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Posts Tagged ‘Suffering’

“Blessed are those who mourn…”

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/08/09 at 12:00 AM

Your neighbor is anyone who has need of you. So, beware of sins of omission for those who mourn particularly those who are not even aware of their loses, but mourn for their loss without even being aware of what ails them. This refers to those we should mourn for because they have not been taught the basics of the faith and now wander in a spiritual wasteland. Or those who have had their beliefs stolen from them by the bad example of others or the rejection of Christian values by modern culture and an atheistic media. Any thing we can do to alleviate those who mourn for whatever reason, we do for God Himself; the object of our charity being Jesus Himself in the person of our neighbor.

If we hurry through life with our needs in first place instead of in second, where they should be, we fail to see the sufferings of others. In order to be compassionate to those who mourn, we must cease to be the center of our own attention; we must forget ourselves and attend to others’ needs. Some who mourn that we might not be aware of include the victims of calumny, defamation and mental persecution.

God often comes to un in unexpected ways, leading us along the path of suffering specifically for our own good. At such times we need to say to ourselves: “If this is your will, Lord, it is mine also.” What we term misfortunes in life (illness, fatigue, pain, financial problems, whatever the source of the evil be) these trials are actually God’s summons to reach out to Him. These calls are for our hearts to detach themselves from ourselves and attache themselves to Christ who visits us at those times with outstretched hands to helps grow interiorly in a union with Him.

Suffering clears the way for grace, for the transforming power of grace to remold our souls as the divine medication of trials rids us of what pollutes our souls. Trials endured with God’s help will result in blessings because it is only through contradictions and obstacles that our souls can be purified. As mourners we cry in our distress to God who views our problems objectively and will come to our aid in a manner suitable to our individual spiritual benefit.

God takes advantage of everyone’s sorrows to bring about good for others. While God permits these trials which purify others, they are for you opportunities for you to be compassionate. Sometimes the destruction the mourners endure are preface to a spiritual revolution; for as they mourn their losses, God re-directs them in unforeseen ways. God ransomed and saves those who mourn, for whatever reason, in ways we cannot image. We must also pray for those who cause evils that they might cease to offend God in our neighbor. Sometimes all we can do for those who mourn is to encourage them to remain steadfast in their trials and give their complete acceptance to God’s permissive will.

Friday is a good day to reflect on the suffering of Christ during His Passion and His suffering today in the thousands of victims of violence, terrorism and the hordes of refugees who mourn the loss of their homeland and way of life. We must ask Our Lady of Sorrows to help us console those who mourn as she would, for she is their mother. We should ask her to strengthen in us the virtue of fortitude to endure our own sufferings. It is at the foot of the Cross that man learns to understand the real nature of the suffering Jesus endured and to unite his suffering to His.

Despite the onslaught of trials, we must remain faithful and prayerful in the supernatural bond of the Communion of the Saints , giving and receiving. As a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, our suffering and those of others are one and the same. Praying for relief and/or endurance for ourselves and others enriches both as we sustain the others and they sustain us in our solidarity of grace.

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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

In 07 Observations on 2016/07/15 at 12:00 AM

Your neighbor is anyone who has need of you. So, beware of sins of omission for those who mourn particularly those who are not even aware of their loses, but mourn for their loss without even being aware of what ails them. This refers to those we should mourn for because they have not been taught the basics of the faith and now wander in a spiritual wasteland. Or those who have had their beliefs stolen from them by the bad example of others or the rejection of Christian values by modern culture and an atheistic media. Any thing we can do to alleviate those who mourn for whatever reason, we do for God Himself; the object of our charity being Jesus Himself in the person of our neighbor.

If we hurry through life with our needs in first place instead of in second, where they should be, we fail to see the sufferings of others. In order to be compassionate to those who mourn, we must cease to be the center of our own attention; we must forget ourselves and attend to others’ needs. Some who mourn that we might not be aware of include the victims of calumny, defamation and mental persecution.

God often comes to un in unexpected ways, leading us along the path of suffering specifically for our own good. At such times we need to say to ourselves: “If this is your will, Lord, it is mine also.” What we term misfortunes in life (illness, fatigue, pain, financial problems, whatever the source of the evil be) these trials are actually God’s summons to reach out to Him. These calls are for our hearts to detach themselves from ourselves and attache themselves to Christ who visits us at those times with outstretched hands to helps grow interiorly in a union with Him.

Suffering clears the way for grace, for the transforming power of grace to remold our souls as the divine medication of trials rids us of what pollutes our souls. Trials endured with God’s help will result in blessings because it is only through contradictions and obstacles that our souls can be purified. As mourners we cry in our distress to God who views our problems objectively and will come to our aid in a manner suitable to our individual spiritual benefit.

God takes advantage of everyone’s sorrows to bring about good for others. While God permits these trials which purify others, they are for you opportunities for you to be compassionate. Sometimes the destruction the mourners endure are preface to a spiritual revolution; for as they mourn their losses, God re-directs them in unforeseen ways. God ransomed and saves those who mourn, for whatever reason, in ways we cannot image. We must also pray for those who cause evils that they might cease to offend God in our neighbor. Sometimes all we can do for those who mourn is to encourage them to remain steadfast in their trials and give their complete acceptance to God’s permissive will.

Friday is a good day to reflect on the suffering of Christ during His Passion and His suffering today in the thousands of victims of violence, terrorism and the hordes of refugees who mourn the loss of their homeland and way of life. We must ask Our Lady of Sorrows to help us console those who mourn as she would, for she is their mother. We should ask her to strengthen in us the virtue of fortitude to endure our own sufferings. It is at the foot of the Cross that man learns to understand the real nature of the suffering Jesus endured and to unite his suffering to His.

Despite the onslaught of trials, we must remain faithful and prayerful in the supernatural bond of the Communion of the Saints , giving and receiving. As a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, our suffering and those of others are one and the same. Praying for relief and/or endurance for ourselves and others enriches both as we sustain the others and they sustain us in our solidarity of grace.

Household of Faith: Now That We Are Catholic!

In 15 Audio on 2014/11/21 at 12:00 AM
Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss
Hosts Kristine Franklin and Rosalind Moss discuss the obstacles to conversion to Catholic Church by sharing their personal stories. Each brings a different perspective – Franklin from an evangelical background and Moss from a Jewish one – and deals with their former objections to Catholic doctrine.

Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download

1.

Introduction 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf01.mp3

2.

Christ’s Church 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf02.mp3

3.

Scripture and Tradition 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf03.mp3

4.

What it means to be “born again” 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf04.mp3

5.

Faith, Works, Grace and Salvation 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf05.mp3

6.

The Mass 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf06.mp3

7.

The Eucharist 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf07.mp3

8.

The Gift of the Priesthood 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf08.mp3

9.

The Papacy 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf09.mp3

10.

The Communion of Saints 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf10.mp3

11.

The Blessed Mother 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf11.mp3

12.

The Catholic Understanding of Suffering 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf12.mp3

13.

Purgatory 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf13.mp3

14.

True Morality 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf14.mp3

15.

Women in the Church 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf15.mp3

16.

Living Messengers – Light to the World 

Host – Kris Franklin and Rosalind Moss

hf16.mp3

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Suffering

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/11/07 at 12:00 AM

For the past four Sundays, our epistle has come from the Letter to the Hebrews. These readings have been focusing on Jesus as our great high priest and the sacrifice He made on our behalf.

We’ve read about how Jesus was perfected through His suffering endured on our behalf, and of how He sympathizes with our weaknesses having Himself been similarly tested, yet without falling into sin.

We’ve heard of how Jesus is able to deal patiently with us, of how we should confidently approach Him in times of need, and of how His priesthood will last forever.

Today we are reminded by the Letter to the Hebrews of how Jesus is the perfect high priest Who is always able to save those who approach God through Him.

What we learn from all this is that Jesus lives to save us from sin and death. As our great high priest, He is constantly interceding with the Father on our behalf.

Truly, my brothers and sisters, we see in the priesthood of Jesus Christ the clear and perfect love that our Trinitarian Lord has for all humanity. For in the priesthood of Jesus we see that God wants more than anything else to save us from eternal death!

His desire for our salvation, shown in His Mercy, is the greatest sign of God’s love for us.

In our weakness and lack of faith, we frail humans are prone to questioning the love of God when suffering arises in our lives. When bad things happen we often wonder how an all-good and all-loving God could allow such a thing to happen.

This is especially true when suffering arises that has no direct human agent to blame, such as in the case of natural disasters. Perhaps many of the people who have been so harshly affected by Hurricane Sandy are asking that very question right now.

It’s really quite a normal response for people to wonder if things like natural disasters or other widespread forms of suffering are actually punishments from our Lord. But we cannot know if that’s the case or not.

Regardless of how our sufferings come to us, as Christians we should strive to look upon our sufferings as a means of making reparation for our sins and for turning more closely to our Lord, for there is great holiness to be found in doing this.

While it is easy for our emotions to get the better of us in times of crisis, as people of faith we should strive never to question the love the Lord has for us.

For our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross for our sakes is a definitive proof that He does love us. For who would willingly undergo such terrible suffering for the sake of others and at the hands of others if not for love?
In examining the fact that our Lord became man, and suffered and died for us and because of us, the only logical conclusion is that He does love us – and loves us in a way that no human can ever fully match. He loves us in an infinitely perfect way, even if we don’t always understand it!

And so when we suffer in this life – and we all do – the proper response of faith is not to question and turn away from our Lord.

Like the long-suffering Job, we must be willing to accept both good and bad from God’s hands – trusting that both the good we enjoy and the suffering we endure in this life are means for God to help us grow in holiness and prepare for Heaven!

Like Job and all the saints who have gone before us, our response to the Lord in every circumstance of life must be one of love and gratitude.

And this is where we must turn to both our first reading and our Gospel today. Both Moses and Jesus call us to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and all our strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Jesus tells us that these are the greatest commandments. In other words, this is God’s greatest expectation of us. Love is what our Lord desires the most from us!

No doubt all of you who are parents can relate to this. You want your children to love you, do you not? You want your children’s love because you love them so very much.

Everyone who loves wants to be loved in return. This is as true for God as it is for man. And so ultimately, this is what our readings are about today. From Hebrews we learn of God’s love for us, while our first reading and Gospel exhort us to love Him in return.

St. Bede the Venerable has a famous saying: “He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.” In this quote St. Bede marvelously ties together the two great commandments we hear from our Lord in today’s Gospel.

So while there are many ways to love God, such as obedience to His commands, fidelity to prayer, generously giving to the Church, and so forth, the most perfect way to show God love is to love others as we love ourselves.
We see a marvelous example of this in the life of St. Martin de Porres, whose feast day the Church celebrates this weekend. Martin was the illegitimate mulatto son of a Spanish nobleman, who became a Dominican brother in Lima, Peru, in the 17th century.

Though he was considered an outcast in society, and even though he was sometimes harshly treated by his fellow religious, St. Martin was a master of charity, constantly practicing works of mercy for all in need.

Martin was known for always considering the needs of others as more important than his own needs, often depriving himself of food and sleep so that he could help others.

But Martin’s greatest work of charity was to help others get to Heaven. Many people of all walks of life were converted by his disarming and straightforward love.

So St. Martin shows us that our love for others is most perfectly manifested when we act in ways that help them to get to Heaven, just as God’s love for us is most clearly seen in the fact that He desires to save us!

And so as we consider our relationships with one another, we must learn to think in terms of salvation. Do we always act in ways that help others grow in holiness?

Do we encourage them in the ways of faith? Do we encourage them to keep the commandments? Are we willing to correct others charitably out of love for their soul, even if it is uncomfortable for us to do so?

Or do we sometimes do things that hinder another person’s salvation? Do we speak, act, or dress in provocative ways? Do we encourage others to sin or to dwell upon sinful things? Do we stir people to anger, pride, lust, greed, envy, gluttony, or sloth?

This past week we celebrated the twin feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Days, which called us to honor the saints and to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. But ultimately, these feast days point us toward eternity, and thus call us to prepare for our own death.

One great way to prepare ourselves for eternity is by loving others enough to help them along the path to salvation. The beautiful thing about loving others in this way is that by doing so, we also manifest our love for God.
May we all learn to love each other better by truly working for one another’s salvation, and may we thereby prove our love for God, Who desires nothing else than to save us from sin and death.

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us.
04 November 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

“I am with him in the time of trial”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/08/15 at 12:00 AM
Everything may collapse and fail. Events may turn out contrary to what was expected and great adversity may come. But nothing is to be gained by being perturbed. Furthermore, remember the confident prayer of the prophet: “The Lord is our judge, the Lord gives us our laws, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.” Say it devoutly every day, so that your behaviour may agree with the designs of Providence, which governs us for our own good. (Furrow, 855)

And if we are waylaid, assaulted by the temptation of discouragement, opposition, struggle, tribulation, a new dark night of the soul, the psalmist places on our lips and in our minds these words: ‘I am with him in the time of trial.’ Jesus, compared to your Cross, of what value is mine? Alongside your wounds, what are my little scratches? Compared with your Love, so immense and pure and infinite, of what value is this tiny little sorrow which you have placed upon my shoulders? And your hearts, and mine, become filled with a holy hunger and we confess to him — with deeds — that ‘we die of Love.’

A thirst for God is born in us, a longing to understand his tears, to see his smile, his face… The best way to express this, I would say, is to repeat with Scripture: ‘Like the deer that seeks for running waters, so my heart yearns for thee, my God!’ The soul goes forward immersed in God, divinized: the Christian becomes a thirsty traveler who opens his mouth to the waters of the fountain.

Along with this self‑surrender, our apostolic zeal is enkindled and grows day by day; it also sets others on fire with its desire, because goodness is diffusive. It is not possible for our poor nature to be so close to God and not be fired with hunger to sow joy and peace throughout the world, to spread everywhere the redeeming waters that flow from Christ’s open side, and to begin and end everything we do for Love.

I was speaking before about sorrow and suffering and tears. Without contradicting what I said then, I can affirm that the disciple who lovingly seeks the Master finds that sadness, worries and afflictions now taste very differently: they disappear as soon as we truly accept God’s Will, as soon as we carry out his plans gladly, as faithful children of his, even though our nerves may seem to be at breaking point and the pain impossible to bear. (Friends of God, 310-311)

Catholic Teachers

In 03 Archbishop Charles Chaput on 2013/08/16 at 12:00 AM

Who we are is what we give to others

All adult Catholics are teachers. That’s one of our mandates as believers. And like never before in history, we need to be people rooted in the Church and faithful to her teachings. In an age of confusion, the Church is our only reliable guide. Through her, it’s our job to form our children and ourselves in the truth that will make us genuinely free.

Most of us know C.S. Lewis as the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Screwtape Letters.” But he was a teacher as well as a writer—and in his lectures, he often described God as a sculptor. For Lewis, the suffering in a person’s life has a special meaning, which is echoed again and again in Scripture.

Proverbs tells us, “Do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (3:11-12). And the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that in suffering, “God is treating you as sons, for what son is there whom a father does not discipline?” (12:7).

Suffering is a tool. God uses it to shape each of us into the saints he wants us to be. God sees the shape of our holiness in the marble of our humanity. Then He cuts away the stone of sin to free us.

It’s a great metaphor. Anyone who has seen Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Pieta knows exactly what Lewis meant. The figures of Jesus and Mary have a living humanity. The smoothness of the skin, the elegance of the limbs, the sorrow on Mary’s face—these things are so real that we can forget they came from a slab of marble. The sculptor saw the beauty in the stone … and he set it free with a hammer and a chisel. Nobody remembers the hammer blow; that was over in an instant. They’re too moved by the beauty of the results. The beauty lasts forever.

Now, people aren’t blocks of stone. They’re living tissue, with the freedom and dignity of children of God. And teachers aren’t chisels and hammers. Or at least they shouldn’t be. They are active, cooperating agents in God’s plan, not merely his instruments. But we can still draw some lessons from the sculptor and his work.

First, the great sculptor is motivated by love, not merely technical skill. The sculptor loves the beauty and the truth he sees locked in the stone. In the same way, the great teacher loves the possibilities for beauty and truth—the hint of the image of God—she sees in the face of her students.

Next, the great sculptor has a passion for his work and a confidence in his vision. In like manner, no Catholic catechist, teacher or parent can form another person in the faith without a passion for the Gospel, a personal zeal for Jesus Christ, and an absolute confidence in the truth of the Church and her teaching. No teacher can give what she doesn’t have herself. If you yourself don’t believe, then you can only communicate unbelief. If I’m not faithful myself, then I will only communicate infidelity. Who we are, is part of the formation we give to others.

Remember: Who we are, is part of the formation we give to others. In deepening our own faith, the more effectively we can share it with others. That’s something we all need. So you can be sure I’ll be there. I hope you will be too.

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. WAS  the Archbishop of Denver AND IS NOW ARCHBISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA. To read more from Archbishop Chaput, click here.

Pope Benedict to Those Afflicted by Sickness: You Are the Living Image of Christ

In 07 Observations on 2013/02/28 at 11:11 AM

“Go and do likewise” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for his message on the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 11 February, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, which will take place this year at the Marian Shrine of Altotting, Germany. In the message the Pope writes that “this Day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the faithful and for all people of goodwill ‘a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind’.”

“On this occasion,” the pontiff continues, “I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centres or at home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: ‘You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image’.”

“So as to keep you company on the spiritual pilgrimage that leads us from Lourdes, a place which symbolizes hope and grace, to the Shrine of Altotting, I would like to propose for your reflection the exemplary figure of the Good Samaritan. The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise”, the Lord also indicates the attitude that each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be”.

“This is true, not only for pastoral or health care workers, but for everyone, even for the sick themselves, who can experience this condition from a perspective of faith: ‘It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love’, Benedict XVI counsels, citing his encyclical “Spe Salvi”.

“Various Fathers of the Church saw Jesus himself in the Good Samaritan; and in the man who fell among thieves they saw Adam, our very humanity wounded and disoriented on account of its sins. Jesus is the Son of God, the one who makes present the Father’s love, a love which is faithful, eternal and without boundaries. But Jesus is also the one who sheds the garment of his divinity, who leaves his divine condition to assume the likeness of men, drawing near to human suffering, even to the point of descending into hell, as we recite in the Creed, in order to bring hope and light. He does not jealously guard his equality with God but, filled with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope”.

“The Year of Faith which we are celebrating is a fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, ‘an expert in the scientia amoris’, was able to experience ‘in deep union with the Passion of Jesus’ the illness that brought her ‘to death through great suffering’.”

Also, “the Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life to caring for people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the Lord in the sick, especially in those ‘unwanted, unloved, uncared for’.”

“Saint Anna Schaffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings to those of Christ: ‘her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel’. In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha. She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation”.

The Pope offers “a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more fully that ‘the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick’.”

Benedict XVI then concludes, entrusting the 21st World Day of the Sick “to the intercession of Our Lady of Graces, venerated at Altotting, that she may always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. May she assist all who are involved in the apostolate of mercy, so that they may become good Samaritans to their brothers and sisters afflicted by illness and suffering”.

VIS 130108

The Dying Prayer of Our Lord

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/03/30 at 9:11 AM

 

Vatican City, (VIS) – The prayer of Jesus at the moment of His death, as narrated by St. Mark and St. Matthew was the theme of Benedict XVI’s catechesis during his general audience….

“In the structure of the narrative”, the Pope said, “Jesus’ cry rises at the end of three hours of darkness, which had descended upon the earth from midday to three o’clock in the afternoon. Those three hours of darkness were, in their turn, the continuation of an earlier period which also lasted three hours and began with the crucifixion. … In biblical tradition darkness has an ambivalent meaning: it is a sign of the presence and action of evil, but also of the mysterious presence and action of God Who is capable of vanquishing all darkness. … In the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion darkness envelops the earth, the darkness of death in which the Son of God immerses Himself, in order bring life with His act of love”.

“Insulted by various categories of people, surrounded by a darkness covering everything, at the very moment in which He is facing death Jesus’ cry shows that, along with His burden of suffering and death apparently accompanied by abandonment and the absence of God, He is entirely certain of the closeness of the Father, Who approves this supreme act of love and of total giving of Self, although we do not hear His voice from on high as we did in earlier moments”.

Yet, the Holy Father asked, “what is the meaning of Jesus’ prayer? The cry addressed to the Father: ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” He explained that “the words Jesus addresses to the Father are the beginning of Psalm 22, in which the Psalmist expresses the tension between, on the one hand, being left alone and, on the other, the certain knowledge of God’s presence amongst His people. … The Psalmist speaks of a ‘cry’ to express all the suffering of his prayer before the apparently absent God. At moments of anguish prayer becomes a cry.

“This also happens in our own relationship with the Lord”, the Pope added. “In the face of difficult and painful situations, when it seems that God does not hear, we must not be afraid to entrust Him with the burden we are carrying in our hearts, we must not be afraid to cry out to Him in our suffering”.

“Jesus prays at the moment of ultimate rejection by man, at the moment of abandonment. However, He is aware that God the Father is present even at the instant in which He is experiencing the human drama of death. Yet nonetheless, a question arises in our hearts: how is it possible that such a powerful God does not intervene to save His Son from this terrible trial?”

The Holy Father explained that “it is important to understand that the prayer of Jesus is not the cry of a person who meets death with desperation, nor that of a person who knows he has been abandoned. At that moment Jesus appropriates Psalm 22, the Psalm of the suffering people of Israel, at that moment He takes upon Himself not only the suffering of His people, but also that of all men and women oppressed by evil. … And He takes all this to the heart of God in the certainty that His cry will be heard in the resurrection. … His is a suffering in communion with us and for us, it derives from love and carries within itself redemption and the victory of love.

“The people at the foot of Jesus’ cross were unable to understand, they thought His cry was a supplication to Elijah. … We likewise find ourselves, ever and anew, facing the ‘today’ of suffering, the silence of God – many times we say as much in our prayers – but we also find ourselves facing the ‘today’ of the Resurrection, of the response of God Who took our sufferings upon Himself, to carry them with us and give us the certain hope that they will be overcome”.

“In our prayers”, the Holy Father concluded, “let us bring God our daily crosses, in the certainty that He is present and listens to us. The cry of Jesus reminds us that in prayer we must cross the barrier of ‘self’ and our own problems, and open ourselves to the needs and sufferings of others. May the prayer of the dying Jesus on the cross teach us to pray with love for so many brothers and sisters who feel the burden of daily life, who are experiencing moments of difficulty, who suffer and hear no words of comfort, that they may feel the love of God Who never abandons us.

Vatican Information Services

Problems and Difficulties

In 07 Observations on 2011/05/11 at 11:38 AM

“In our own lives, perhaps there will be no shortage of tempests and threatening skies, of interior darkness, of misunderstandings – and, with more or less regular frequency, situations in which we should correct our course because we have gone astray.  Then we should strive to see Our Lord, who always comes in the storm of suffering.  Let us learn to accept the setbacks with faith, as blessing from heaven to purify us and draw us closer to God.  He said: ‘It is I; do not be afraid.”

Fernandez, Francis IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD, Vol.II: 60.3