Monday, December 29, 2008

I don’t understand suffering.

I read Paul's words rejoicing in his suffering for the Church, I gaze upon Christ crucified and well I just don’t get it. I’ve never had the sort of ah ha understanding I did when I read John 3:16 and I understood that Jesus’ mission was to repair the damage done in the garden.

Nevertheless, I am committed to Christ and willing to accept that my blind spot on this issue is just that, MY blind spot not a defect in the Church’s teaching. So fumbling along like an unsteady toddler trying to learn how to walk I’ve been trying to learn to “offer up” my suffering to the Lord.

So what constitutes suffering I ask myself?

Well, when my arthritic hip hurts that’s suffering.

Good, good. OK, every time my hip hurts I’ve thanked God and offered the pain for the conversion of the world.

And that feels like the most unnatural thing in the entire world. Odd in the extreme, but a funny thing has happened. My hip has stopped hurting. It wasn’t what I asked for when I prayed but it’s a pleasant side effect.

So now I’ve got another mission. I’m a bit of a glutton, bottom line, I eat way more than I need. Nothing much has convinced me to give up this vice, though I would like to. It’s something I’ve been wrestling with for several years. A bad habit that’s good and dug in.

Does suffering when I give up that chocolate crispy Santa count in God’s economy of suffering for the salvation of souls, or is that simply self indulgent wishful thinking? I’m really not sure, but I’m handing that suffering over to God to do with what he wishes. It’s a far greater motivator than anything I’ve ever tried.

So why babble on publicly about this topic I don’t quite understand? Well, because today I read this post about a pro-choice woman blogging with glee about her abortion. (H/T to The Raving Theist by way of The Curt Jester ).

Today as I suffer through the trials of not stuffing my face with everything I see I’m offering up that sacrifice to God and asking for this woman’s conversion. In fact I believe I’ll offer up the entire experience of breaking the gluttony habit to the salvation of the souls of anyone touched by abortion.

Forgive us Lord for not welcoming the little children. Amen.


Katie said...

Wow, that's really sad, in a lot of ways. Offering your suffering for her conversion is a wonderful idea.

Anne Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne Marie said...

Opps, needed a little spelling correction.

I'm still a bit in the dark about the offering suffering part. But what the heck the Saints seem really clear on it so I'm following them!

Michael Garcia said...

the state of suffering is so deeply natured in the human condition that posing religious rationalization for its exitence is inadequate, and it is certaintly far more complex than Paul's view.

But if having such view makes you feel batter... well then, good for you.

Anne Marie said...

Michael Garcia

Your comment suggests to me that you’ve been heavily influenced by Ehrman’s treatment of the problem of human suffering. I prefer to read the ancients such as Aquinas on the topic, but if embracing the view point of a Moody Bible Institute / Wheaton College educated fella who disregards the work of the Holy Spirit in guiding the Church makes you feel better... well then, good for you.