the perennial Question of sufferinG

The problem of suffering is as old as human thought. It does not take a very smart person to realize that there is something very mysterious and inexplicable why good people suffer. Perhaps it is not so much a matter of understanding why the good suffer, but working out what our individual responses to suffering will be. If you happen to be a bad person, then this is not such a big question.
Jesus is the greatest person ever to walk the earth and He suffered terribly at the hands of men. It is to His response that we will look for the basis of our own responses as His followers. Jesus, the Son of God, is without sin so there is no way we can attribute any of His suffering to any fault of His own. It thus seems that suffering has at least two sources — from ourselves and others. It is the second source that impinges upon thelife of the good person. We become aware very quickly of the fact that sin is fundamentally evil and unjust. Being unjust, sin inflicts evil consequences upon the innocent. We don’t know why this happens – only that it does and all we can do is respond to it as best we can with the grace of God available to us at the moment.
Colossians 2:4 tells us that our suffering can become redemptive in nature if we unite our trials with those of Christ. Here lies at least part of the Christian answer to suffering. The saints give witness to the desire to suffer because in suffering, they experience God conforming them to Himself. This is our ultimate goal – to become one with the Trinity. Let us not despair but strive to see in any suffering the opportunity to become more like Christ, and to contribute something of ourselves to His work of redemption. Fr. Steve Tynan

Reflection Question:
Do I always complain about my personal suffering? Did Jesus ever complain about His?

Lord Jesus, help me to grow to become more like You each day. Grant me the grace to embrace any suffering in my life, and to use it as an offering to You so that I can be conformed to Your image.

St. John of God, religious, pray for us.



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