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Paul Chaloux
Dec 25, 2021
In Why me, Lord?
i understand that there is no malice in God, only love, and that suffering is not to destroy us but to perfect us. It does this through four tasks that teach us how to love unconditionally, systematically bringing us from sin to salvation if we heed its messages. The first task of suffering is to build up virtue within us and thus, teach us proper self-love. This task is accomplished primarily through simple feedback loops. Life without death would require a different kind of body and indeed, that is a core teaching of Christ and his Church about what awaits us after physical death. Indeed, St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that we would shed our corruptible, corporal bodies for incorruptible, spiritual bodies at the Resurrection (1Cor 15: 42-44). However, we will not enjoy this incorruptible, spiritual state unless we are in the presence of God, the font of all that is good and true. Imagine the joy of being able to access all that is good and true in the universe directly from the mind of God, like a supercharged internet with unlimited bandwidth and no down time. And now imagine knowing it is there but being denied access. That is the choice that is before us. To be with God requires us to be like God, taking on His nature as defined by the Beatitudes. In essence, this requires us to love unconditionally. So you may be asking yourself what all this has to do with the suffering of the aged. In God’s plan, suffering has four tasks to bring us from sin to salvation, each one focused on teaching us how to love more fully, leaving behind the self-centeredness that drives most sins as we progress.. The first task is to teach us to love ourselves and in this case, that means seeking out ways to resolve our suffering. This drives us to seek healing and provides others with the opportunity to help us, even as we help ourselves. It reinforces our dependency on others and builds up humility. It is also the Church’s experience that very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to Him (CCC. 1501). This is the second task of suffering. The third task of suffering is to unleash our love of neighbor, to teach us to love and to be loved.. As we begin to degrade, we switch more dcsisively towared being the beneficiarias of other’s love when just a short time before, we were the caregivers, dispensing love to both our parents and children. When we come to realize that when we suffer for the benefit of others, suggest Since we will be living and sharing in the suffering of Christ, we will also share in his glory. This fulfills the requirements for the 4th task of suffering and the journey from sin to salvation is completed. From this point forward, most suffering by the elder person serves to prepare that person to let go of life and for the person’s loved ones to prepare them to let the person go. The exception to this would be if there were other extraneous reasons for the person to suffer for the benefit of others. Sometimes, end of life suffering serves as a cautionary tale for others about hurtful behavior, like the person who dies of lung cancer aftera lifetime of smoking cigarettes. Because there is no malice in God, there will always be spiritual benefit in suffering, even if the person does no recognize it. If you find yourself suffering at the end of life and can’t understand a specific reason why, the Church suggests offering up that suffering to Christ as a share in His mission. Doing this demonstrates our love for God and solidarity with hi plan (providence) for the salvation of others. Doing so will impart untold blessings on us and strengthen the overall body of Christ. By giving us and the suffering a purpose, it also can turn our suffering into joy. Author’s note; This article is dedicated to my 90-year old mother, Dolly Chaloux, who has undergone intense suffering for the last ten years, teaching me and by extension, many more about the nature of suffering and its place in God’s plan.
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