Thursday, August 17, 2006

Redemptive suffering

My meditation this evening has me once again turning to John Paul II Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, as I ask the Lord's help and guidance for several individuals, and their caregivers, who have suffered both physically and emotionally this week.
"Those who share in Christ's sufferings have before their eyes the Paschal Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, in which Christ descends, in a first phase, to the ultimate limits of human weakness and impotence: indeed, he dies nailed to the Cross. But if at the same time in this weakness there is accomplished his lifting up, confirmed by the power of the Resurrection, then this 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. This also explains the exhortation in the First Letter of Peter: 'Yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.'" -- Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris #23, Pope John Paul II, February 1984

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