Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/20/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

How do we treat those circumstances that cause us to struggle? How do we deal with what we find unpleasant?

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery of suffering in the Christian life. Saint Jose Maria Escriva once wrote -The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we can conquer eternity.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/20/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: suffering, struggle, pain, spirituality, redemptive suffering, holiness, Holy Week, St. Josemaria Escriva, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not undergo the test." After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done."

(And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.) When he rose from prayer -and returned to his disciples- he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test." (Luke 22: 39-42)

This past Sunday we entered into Holy Week. What will make the week holy is our response to its myriad of invitations it presents to go more deeply into the mysteries we commemorate.

Christians gathered in sanctuaries throughout the world and waved Palm branches in imitation of those who lined the streets at Jesusī triumphal entry. Then, we read the account of the same crowd, calling for the crucifixion of the Savior.

We were invited to honestly look within.

This week we follow the path of His struggle, the way of His rejection and we are invited to climb the mountain of His great saving act of unmerited selfless Divine love.

During this Holy Week we are invited to enter into His pattern of surrendered love; to walk this way with Jesus, who, in His Sacred humanity, teaches us the path to our own transformation.

The agony in that garden called Gethsemane shows us a very human Jesus.

Yes, He was Divine and, because of that, He alone could do for us what we could not do for ourselves, restoring, through His passion and death, the broken relationship between God and the people whom He fashioned for love and communion.
 
With His outstretched arms, He bridged the gap between heaven and earth. In His triumph over death he defeated the last enemy and began the new creation.

However, in His Sacred humanity, this man Jesus shows each of us how to live differently.

Sometimes, we are invited to embrace even that which we do not want as the means of our transformation. We have been given the grace to accept difficulties, struggles, and even, at times, undeserved suffering.

When it is embraced in love and for love, it can actually become the path to a deepening experience of the fruits of redemption.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. (Hebrews 14:15)

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery of suffering in the Christian life.

Saint Jose Maria Escriva once wrote The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering and to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon; and with it we can conquer eternity.

How do we treat those circumstances that cause us to struggle? How do we deal with what we find unpleasant?

Do we practice an adult form of avoidance and run, acting as if it will all just go away like when children cover their eyes? Or do we believe that even unpleasant things and "difficult" people can actually be gifts from the hands of a loving God who invites us to walk in the way of His Son?

How do we deal with unresolved conflicts or troubling relationships? Do we work toward resolution, making "love our aim" (1 Cor. 14:7), or do we avoid them, thinking they will just go away if we "pretend" they donīt exist?

Now is the time, during this week we call Holy, to join the revolution of which this great saint writes. After all, why do we call this week Holy? I suggest two among many reasons.

First, the story of this week is the story of an all Holy God who showed the depth of His love through the complete emptying of Himself, in and through the Passion of His Son. Second, it is holy because we are invited into that life and way of holiness that Jesus demonstrated during all of the events that we will soon commemorate.

In the Old Testament the word often translated as "holy" literally meant- to be set aside, consecrated, for God. In Jesus Christ it now means even more. We who are baptized into Him are invited to live our lives now, in Him. To love as He loves; to pray as He prays, to walk as He walks, to suffer as He suffers; to confront evil the way He does.

All of us inevitably experience "Gethsemanes" in our own lives, times of difficulty, deep sorrow, loss, distress, fear and anguish. Friends may have betrayed us, or those whom we love may have rejected us. Maybe things about our lives are being exposed, brought into the light, and it is "uncomfortable".

It is often those times and circumstances that become the very path to holiness if we learn to love as He loves. Our Christian vocation is to live as He lives, to love as He loves and to thereby become "holy" as He is holy. We are invited to embrace the way of surrendered love.

"Take this cup", Jesus asked. It is a very human request. What is the cup we are being asked to drink?

Let us decide today to make the choice and drink, saying as we do "not my will but yours be done" When we live and love this way, the very people and circumstances that once seemed to be so difficult can become the path to our continuing freedom. Even struggle can become our teacher from whom we  we learn to walk the way of forgiving love.

We walk that way with Jesus, and His redemptive mission of love continues through time, in us, and through us for others.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama could have been killed! Pierson steps down over lax security Watch

Image of Julia Pierson, who became director of the Secret Service in March, 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The first female director of the Secret Service has resigned from her position after two separate incidents where intruders were able to slip through lapses in security. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Julia Pierson resigned on October 1 following the incident ... continue reading


A political warning against high taxes: Northest losses 40% of its House seats Watch

Image of High taxes have dropped the population of 11 Northeastern states dramatically, cutting their number of seats in the House of Representatives by 40% since 1950.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Census Bureau has reported that the Northeast is losing power in the U.S. as many citizens leave the high-tax region, heading south or west to states with lesser tax burdens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Population growth has shifted, primarily to the ... continue reading


Is Ebola here to stay? Second patient being monitored for Ebola in Dallas Watch

Image of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed earlier this week that a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas was the first person to be diagnosed in the U.S. with the Ebola virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A second person who had been in close contact with a person infected with Ebola is now being closely monitored in Dallas. Health officials here are treating the situation here with great seriousness, as this is the first example of an Ebola-infected person ... continue reading


How Can We Overcome Fear? Watch

Image of Perhaps we are no longer as crippled by our fears as we were when we were younger, but they still lurk in the background, robbing our freedom and preventing our human flourishing. They harm our relationships and can impede our growth.We can be set free!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Unable to overcome fear by our own effort, we are often overcome by it. Though we may develop coping mechanisms over time, or learn to hide the interior reactions caused by fear, inside, it can paralyze us and impede us from living our lives to the full. The ... continue reading


'Political correctness' could have cost lives in White House Security breach Watch

Image of It was later revealed that the fence-jumper made it all the way to the East Room of the White House, on the second floor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Political correctness" is a hot-button term that has come to mean irrelevance as applied to any given situation. According to Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, "political correctness" ... continue reading


Watch out Saudi Arabia! U.S. oil production expected to rapidly increase Watch

Image of A Saudi Arabian oil refinery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Energy Agency says that U.S. production of petroleum is set to exceed that of Saudi Arabia's for the first time since 1991. A growing sign of the future of the American energy sector. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The production of oil and ... continue reading


Latinos run from Obama en mass after president punts immigration reform Watch

Image of Latino activists have turned their back on President Obama after he dropped immigration reform until the midterm election.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has bowed to worried Senate Democrats, delaying executive actions on immigration until after the midterm elections, fearing that using executive actions would make immigration reform a partisan issue which would hurt Democrats. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


As thousands of illegals enter U.S., who's stuck with the education bill? Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have flooded into the U.S. during 2014 alone, mostly from South America. While they await immigration trials, schools are responsible for teaching them.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The large numbers of unaccompanied minors who have been illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in ever greater numbers have caused American schools to scramble in an attempt to provide services. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The children and teens who ... continue reading


St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle: Pope Francis Takes on the Devil Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Now the new People of God is the Church. That is the reason she considers him her protector and support in all her struggles for the defense and expansion of the kingdom of God on earth. It is true that "the powers of death shall not prevail", as the Lord assured ... continue reading


Need milk? Eggs or flower? The Post Office may have you covered Watch

Image of Amazon partnered with the USPS to provide daily grocery deliveries to people in the San Francisco Bay area, a program the USPS wants to extend to the rest of the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Postal Service has revealed a new plan to reverse its six-year streak of billion-dollar losses, which is as ingenious as it is simple. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The USPS wants to deliver your groceries to you, and the agency sent this proposal to ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter