SUFFERING

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Matt. 10:38 - Jesus said, "he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Jesus defines discipleship as one's willingness to suffer with Him. Being a disciple of Jesus not only means having faith in Him, but offering our sufferings to the Father as He did.

Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34 - Jesus said, "if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Jesus wants us to empty ourselves so that God can fill us. When we suffer, we can choose to seek consolation in God and become closer to Jesus.

Luke 9:23 - Jesus says we must take up this cross daily. He requires us to join our daily temporal sacrifices (pain, inconvenience, worry) with His eternal sacrifice.

Luke 14:27 - Jesus said, "whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple." If we reject God because we suffer, we fail to apply the graces that Jesus won for us by His suffering.

John 7:39 - Jesus was first glorified on the cross, not just the resurrection. This text refers to John 19:34, when Jesus was pierced on the cross by the soldier's lance.

John 12:24 - unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone and bears no fruit. Jesus is teaching that suffering and death are part of every human life, and it is only through suffering and death that we obtain the glory of resurrection.

Rom. 5:2-3 - Paul says that more than rejoicing in our hope, we rejoice in our sufferings which produces endurance, character and hope. Through faith, suffering brings about hope in God and, through endurance, salvation.

Rom. 8:17 - Paul says that we are heirs with Christ, but only if we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. Paul is teaching that suffering must be embraced in order to obtain the glory that the Father has bestowed upon Jesus.

Rom. 8:18 - the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. We thus have hope that any sufferings we or others endure, no matter how difficult, will pale in comparison to the life of eternal bliss that awaits us.

1 Cor. 1:23- Paul preaches a Christ crucified, not just risen. Catholic spirituality focuses on the sacrifice of Christ which is the only means to the resurrection. This is why Catholic churches have crucifixes with the corpus of Jesus affixed to them. Many Protestant churches no longer display the corpus of Jesus (only an empty cross). Thus, they only preach a Christ risen, not crucified.

1 Cor. 2:2 - Paul preaches Jesus Christ and Him crucified. While the cross was the scandal of scandals, and is viewed by the non-Christian eye as defeat, Catholic spirituality has always exalted the paradox of the cross as the true tree of life and our means to salvation.

2 Cor. 1:5-7- if we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort as well. If we unite our sufferings with His, we will be comforted by Him.

2 Cor. 4:10 Paul writes that we always carry in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. Christ has allowed room in His Body for our sufferings, and our sufferings allow room for Christ to bring us to life.

2 Cor. 4:11 - while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake so that His life may be manifested in our flesh. This proves the Catholic position that our sufferings on earth are united with Jesus in order to bring about Jesus' life in us.

2 Cor. 12:9-10 - Jesus' grace is sufficient, for His power is made perfect in weakness. If we are weak, we are strong in Christ. Our self-sufficiency decreases, so Christ in us can increase.

Eph. 3:13 - Do not to lose heart over my sufferings for your glory. Our suffering also benefits others in the mystical body of Christ.

Phil. 1:29 - for the sake of Christ we are not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake. Growing in holiness requires more than having faith in God and accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. We must also willfully embrace the suffering that befalls us as part of God's plan. Thus, Christ does not want our faith alone, but our faith in action which includes faith in suffering.

Phil. 3:10 - Paul desires to share in Christ's sufferings in order to obtain the resurrection. Paul recognizes the efficacy of suffering as a means of obtaining holiness which leads to resurrection and eternal life. There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.

Col. 1:24 - Paul rejoices in his sufferings and completes what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body. This proves the Catholic position regarding the efficacy of suffering. Is there something lacking in Christ's sufferings? Of course not. But because Jesus loves us so much, He allows us to participate in His redemptive suffering by leaving room in His mystical body for our own suffering. Our suffering, united with our Lord's suffering, furthers the work of His redemption.

2 Thess. 1:5 - we may be made worthy of the kingdom of God for which we are suffering. This is because suffering causes us to turn to God and purifies us from sin.

2 Tim. 1:8 - Paul instructs Timothy to share in suffering for the Gospel. Suffering is not to be asked for, but it is also not to be avoided. For the sake of the Gospel, it is to be embraced.

2 Tim. 2:3 - Paul says to take our share of sufferings as a good soldier in Christ. Sufferings atone for the temporal effects of our sin.

2 Tim. 3:12 - all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But this persecution unites us more closely to Jesus and repairs our relationship with God.

2 Tim. 4:5 - Paul instructs Timothy to endure suffering to fulfill his ministry. As evangelists, we suffer with Christ for the Gospel.

Heb. 12:5-7 - do not lose courage when you are punished, for the Lord disciplines whom He loves. The Lord loves each one of us more than we love ourselves, and will only permit suffering if it brings about our salvation.

Heb. 12:11 - this discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

James 4:8-10 - we must purify our hearts and grieve, mourn and wail, changing our laughter into morning and joy to gloom.

1 Peter 1:6 - Peter warns us that we may have to suffer various trials. Peter does not want us to be discouraged by this reality, but understand that such suffering purifies us and prepares us for union with God.

1 Peter 2:19-21 - Peter instructs that we have been called to endure pain while suffering for Christ, our example. God actually calls us to suffer as His Son did, and this is not to diminish us, but to glorify us, because it is by our suffering that we truly share in the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:1-2 - Peter says whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin to live not by the flesh but by the will of God. Our suffering furthers our growth in holiness which is the aim of Catholic life.

1 Peter 4:13 - Peter says to rejoice in Christ's sufferings in order to rejoice and be glad when Christ's glory is revealed. Those who suffer with faith in Christ will rejoice in His glory.

1 Peter 4:16 - if we suffer as Christians, we should not be ashamed but glorify God.

1 Peter 5:10 - after we have suffered, the God of all grace will restore, establish and strengthen us. God promises us that our suffering will ultimately be followed by glory.

Rev. 11:3 - Jesus gives power to His witnesses clothed in sackcloth. By virtue of our priesthood, we suffer to repair our relationship with God for sins that He has already forgiven us. As priests, we atone for the temporal punishments due to our sin.

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johnsalza@scripturecatholic.com