MONDAY, NINTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Memorial of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr
Dt 10:12-22; Ps 147:12-15, 19-20; Mt 17:22-27
SUFFERING WITH JOY
Can pain ever be joyful? If the righteous should be honoured and the wicked be punished; if peace, joy, happiness are seen as blessing and suffering as a curse, why would one wish to embrace suffering? How can we reconcile with the reality of suffering?
Today we celebrate the memory of St Edith Stein. It is she who said, “There is a call to suffering with Christ and, through this, to cooperate in his salvific work. In uniting ourselves with the Lord, we become members of his mystical body. Through his members, Christ extends his own life and it is he who suffers in them. When we are in union with the Lord, our suffering becomes his suffering. It becomes an integral part of the great work of salvation and is therefore fruitful.” Strangely, our life is not a misery, just because we have sufferings. Suffering, though it appears melancholic, when contemplated, has a healing effect.
Wanting to escape from suffering is not the right attitude. What is needed is a change of perspective. If we look at the suffering from the gospel perspective, we see it as a way of formation and transformation. Jesus, in today’s gospel, explains to his disciples the purpose of his incarnation. He told them, that he had to suffer and die so that he could rise again. But the disciples, then and many of us now, fail to understand the value of suffering.
St Edith says, “Every person must suffer and die; but if he is a living member of the mystical body of Christ, his suffering and death take on a redemptive power, which flows from the divinity of him who is his head. That is why every saint so desires to embrace suffering.” This sums up the purpose of suffering in our lives. There is a tribal proverb that says: “Before we can see properly, we must first shed our tears to clear the way”. Are we ready to shed some tears joyfully so that we can see that which is beyond?
Response: O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!
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