Meaning in Suffering

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Readings for Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor – Memorial

“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.  Luke 9:44-45

So why was the meaning of this “hidden from them?”  Interesting.  Here Jesus tells them to “pay attention to what I am telling you.”  And then begins to explain He will suffer and die.  But they did not get it.  They did not understand what He meant and “they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.”

The truth is that Jesus was not offended by their lack of understanding.  He realized that they would not immediately understand.  But this did not stop Him from telling them anyway.  Why?  Because He knew that they would come to understand in time.  But, at first, the Apostles just listened in a bit of confusion.

When did the Apostles come to understand?  They understood once the Holy Spirit descended upon them leading them into all Truth.  It took the workings of the Holy Spirit to understand such deep mysteries.

The same is true with us.  When we face the mystery of Jesus’ sufferings, and when we face the reality of suffering in our own lives or the lives of those we love, we can often be confused at first.  It takes a gift from the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand.  Suffering is most often inevitable.  We all endure it.  And if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, suffering will lead us to confusion and despair.  But if we allow the Holy Spirit to open our minds, we will begin to understand how God can work in us through our sufferings just as He brought salvation to the world through the sufferings of Christ.

Reflect, today, upon how well you understand both Jesus’ sufferings and your own.  Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the meaning and even the value of suffering?  Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for this grace and let God lead you into this profound mystery of our faith.

Lord, I know You suffered and died for my salvation.  I know that my own suffering can take on new meaning in Your Cross.  Help me to more fully see and understand this great mystery and to find even greater value in Your Cross as well as mine.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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