Your sons prayers likely instigated your journey home. I once cried to a friend on the phone who had lost her own infant daughter and was trying to help me cope with her loss, that I could only fathom because of my almost paralyzing empathy, saying what I hope was true in some way: “God has a maternal heart!” Yes. Aquinas explains in, St. Augustine wrote, “For it certainly was not just that obedience should be rendered by his servant, that is, his body, to him, who had not obeyed his own Lord.” (On Marriage and Concupiscence, I.7.) If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. I apologize for the personal nature of my comment, but I hope that my comments are not dismissed either. Sufferings and trials in this life are evidence that God our Father loves us, and is working in us to prepare us for Heaven, and the rewards to be received in the life to come. Thank you for telling us how your sufferings have brought you greater faith; your words are encouraging. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. If God is all powerful, and truly seeks our good, then why does He allow all the suffering we experience in this life? We are all fallible creatures, thus, we seek the firm foundation of Jesus Christ and the Church He personally founded–like St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) have before us. Thanks for replying! Faced with such vulnerability, mans first instinct is to do what Adam did:  run and hide. God bless. And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone. Except for about a year of my son’s infancy with unexplained breathing problems, trips to the ER, and having to sleep upright with him on my chest so that he could breath, most of my suffering has been living in fear as I’ve borrowed from the future time and again,imagining all the “what if’s” that lie before me. Contrasting it with atheism was unnecessary and detracted from what was otherwise a positive message. I just said Jesus, you can have it all…take it, I don’t want it at all. Just as a lack of suffering was Cain’s downfall, Christ’s suffering was the cause of his glory. I found some of these ideas fell flat in the room of a suffering person and my peers who relied on them seemed less able to listen to a person’s suffering, rather than moreso. This is a logical extension of the error of monergism. If you doubt, that’s ok, it’s perfectly natural and can last awhile. That’s the sense in which He assumed them. They are so very good. lose the beatific vision). However, like Edith Stein, we desire a religion grounded on the experience of the person of Jesus Christ. put CTC on your RSS feed), we’ll have some better posts and articles in the future that address these specific topics. Thank you very much for your kind words and prayers. God made man to be with Him in perfect happiness forever. Obviously, those won’t his exact words but you get the picture. It follows from atheism that suffering, tragedy, and loss are ultimately meaningless and pointless, and hence to be avoided at all costs unless some outweighing good can be anticipated.4 In the midst of suffering, there is the additional despair of believing that there is no higher meaning or purpose for this suffering, nothing redemptive about it. Q.72 a.1). By the original justice God gave to our first parents, they were able to remain in these ordered harmonies. I share it often with anyone who I know brings up the topic. He isn’t saying that the Son of God literally became sin (or changed into sin); that would be blasphemous, as well as metaphysically impossible. We cannot desire anything more than God, because there is not and cannot be any good that is not found in God. He and his family live in Brighton, MI. from :redux on Vimeo. No martyr ever bore the sins of the whole world. I very much appreciate the suggestions and prayers. the body-soul composite. Even their bodies were entirely subject to their soul, without any bodily defect.11 All created beings, excepting the angels, were subject to man in the state of innocence. I’m trying to find where in my post I advocated dismissing the accounts in any way, Bryan. God, our Father, is like a loving parent who agrees to subject his child to a regimen of chemotherapy to cure a cancer, though the child does not see the need for the chemotherapy, because the child does not see the cancer or its danger.18 The comment by the person who said of the plane crash, “God would have kept them from crashing” is like the child who says to his parent, “If you loved me you wouldn’t be putting me through this chemotherapy.” The parent is thinking, “If only you could see the danger of this cancer, you would understand that I am subjecting you to this painful treatment only because I love you, and want you to live.” And this too, is the heart of our heavenly Father, when He allows us to endure the sufferings of this life. (4) To give us an opportunity to love God, to give God glory, to merit glory, and to participate in His work of redemption. It doesn’t matter how little faith you have. Hopefully my question didn’t distract from the context of the essay above, which was excellent and very insightful. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.42 According to the Church, one reason Christ does not remove concupiscence from us at baptism is precisely to allow us a greater opportunity for merit. For in maintaining that the relics of the martyrs are to be trodden under foot, you forbid the shedding of their blood as being worthy of no honour. It found, however, an opponent in Tertullian, a very learned man, who wrote a famous treatise which he called most correctly Scorpiacum, because, as the scorpion bends itself like a bow to inflict its wound, so what was formerly called the heresy of Cain pours poison into the body of the Church; it has slept or rather been buried for a long there, but has been now awakened by Dormitantius. All great marriages are not pleasure cruises, and the same goes for all holy religious. For as the same fire causes gold to glow brightly, and chaff to smoke; and under the same flail the straw is beaten small, while the grain is cleansed; and as the lees are not mixed with the oil, though squeezed out of the vat by the same pressure, so the same violence of affliction proves, purges, clarifies the good, but damns, ruins, exterminates the wicked. I am so sorry. I feel a bit propped-up for whatever the future holds.Your calm sanity, and resolve not to let yourself ” go there” in your thoughts, showed me a way grief is patiently carried. Suffering is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. I surrendered it to God and asked him to handle it until I can. Those who succumb to suffering must have had inadequate faith. So material a difference does it make, not what ills are suffered, but what kind of man suffers them. Why does God require a sacrifice? Why is this so? Thank you for this excellent resource!!! Suffering, likewise, can be a boundary experience that opens man, through his vulnerability, to recognizing his need for communion with God and neighbor. St. James tells us that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 2 Corinthians This is the “why” age. God does permit people to experience physical infirmity as a means of spiritual strengthening (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), and he also chastises every son whom he receives (Hebrews 12:5-8). He has given them a great gift, in allowing them to participate in this glorious way, in His work of redemption. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some atheists who go around trying to disprove the existence of God, but in general atheists neither need nor seek such evidence because they recognize that it is a false pursuit. Just two weeks ago we learned that our first daughter (Grace) died on the Feast of St. Rose of Lima (we cried). Christ crucified is thus “the power of God and the wisdom of God. <—– respectful comment. I’ve reached out to him and he replied with nasty comments and no I did not feel hurt, why? You have my prayers, Joie. … Wherefore, though good and bad men suffer alike, we must not suppose that there is no difference between the men themselves, because there is no difference in what they both suffer. etc. Thou hast executed true judgments in all that thou hast brought upon us… for in truth and justice thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins.” (Daniel 3:4-5) [, Ultimately there are three options. I will take you up on many of them, especially the “old school” stuff like Interior Castle because that’s my favorite stuff. I’m so glad I could be encouraging. Now, I am not very *good* at “offering it up,” I admit. These speaks volumes. I then started considering the statistical odds that my four could likely be chosen. Much of contemporary theology, he acknowledges, has shifted from questions of individual meaning (like those his mentor, Paul Tillich, posed) to problems of the … Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Are you not afraid of being in such company, and of speaking against us the same things which he utters against the Church? Why travel to see the relics of saints or their shrines? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. I am unspeakably grateful for that fact. I recommend reviewing this: https://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_11021984_salvifici-doloris_en.html. Certainly we should treat all people with respect, in a spirit of humility, even when we disagree with their doctrine. This is the same objection we find in “the new atheism.” The atheist directs us to observe all the evil and suffering around us. Less of a comment and more of a question…. For these masters of Catholic theology who never tired of repeating that the ideal of asceticism upheld by them was the ideal of the Catholic past, of the Fathers, of Christ Himself, emphatically state that bodily asceticism has not God has abandoned them. Pope Francis: One man who has been a life mentor for me is Dostoevskij and his explicit and implicit question “Why do children suffer?” has always gone round in my heart. Theology of Divine Mercy, Conversion and Suffering “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” – St. Faustina God is merciful … I would have preferred if the article focused on what a Catholic finds beautiful about Catholicism, not what a Catholic thinks atheism gets wrong. Thanks again for asking. I have very much enjoyed your thoughts (and all that I have seen so far on CTC) I am wondering, completely off this post’s topic (sorry) if there is any plan to post on the praying to saints. As for the practice of praying to a particular saint for a particular type of need, we just discussed this in this comments of this thread, see especially comment #64. One kind of meaning is meaning in the sense of benefit or utility, a source of inspiration or growth or enlightenment. [, “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. It is designed to build our trust in the Almighty, but suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. Later, after we converted, we gave our oldest daughter to Saint Rose of Lima. Jesus knows your worries and does not want that for you. The Theology of the Body might not provide answers to everything, but its principles are surprisingly versatile. The lower powers of their soul were held subject to their reason, without any disorder whatsoever. So, He doesn’t operate by the principle, “If I can do it, then there is no point in having anyone else do it.” He works by love, which is the very opposite of such egoism, because by love He gives to us the dignity of participation in His glorious activity. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. They demonstrate whether we truly love God, or whether we only have a ‘friendship of utility’ with God. The fear was overcoming. Redemptive suffering is the Catholic belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one's sins or for the sins of another, or for the other physical or spiritual needs of oneself or another. What Paul said of the human organism is to be applied likewise to the Mystical Body: “The head cannot say to the feet: I have no need of you.” It is manifestly clear that the faithful need the help of the Divine Redeemer, for He has said: “Without me you can do nothing,” and according to the teaching of the Apostle every advance of this Mystical Body towards its perfection derives from Christ the Head. Through man’s sin, all four harmonies were lost. Finally, I suspect you will think this out of line, but I really must question your CPE program for not making sure that you have decent spiritual direction during this experience. Does that mean that Christ’s work was insufficient? All the angels and saints presently enjoy the Beatific Vision. Kevin Tierney is the Associate Editor of the Learn and Live the Faith Section at Catholic Lane. We must sit and wait patiently. God could have chosen any way, but a man was His way, so perhaps there is something holy just in that. Bryan, I don’t know if you have seen this–it is a very beautiful short video giving testimony to this subject: “Jesus did not take away suffering, he transformed it” – Archbishop Aquila, The things of earth cannot be understood or valued aright without taking into consideration the life to come, the life that will know no death. God bless you and your family. Though I can be terse sometimes, I never mean to offend. sacrifice: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”, Jesus Christ, when He redeemed us with plentiful redemption, took not away the pains and sorrows which in such large proportion are woven together in the web of our mortal life. His suffering was greater than any person has ever experienced, because in solidarity with us He took on Himself the sins of the whole world, and grieved in contrition on our behalf over the evil of each sin ever committed, and its offensiveness to God. In all honesty, because I have suffered a lot in this life already, I have so much fear of what will happen next. Here’s a video recording of the talk: CEO August 2016 from Blue Sky Productions on Vimeo. My apologies if I offend you by that line of thinking. Here is an example of the way Christianity turns suffering on its head. Therefore Adam’s mortal life was threatened by this great beast. Strictly speaking, God did not need to give us causal powers of any sort. You may have intended to respond to the doctrines discussed, but your original comment was an ad hominem, addressed to the man, not to the doctrines being advanced: There are many ideas that are difficult to embrace, but the criterion for whether or not to accept those ideas is truth, not ease. This is the understanding i have carried with me the past several months…that suffering and death did in fact exist before original sin. Just opening a door for someone, a smile, a hello to others is more important than you will ever know. . Spend enough time with Catholics, and you will hear the phrase, “Offer it up.” The phrase is typically heard as a reply to a list of personal woes. As an RC, I also wondered about role of suffering in our lives and I find it difficult to embrace the idea of a test of faith or a disciplining some of the people I have known. I’ve come to suffering, though it’s very hard to understand St. Paul telling us pray for suffering. They are complete only when united as one substance, i.e. War, disease, tyranny, slavery, abuse, drugs, gangs, crime, hate, racism etc. I took four units of CPE, so I am glad we have some shared perspective. While the atheist thinks his suffering is ultimately meaningless and pointless, the Christian believes that no suffering is ultimately meaningless or pointless. Modern man knows something is wrong, even if he can’t say what. He was perfect and sinless through His entire life, including His agony in the garden and His passion and death. This is union with Christ. I’m sorry if I’m taking a long time to get to a point, but I’ve wrestled with this for a long time myself. You say you are not docile to God’s way, but I think you really are. Toward a Biblical View of Suffering 5 g. These sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory He will reveal to us. I must say, however, that the article completely mis-characterizes atheism and paints it with a single, two-dimensional brush. (Update: I have discussed this in more detail in “Heroes of the New Covenant.”). Because we believe that a loving God is providentially orchestrating all things, in a way that upholds our freedom. Due to concupiscence, a sincere gift of self is the last thing man is inclined towards. This purpose is written within the code of our creation. Read Matthew 14:22-33. Brent, clearly you and I see this whole thing a bit differently. I can only assume that you did not see that before you posted your comment.). The Christian religion and the theology associated with it encompass three major branches: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Why travel to see the relics of saints or their shrines? From a Christian point of view, the finger that the atheist points at God, blaming Him for all the suffering we experience, or using our suffering as an argument against God’s existence, is man blaming God, for what man freely did in disobedience to God.15. vilbert With Andrew, I have to say that your original comment came across as an ad hominen. “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” Christ’s labors and sufferings, accepted of His own free will, have marvellously sweetened all suffering and all labor. Are their prayers more effective than the living? Please know that I hear and feel the pain in your words, my brother. Is this to pay respect, to offer penance, or to just to be close to those Giants who have gone before us? Fr. Anyone that knows her would describe her as ignorant–but that is because she only has a 5th grade education. It offers nothing on the other important questions of life, and that’s a shame. Is that judgmental? How much time have you spent providing pastoral care to sick or dying people? )– but mine can be united with His, mysteriously. All I can say is that there are many Christian mystics, particularly women, who have inspired me and shown me a way that fills me with satisfaction, knowing that I am on the right path. God has not created us for the perishable and transitory things of earth, but for things heavenly and everlasting; He has given us this world as a place of exile, and not as our abiding place. I had to let some of it go and I felt that it was at that time a good decision and it was. I agree that atheists as atheists can and do find meaning in suffering. Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”41. There are many passages in the Bible that explains this. Then he must pray”58, By giving thanks: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”59, By rejoicing that we have been counted worthy to suffer for Christ: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.”60. 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