04-14-2019 Suffering is a Reality of Life

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Catholic Church
Journey of Faith
Opening Prayer
Scripture Readings
"My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?”
Psalm 22:2

“And behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20
How do you view the reality of suffering?

On Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion we remember the story of Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion and death at the hands of the powerful religious and political leaders of his time. Unfortunately Jesus experienced the same fate as so many other women, men, and children who journeyed through life before him, with him, and after him. Suffering is a part of the reality of all life. None of us escape its sting, not even “Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.”

Suffering is experienced in many ways—physical, psychological, or emotional pain or limitation, social estrangement, loss of loved ones, and eventually the pain of our own death. Some may appear to suffer relatively more than others and many through no fault of their own such as innocent, developing fetuses whose lives are routinely and conveniently terminated before birth.

We search for explanations for suffering so that if we could know its causes, we could control them, reduce their effects, or even eliminate them. It seems easier to accept the reality of suffering if we can blame it on someone or something. Therefore, throughout history we have sought to attribute suffering to the “punishment of gods,” “the devil,” “sin,” the acts or omissions of ourselves or others, and the like. We call natural disasters “acts of God,” or claim that suffering is an inherent part of evolution. Some religions profess that much of our suffering arises from our inability to recognize or accept the reality of suffering in our lives.

This search also leads to questions such as “What is the purpose of our suffering?” or “Why would an unconditionally loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful God permit such suffering?” One answer offered is that God respects our human freedom to choose and to act, that such choices and actions have intended and unintended consequences, and that for reasons known only to God, suffering is allowed to occur.

Suffering is real and there are serious questions that arise from the existence of such suffering. Throughout history many philosophers, theologians, and others have sought to address these issues. This short article can’t begin to offer any credible answers to these questions.

What can be offered is the hope and faith that we are all daughters and sons of an unconditionally loving and merciful God we can trust to bring good out of all suffering (Rom 8:28), and “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)

We also trust that God, in experiencing human suffering and death in the person of Jesus, is present with us in our suffering and death, with the promise of resurrection to new and eternal life with Christ (Jn 11:25-26).
Reflect on Your Experience
Are you open to experiencing the presence of God when you suffer?

Do you experience the presence of God through the compassion and presence of others?
U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults   Catecismo Catolico de Los Estadios Unidos para los Adultos  
Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church    Compendio de la Doctrina Social de la Iglesia
"Palm Sunday" (Bishop Robert Barron)

"Holy Week" (Bishop Robert Barron)

"Praying Through Holy Week" (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

"Good Friday - The Meaning of the Cross" (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

"The Role of Hope in Holy Week" (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

"Why Did Jesus Have to Die the Way He Did" (Bishop Robert Barron)

"Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering" (Bishop Robert Barron"

"The Meaning of Suffering" (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

"Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?" (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

"Why Suffering" (Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ)

"Why the All-Loving God Allows Suffering?"(Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ)

"Redemptive Suffering" (Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ)

"Stephen Fry, Job,and Suffering" (Comments by Bishop Robert Barron)

"God, Tsunamis, and the Power of Evil" (Bishop Robert Barron)

"Why Is There So Much Disorder" (Bishop Robert Barron)

"The Meaning of Suffering (Fr. Nathan Reesman)

"The Problem of Evil and Suffering" (Peter Kreeft, Ph.D.)

Other Videos for Lent (See Journey of Faith, March 3, 2019)</br?>
"Via Dolorosa" (Sandy Patty)

"Lead Me to the Cross" (Hillsong)

"In the Name of the Lord" (Sandy Patty)

"Holy is His Name" (John Michael Talbot)

"At the Cross" (Hillsong)

"Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?"

"Jesus, Remember Me"

Other Resources
"Salvifici Dolores" (Pope John Paul II)

"Where There is Pain, There is God" (American Catholic)

"Why Would a Loving God Allow Suffering?" (Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ)

"An Acceptance of Suffering" (Bert Ghezzi)

"If God, Why Evil?

"Transforming Suffering Through Faith and Prayer" (Fr. Robert Spitzer)

"The Meaning and Value of Suffering" (Bishop Kevin Rhoades)

"A Pope's Answer to the Problem of Pain"

Lenten Resources

"Catholic Spirituality in Practice" (C 21 - Boston College)

Other Prayer and Spiritual Practices

Social Services and Other Charitable Resources

Other Resources on Catholic Social Teaching
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