With Christ, our sufferings assume a redemptive value

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

We have to be ready when we are made to suffer in one way or another. And that can only mean that we assume the mind, the attitude of Christ toward suffering for us to find meaning and value to our sufferings.

This much we can get from the gospel of the Mass on Wednesday of the eighth week in Ordinary Time. (cfr. Mk 10,32-45) Christ told his disciples of his forthcoming passion and death as they were entering Jerusalem. And yet, what did two of his disciples ask Christ in response? They asked that they be given a privileged place in heaven!

It’s truly one of those most shameful examples of impertinence we can have in our entire life. Imagine Christ already talking about his passion and death, and here we have two of his closest disciples thinking only of their own glory!

We need to be wary of this danger that can also happen to us. Instead of entering into the real value of suffering which is unavoidable in our life, we would think only of some privileges we think we are entitled to, due perhaps to some good deeds we have done.

We need to enter into the real value of suffering we can have in this life, assuming the very mind and attitude of Christ toward his own passion and death, because only then can we truly share in the victory and glory of Christ in his resurrection!

If we believe in Christ and follow what he has taught and shown us, we will realize that there is nothing to be afraid of suffering and death, and all the other negative things that can mark our life.

He bore them himself and converted them into our way for our own salvation. Yes, even death which is the ultimate evil that can befall us, an evil that is humanly insoluble. With Christ’s death, the curse of death has been removed. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15,54-55)

So, we just have to be sport and cool about the whole reality of suffering and death. What we need to do is to follow Christ in his attitude toward them. For Christ, embracing suffering and ultimately death, is the expression of his greatest love for us. We have to enter into the dynamic of this divine logic and wisdom so we can lose that fear of suffering and death.

Thus, we have to understand this very well. Unless we love the cross, we can never say that we are loving enough. Of course, we have to qualify that assertion. It’s when we love the cross the way God wills it --the way Christ loves it-- that we can really say that we are loving as we should, or loving with the fullness of love.

We have to be wary of our tendency to limit our loving to ways and forms that give us some benefits alone, be it material, moral or spiritual. While they are also a form of love, they are not yet the fullness of love.

They somehow are forms of love that have traces of self-interest. They are not a total self-giving, completely rid of self-interest, which is what true love is. And if they are not corrected, if they are not oriented towards the fullness of love, they can occasion a lot of danger and worse anomalies.

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