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
regarding suffering.
He says:
            “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.
Accept suffering
            with faith..
            with meekness…
            with patience…
            with silence…
            with abandonment…
            with Mary…
            with Jesus.

Paul tells us how to accept sufferings”
            Embrace struggles…
            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
            Endure suffering
            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