Uncategorized Blazes

A reflection on suffering on the feast of St. Paul of the Cross

Yesterday I got my peacemaker checked out at the doctor’s office at the hospital. This was the first time following up on the device since it was implanted in February. I did not know what to expect. How would they check to see if it is functioning properly? That part was actually a breeze (it was getting to and from the hospital with all the traffic that was the most difficult part of the entire visit) – – the nurse just put a computer mouse like device over my chest and the readouts began appearing on a screen. I was told that I would be given a machine that will electronically send out pulse reports every night so that the peacemaker can be monitored. Besides this, I will have to have the peacemaker battery replaced, by incision, in about nine years. While we were waiting, a very short while, for the doctor, I was filled with a sense of peace in spite of myself. After I got the peacemaker, I felt the anxiety of uncertainty in regards to the future, because I am so dependent. But none of these concerns came to my mind in the doctor’s office, or at least they didn’t bother me at all.

A thought came to me that when I consider my problems in light of the Cross they become bearable. Reflecting on the Passion and Death of Christ on the Cross makes our suffering seem to shrink. The more we think on the Crucified and on his suffering, the less we think of ourselves, with the result that our suffering becomes lighter. The Cross is our hope. Because we know that Jesus overcame it, we know that we will also overcome it in him and share in his glorious Resurrection. There at the doctor’s office, I felt that everything would be OK.

Suffering is still difficult as I was reminded this morning. Just getting out bed is such a process . Sometimes it’s hard to focus on God but I give him everything that I’m going through knowing that my suffering is being used for good, united to the Cross of Christ. Put everything on that Cross, everything becomes redemptive – – it’s like the Midas touch transforming our suffering into bursts of redemptive power. It doesn’t make the suffering go away but it gives it meaning and purpose.

Today is the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross, priest, mystic and founder of the Passionist Religious Order dedicated to spreading the message of the Passion of Christ. He preached Christ Crucified throughout Italy. In the 1700s. He spread devotion to the Lord’s Passion because in it he saw the great love of God for sinful, suffering humanity. He said that the Cross of Christ is the “miracle of miracles,” the miracle of God’s Love. St. Paul of the Cross believed that the Cross of Christ has the power to win souls back to God – – because it’s impossible for somebody to really think about the God on the Cross and continue to offend him. He believed that suffering, understood with the perspective of the Cross, is a blessing because it is the best means of being united to Jesus. St. Paul actually worked miracles by holding up his Crucifix.. When I was reading about him today, I came across this quote that captures what I was saying above. It’s short and worth remembering:

“Meditation on Jesus Christ crucified is a precious balm which sweetens all our pains.”

St. Paul of the Cross, pray for us!

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