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Suffering Our Way to Heaven
Gospel Reflection 2/16/2023
"There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them." St. Faustina in her Diary: (324).
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and rise after three days. (Mk 8:31)
In Catholic doctrine, suffering holds a meaningful and fulfilling place for us. Still, suffering for many Christians is not easy, and some believe that since Jesus suffered and died for us, we do not have to endure more suffering. This is not the case, however, and one good reason we celebrate the saints and martyrs within our faith is through the example of embracing the suffering they showed us. Even with all its worldly discomfort, suffering is a gift to prepare us for heaven. When we lose a loved one, face financial worries, or a challenging breakup, don't forget that these trials and hardships are not in vain. Scripture reminds us. "For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him. Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and now hear about me." (Phil 1:29-30)
He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this, he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." (Mk 8:32-33)
We can see Peters' reaction as a mirror and a reminder that many of us are trying to protect our own selves and even our loved ones from this gift of suffering. But those without a deeper spiritual connection do not understand what God's love might have in store for the person through suffering. Although we want to comfort those around us, we must also not lead them away from the gift that suffering will provide. What might appear to be a curse or rough times for human understanding might ultimately be a blessing from God. Therefore, we hear Jesus say, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
Are you spending time in prayer and silence to hear what God is saying? When we do things our way without deep intercession and prayer, the results can become worldly-oriented. Today put total trust in God, He will pull us out of the world's challenges and lead us to where we need to be. Psalm 23 reminds us that in God, we lack nothing, and it is an inspiring beautiful Psalm that will surely bring comfort to the soul.
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me. He restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil my cup overflows. Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days. (Ps 23)
Trust in the Lord daily and put Christ at the center of your thoughts. Read the scriptures, pray the Rosary, and use the sacraments that the Church offers so that when the storm and challenges come knocking, you are spiritually present and able to say, "Get behind me, Satan."
"Love consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved." St John of the Cross