which led him to believe in Christ and introduced into the mind of others a seed of disquiet (cf. Jn 9:16). The profession of faith of the blind man who had received his sight manifested the essential “work of God,” the gift of salvation which he received together with the gift of sight. “Do you believe in the Son of Man?… Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?…You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you…. Lord, I believe” (Jn 9:35-38).
Against the background of this event we perceive in the light of the cross some aspects of the truth about suffering. A judgment that views suffering exclusively as a punishment of sin runs counter to love for man. This had appeared already in the case of Job’s “comforters” who accuse him with arguments based on a conception of justice devoid of any opening to love (cf. Job 4 ff.). One sees it still better in the case of the man born blind: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Jn 9:2). It is like pointing a finger at someone. It is a judgment which passes from suffering seen as a physical torment, to that understood as a punishment for sin. Someone must have sinned, either the man in question or his parents. It is a moral imputation: he suffers, therefore he must have been guilty.
To put an end to this petty and unjust way of thinking, it was necessary to reveal in its essential profundity the mystery of the suffering of the innocent one, the holy one, the man of sorrows! Ever since Christ chose the cross and died on Golgotha, all who suffer, especially those who suffer without fault, can come face to face with the “holy one who suffers.” They can find in his passion the complete truth about suffering, its full meaning and its importance.
In the light of this truth, all those who suffer can feel called to share in the work of redemption accomplished by means of the cross. To share in the cross of Christ means to believe in the saving power of the sacrifice which every believer can offer together with the Redeemer. Suffering then casts off the mantle of absurdity which seems to cover it. It acquires a profound dimension and reveals its creative meaning and value. It could then be said that it changes the scenario of existence, from which the destructive power of evil is ever farther removed, precisely because suffering bears its copious fruits. Jesus himself revealed and promised that to us when he said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). From the cross to glory!
It is necessary with the help of the Gospel to make evident another aspect of the truth about suffering. Matthew tells us that “Jesus went about…preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity” (Mt 9:35). Luke in his turn tells us that when Jesus was questioned about the true meaning of the commandment of love, he replied with the parable of the good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:30-37). From these texts it follows that, according to Jesus, suffering should impel in a special way to love of neighbor and to the commitment of rendering him all necessary services. Such a love and such services, carried out in every way possible, constitute a fundamental moral value which accompanies suffering. When speaking of the last judgment, Jesus set out with particular clarity the idea that every work of love performed on behalf of a suffering person is directed to the Redeemer himself: “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me” (Mt 25:35-36). The whole Christian ethic of service, even social service, is based on these words, as well as the definitive turning to account of suffering accepted in the light of the cross.
The Good Samaritan By Walter Rane
Could not one find here the answer which humanity awaits today? It can be received only from Christ crucified, the holy one who suffers. He can penetrate the heart of the most painful human problems, because he already stands beside all who suffer and who ask him for an awakening of new hope.
Pope John Paul II
November 9, 1988
Letter of Pope John Paul II on the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering
11 February 1984
On the Redemptive Suffering of Christ (abridged from sections 14-21)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” These words, spoken by Christ in His conversation with Nicodemus, introduce us into the very heart of God’s salvific work. They also express the very essence of Christian soteriology, that is, of the theology of salvation. Salvation means liberation from evil, and for this reason it is closely bound up with the problem of suffering. According to the words spoken to Nicodemus, God gives His Son to “the world” to free men from evil, which bears within itself the definitive and absolute perspective on suffering. At the same time, the very word “gives” (“gave”) indicates that this liberation must be achieved by the only begotten Son through His own suffering. And in this, love is manifested, the infinite love both of that only-begotten Son and of the Father who for this reason “gives” His Son. This is love for man, love for the “world”: it is salvific love.
The words quoted above from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus refer to suffering in its fundamental and definitive meaning. God gives His only-begotten Son so that man “should not perish” and the meaning of these words “should not perish” is precisely specified by the words that follow: “but have eternal life.”
Man “perishes” when he loses “eternal life.” The opposite of salvation is not, therefore, only temporal suffering, any kind of suffering, but the definitive suffering: the loss of eternal life, being rejected by God–damnation. The only-begotten Son was given to humanity primarily to protect man against this definitive evil and against definitive suffering. In His salvific mission, the Son must therefore strike evil right at its transcendental roots from which it develops in human history. These transcendental roots of evil are grounded in sin and death: for they are at the basis of the loss of eternal life. The mission of the only begotten Son consists in conquering sin and death. He conquers sin by His obedience unto death, and He overcomes death by His resurrection.
As a result of Christ’s salvific work, man exists on earth with the hope of eternal life and holiness. And even though the victory over sin and death achieved by Christ in His cross and resurrection does not abolish temporal suffering from human life, nor free from suffering the whole historical dimension of human existence, it nevertheless throws a new light upon this dimension and upon every suffering; the light of salvation. This is the light of the Gospel, that is, of the Good News. At the heart of this light is the truth expounded in the conversation with Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” This truth radically changes the picture of man’s history and his earthly situation: in spite of the sin that took root in this history both as an original inheritance and as the “sin of the world” and as the sum of personal sins, God the Father has loved the only-begotten Son, that is, He loves Him in a lasting way; and then in time, precisely through this all-surpassing love, He “gives” this Son, that He may strike at the very roots of human evil and thus draw close in a salvific way to the whole world of suffering in which man shares.
Christ goes towards His passion and death with full awareness of the mission that He has to fulfill precisely in this way. Precisely by means of this suffering He must bring it about “that man should not perish, but have eternal life.” Precisely by means of His cross He must strike at the roots of evil, planted in the history of man and in human souls. Precisely by means of His cross He must accomplish the work of salvation. This work, in the plan of eternal Love, has a redemptive character.
Christ goes toward His own suffering, aware of its saving power; He goes forward in obedience to the Father, but primarily He is united to the Father in this love with which He has loved the world and man in the world. And for this reason St. Paul will write of Christ: “He loved me and gave himself for me.”
The Scriptures had to be fulfilled. There were many messianic texts in the Old Testament which foreshadowed the sufferings of the future Anointed One of God. Among all these, particularly touching is the one which is commonly called the Fourth song of the Suffering servant, in the Book of Isaiah. The Song of the Suffering Servant contains a description in which it is possible, in a certain sense, to identify the stages of Christ’s passion in their various details: the arrest, the humiliation, the blows, the spitting, the contempt for the prisoner, the unjust sentence, and then the scourging, the crowning with thorns and the mocking, the carrying of the cross. the crucifixion and the agony.
Even more than this description of the passion, what strikes us in the words of the prophet is the depth of Christ’s sacrifice. Behold, He, though innocent, takes upon Himself the sufferings of all people, because He takes upon Himself the sins of all. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”: all human sin in its breadth and depth becomes the true cause of the Redeemer’s suffering. If the suffering “is measured” by the evil suffered, then the words of the prophet enable us to understand the extent of this evil and suffering with which Christ burdened Himself. It can be said that this is “substitutive” suffering; but above all it is “redemptive.” The Man of Sorrows of that prophecy is truly that “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” In His suffering, sins are canceled out precisely because He alone as the only-begotten Son could take them upon Himself, accept them with that love for the Father which overcomes the evil of every sin; in a certain sense He annihilates this evil in the spiritual space of the relationship between God and humanity, and fills this space with good.
Here we touch upon the duality of nature of a single personal subject of redemptive suffering. He who by His passion and death on the cross brings about the Redemption is the only-begotten Son whom God “gave.” And at the same time this Son who is consubstantial with the Father suffers as a man. His suffering has human dimensions; it also has unique in the history of humanity a depth and intensity which, while being human, can also be an incomparable depth and intensity of suffering, insofar as the man who suffers is in person the only-begotten Son Himself: “God from God.” Therefore, only He–the only begotten Son–is capable of embracing the measure of evil contained in the sin of man: in every sin and in “total” sin, according to the dimensions of the historical existence of humanity on earth.
Christ suffers voluntarily and suffers innocently. With His suffering He gives the answer to the question about suffering and the meaning of suffering not only by His teaching, that is, by the Good News, but most of all by His own suffering, which is integrated with this teaching of the Good News in an organic and indissoluble way. And this is the final, definitive word of this teaching: “the word of the cross,” as St. Paul one day will say.
The prayer in Gethsemane becomes a definitive point here. The words: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will,” and later: “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done,” have a manifold eloquence. They prove the truth of that love which the only-begotten Son gives to the Father in His obedience. At the same time, they attest to the truth of His suffering. The words of that prayer of Christ in Gethsemane prove the truth of love through the truth of suffering.
His words also attest to this unique and incomparable depth and intensity of suffering which only the man who is the only-begotten Son could experience; they attest to that depth and intensity which the prophetic words of Isaiah in their own way help us to understand. Not of course completely (for this we would have to penetrate the divine-human mystery of the subject), but at least they help us to understand that difference (and at the same time the similarity) which exists between every possible form of human suffering and the suffering of the God-man. Gethsemane is the place where precisely this suffering, in all the truth expressed by the prophet concerning the evil experienced in it, is revealed as it were definitively before the eyes of Christ’s soul.
After the words in Gethsemane come the words uttered on Golgotha, words which bear witness to this depth unique in the history of the world–of the evil of the suffering experienced. When Christ says: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, His words are not only an expression of that abandonment which many times found expression in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms and in particular in that Psalm 22(21) from which come the words quoted. One can say that these words on abandonment are born at the level of that inseparable union of the Son with the Father, and are born because the Father “laid on him the iniquity of us all.” They also foreshadow the words of St. Paul: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin.” Together with this horrible weight, encompassing the “entire” evil of the turning away from God which is contained in sin, Christ, through the divine depth of His filial union with the Father, perceives in a humanly inexpressible way this suffering which us the separation, the rejection by the Father, the estrangement from God. But precisely through this suffering He accomplishes the Redemption, and can say as He breathes His last: “It is finished.”
In the cross of Christ not only is the Redemption accomplished through suffering, but also human suffering itself has been redeemed. Christ without any fault of His own took on Himself “the total evil of sin.” The experience of this evil determined the incomparable extent of Christ’s suffering, which became the price of the Redemption. The Song of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah speaks of this. In later times, the witnesses of the New Covenant, sealed in the Blood of Christ, will speak of this. These are the words of the Apostle Peter in his first letter: “You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” And the Apostle Paul in the letter to the Galatians will say: “He gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age,” and in the first letter to the Corinthians: “You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
With these and similar words the witnesses of the New Covenant speak of the greatness of the Redemption, accomplished through the suffering of Christ. The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.
This discovery caused St. Paul to write particularly strong words in the letter to the Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Faith enables the author of these words to know that love which led Christ to the cross. And if He loved us in this way, suffering and dying, then with this suffering and death of His He lives in the one whom He loved in this way; He lives in the man: in Paul. And living in him to the degree that Paul, conscious of this through faith, responds to His love with love–Christ also becomes in a particular way united to the man, to Paul, through the cross. This union caused Paul to write, in the same letter to the Galatians, other words as well, no less strong: “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
The witnesses of the cross and resurrection were convinced that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” And Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, says this: “We ourselves boast of you..for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.” Thus to share in the sufferings of Christ is, at the same time, to suffer for the kingdom of God. In the eyes of the just God, before His judgment, those who share in the suffering of Christ become worthy of this kingdom. Through their sufferings, in a certain sense they repay the infinite price of the passion and death of Christ, which became the price of our Redemption: at this price the kingdom of God has been consolidated anew in human history, becoming the definitive prospect of man’s earthly existence. Christ has led us into this kingdom through His suffering. And also through suffering those surrounded by the mystery of Christ’s Redemption became mature enough to enter this kingdom.
Excerpted and abridged from John Paul II’s letter on the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, Salvifici doloris, 11 February 1984.
By Abbot Joseph Homick
This is sort of a follow-up to my last post, and it is based on Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris, which literally means “salvific suffering,” but the document in English usually is rendered: “On the Christian meaning of human suffering.” It is a kind of extended commentary on St Paul’s enigmatic saying: “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col. 1:24), though its scope is wider.
Recently I read an article by a Christian woman (non-Catholic) who has suffered for many years with several painful and debilitating conditions. Her faith and courage and acceptance of God’s will were quite admirable, but I looked in vain for any evidence that she was aware that she could do good for other souls by offering her sufferings to God in union with the Passion of Jesus. Even though this is a biblical idea (championed especially by St Paul), most Bible-only Christians don’t seem to get it. Bishop Sheen used to lament, as he would drive by hospitals, over all the “wasted suffering” of those who didn’t realize that there was meaning and spiritual value in their sufferings, if they would but offer them to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, suffering was usually regarded as a divine punishment. Thus it was mainly understood within the concept of justice. All suffering is in some way related to sin, at least to the fact that sin has entered the world, and with sin entered suffering and death. Therefore it was natural to look for guilt in the midst of suffering, as its likely cause. The Book of Job questioned this, for it broached the subject of innocent suffering and so opened the door to a broader understanding of the mystery. Suffering isn’t always a matter of justice, then, or punishment, and it can have a deeper meaning in the wisdom and providence of God.
Even suffering that is some sort of divine chastisement can still have some meaning beyond sheer retribution, for as the Pope writes, “it creates the possibility of rebuilding goodness in the subject who suffers.” That is, if the divine punishment is received as a call to repentance, evil can be overcome and the relationship with God restored and given the potential for further growth.
The specifically Christian meaning of suffering, however, comes from the mystery of the sufferings of Christ. He took the sin of the world upon Himself, thus enduring incomprehensibly vast and deep suffering, in order to redeem the world. He alone truly suffered “punishment” for innocent suffering, but this was part of his loving sacrifice to the Father for the salvation of the world.
Where, then, do we come in? Are we mere uninvolved bystanders in the great mystery of salvation? What was St Paul talking about when he said that in his own flesh he made up what was lacking in Christ’s sufferings, for the sake of his body, the Church? Being members of Christ’s Body is not a mere metaphor, so the very fact that Christ is the Head and we are the members of his Body means that we are included, incorporated in the mystery of who He is and what He has done.
Pope John Paul II writes: “In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ… Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed.”
Through Christ’s sufferings on our behalf, then, suffering not only has acquired a profound meaning, but it also serves a purpose. “Completing” Christ’s sufferings through our own, as St Paul wrote, does not mean that there was anything defective in Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation. His sacrifice, in itself, was perfect and sufficient for the redemption of the world. But our “completing what is lacking” means, at least in part, that we accept and take our place within the Lord’s Mystical Body as full members, united to Him in everything, including his redemptive suffering. There something lacking in the fullness of his Body—not in the efficacy of his sacrifice—if we do not bring our own sufferings into union with his, for Christ wants all suffering to be taken up into his own, so that He can sanctify it and make it spiritually fruitful. The “completing what is lacking”, in a mysterious way which St Paul does not fully explain, is for the sake of others, for the good of the other members of Christ’s Body, the Church.
Several times in the Scriptures we hear about sharing in Christ’s sufferings (e.g. Phil. 3:10; 1Peter 4:13). St Paul even goes so far as to say that we carry in our own bodies the death of Jesus (2Cor. 4:10). Again, these are not mere metaphors. But in order to share in the sufferings of Christ, the writers of the New Testament don’t mean we have to be physically crucified or crowned with thorns. Therefore it must mean that through our own sufferings, which have been ennobled by Christ’s, we share in the spiritual essence, the meaning and purpose of his sufferings, and hence to some extent in their redemptive value. If this were not so, then our sufferings could do nothing for the other members of the Body, but St Paul says they can.
In a similar way, that is what happens at the Divine Liturgy or Mass. We don’t have to go to the geographical Golgotha; no one has to be nailed to a cross; Christ offered his bloody sacrifice once for all. But the essential reality, the grace and power of his sacrifice, are made present by the working of the Holy Spirit and the consecrating words of the Lord, which the priests always say because of his command: “Do this in memory of me.” We receive the fruits of his Sacrifice in Holy Communion, for Jesus also told us to eat his Body and drink his Blood if we want to have life within us and be raised up on the Last Day (Jn. 6:51-58).
To share in Christ’s sufferings, especially for the sake of others, “means that the weaknesses of all human sufferings are capable of being infused with the same power of God manifested in Christ’s Cross. In such a concept, to suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self.” It is not merely suffering as such that unites us to Christ’s redemptive Passion, but suffering that is offered in faith and love. “The Redemption, accomplished through satisfactory love, remains always open to all love expressed in human suffering… Christ opened himself from the beginning to every human suffering, and constantly does so… this Redemption, even though it was completely achieved by Christ’s suffering, lives on and in its own special way develops in the history of man. It lives and develops as the body of Christ, the Church, and in this dimension every human suffering, by reason of the loving union with Christ, ‘completes’ the suffering of Christ.”
The Pope goes on to describe other elements of the mystery, such as how suffering matures us and hence prepares us for entry into the Kingdom, how it draws us interiorly close to the Lord, and how it produces compassion in us for the suffering of others.
I’ve just given a brief overview here; you would do well to read the entire document, which you can find here. The mystery of suffering is always one that makes us ask, “why?” But Christ has illuminated that question with his sacrificial obedience to the Father’s will, and He has thus invested our suffering with a significance and spiritual fruitfulness it could never have had if He hadn’t accepted suffering as the means to redeem us. As members of his Body, we are invited by Him to share in the mystery of his own life and mission, and our sufferings can now be means of obtaining grace for other souls, other members of the Body, who may be in need. In a spiritual sense we are to be “Good Samaritans” who can minister to others by the offering of our own sufferings.
This fruitfulness of sharing in the efficacy of Christ’s sufferings by uniting ours to his, for the good of others, was a great discovery for St Paul, and this realization filled him with joy. That is why he said: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s sufferings for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” We may not quite be ready yet to rejoice in suffering, but at least we know now that there’s a good reason for it.
Prayer and Meditation for Monday, July 15, 2013 “People who are constantly concerned with themselves … endanger their eternal salvation”
Prayer and Meditation for Monday, July 8, 2013 — Reach Out For God and “Know that I am with you”
The encounter with Christ radically changes a person’s life — By Pope John Paul II
Pain, Suffering and Death Are Part of Life; I Didn’t Like It But I Got Used To It
Catholic Teaching on Suffering
The Serenity Prayer: Accepting Hardship as a Pathway to Peace
One Of Us May Die Soon: The Other Helps Carry The Load — Neither Knows Why
Both “good” and “evil” reveal what God wants us to know, do
Healing Most Divine: “Laying On Of Hands”
Simon of Cyrene: Unite With Jesus in Suffering and Pain
Above: Simon of Cyrene assists Jesus
Simon of Cyrene: Unite With Jesus in Suffering and Pain