Suffering – Part II
based on Letter of St. Paul of the Cross to Mother Mary Crucified
by Msgr. Bernard Powers
In the teachings of Paul
we are called to a deeper response to God.
Such is true in suffering.
Just as “ all gifts are to be offered as a holocaustal sacrifice” (7)
so should our sufferings
be offered as a “holocaustal sacrifice to God,”
that is, to offer ourselves through suffering
as a holocaustal sacrifice.
One needs to be careful here.
It is not the sufferings that are acceptable to the Beloved,
but the dispositions of the heart in our sufferings….
It is the giving of self.
Sufferings are the channel through which
the soul offers herself to the Beloved.
It is not the Cross that has value,
it is the love expressed through the cross
that glorified the Father and redeemed the world.
How much are you to suffer?
How deeply are you to suffer?
To know who you are
is to know the depth of suffering
to which you are called.
You are victims of the Crucified Bridegroom
and thus the depth of suffering
to which you are called
is to share in the suffering and the Passion of Jesus
to the depth of holocaustal sacrifice. (28)
A victim sacrificed as a holocaust
is a victim totally immolated,
consumed totally for God by the sacred fire.
My sisters, in the Passion
you are total gift.
Your suffering has value.
“Naked suffering is a great treasure,
that is, a suffering without comfort
either from heaven or from earth.” 28
It is a treasure,
for it is the means through which
“You frequently offer yourselves as a holocaustal victim
to the Divine Majesty on the Cross.”
In this suffering you die the mystical death with Christ.
In this suffering you are in mystical death and
a new life of love comes to the soul.
Saint Paul uses two interesting, qualifying words
“we know clearly how precious naked suffering is
in true meekness and silent patience. (28)
Meekness is an acknowledgement that we completely depend
on God in suffering. Thus to modify suffering with meekness
is to admit that suffering, without God, would totally devastate us.
Only with God is our suffering life-giving.
Suffering with true meekness is union with God.,
and we suffer with Jesus.
Suffering with true patience
is to experience suffering
with a certain surrender.
Just as one can not hurry the blooming of the rose,
neither can one hurry the releasing of life-giving graces
from the sufferings in one’s life.
One must “suffer in patience.” (28)
The time from Good Friday to Easter morning
is many hours.
What inspiring advice Saint Paul gives us regarding suffering.
Paul tells us how to accept sufferings”
Be clothed in the Passion…
Accept ever trial from the loving hand of God
Be happy in suffering
Be willing to suffer
Esteem suffering highly
Offer yourself as holocaust
See suffering as a sign of love
Be daughters of the Passion
Be worthy brides of the crucified Spouse.
Paul’s final words to you are:
“Remain day and night
in the divine bosom of the Heavenly Father,
clothed in Jesus Christ
and with his sufferings.” 34
Amen Msgr. Bernard Powers