GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTION

SUFFERING I ENDURE FOR YOU

Sr. Charles, S.S.N.D. was my favorite CCD teacher.  Whenever we endured any sacrifices or problems, she would say to us, “Offer it up.”  What did the nuns mean when they exhorted us to this type of prayer? St. Paul says in his letter to the Colossians (1:24-28) “I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you.  In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the church.” What could the sufferings of Christ be lacking? Nothing, except we have not given Him our sacrifices, suffering, or total surrender to God.

This is what the nuns meant when they taught us “to offer it up.”  Our “sacrifice, suffering, and surrender” are to be united with Jesus’ suffering.  The Catholic faith is the only church that teaches this doctrine. It is the mystery of redemptive suffering.  It is “the glory beyond price which this mystery brings, even to the Gentiles. The mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory.”

Before Jesus – suffering was looked upon as meaningless, hopeless, or useless.  Jesus gives meaning and purpose through His ultimate sacrifice. And thereby also to our “sacrifice, suffering, and surrender.”  Not only that, but it becomes one with His redemptive passion, death, and resurrection. United with Him, our offering also becomes redemptive.

For whom are you offering your suffering?  Who needs your prayers the most?

But many will question, “How can God use my suffering?”  Anything you give to God, materially or spiritually, is NEVER WASTED.  Only when we keep things to ourselves, can they become wasted. Our love, our intellect, our will, our very selves; when we give them away here on earth, they can become wasted.  But when we give these to God, they are never wasted.