EarthBeat Weekly: Environmental justice, action, spirituality among top themes for 2021, In compelling 'Hillbilly Elegy,' Adams, Close give strong performances, Cross-shaped solar array lights up Mundelein Seminary for New Year, Glimpse of the divine — or wishful thinking? Grace helps us to participate in the salvific act of suffering and to be content with it. If he forced their choice, it wouldn’t be free. “Why does a loving God permit pain?” I can honestly say, for the life of me, I don’t know. Surely in 1978, God gifted me with the grace to transcend a painful experience and evolve into a more compassionate person. Paul says: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. When the question is raised, “why does God allow pain and suffering?” it’s usually because we feel pain and suffering is unjust. Two questions have plagued the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike: why is there suffering? Pain, suffering and death are integral parts of the material world due to Adam's sin, but Christianity offers hope through the suffering of Jesus Christ. Through that participation God allows us to participate in the economy of salvation and the flow of grace to all who suffer. God does not cause the suffering, but he allows it, but the real source of suffering is sin. A cancer patient will come in after being diagnosed and they look fairly healthy in the beginning but once treatment starts I can not stress enough how it wreaks havoc on their bodies. Then I remind myself that I was young. But I sincerely thank God for answering my prayers in an unexpected way 40 years ago. God is not distant. Evil is sin and suffering, death. They came along as fallout from the sin of Adam. This is why Paul can say in his letter to the Galatians that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (2:20) Christ gave himself up for us in the salvific act of his Passion and death; Paul sees himself doing the same in participating in the Passion and death of Christ. Jesus gets our pain. Why a new consecration to St. Joseph is spreading like wildfire, ‘Canceled’ radical feminists and the Catholic Church: These unlikely allies believe women are female, Founder of Protestant movement returns to Catholic Church, Southern California Catholics pray for kidnapped Nigerian Bishop with strong ties to the area. Because of the incarnation, the Son of God suffered on the cross, though in his human nature, not God’s divine nature. For Paul to live is gain because while he suffers in this life he is imitating Christ and becoming more Christ-like. We receive here an insight into the effectiveness of grace. One can also be spiritual without much religion. James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And yet these theological theories bring no peace while reading a newspaper filled with war, cruelty, desolation. Why does God allow suffering? Give the Gift of NCR: Gift Subscriptions $29.95. My biggest mistake confused spirituality and religion. We suffer “to make us rely, not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9). But now, when I look back on the quality of my prayer, I am embarrassed. The myth of Creation in Genesis makes a clumsy effort to explain the suffering, pain and violence of our natural world including humans by explaining that God created everything perfect, but the Original Sin and the Fall corrupted Creation, and humanity. Yet we allow human beings to suffer needlessly, which in many cases only worsens with the passage of time. St. John Vianney had plenty of opportunities to “offer up” his suffering. We also wonder in these dark times how God relates to human pain, injury, violence and involuntary suffering. Jesus’ death for us shows just how much He cares and understands. God promises a time when there will be no more crying, no more tears, no more pain and suffering, when we will be reunited with God in perfect harmony, forever. Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. I didn’t stay home. Friends administered cold creams, moisturizers, baby oil, even Vaseline on the burns. You can sit in your room, mope, be unproductive, or you can get over yourself, go to work and make a salary for your college tuition. It’s possible, therefore, for God to create beings with the kind of free will that can choose between good and evil, but he can’t also force those creatures to choose good. That’s why, in the Meaning of Suffering presented by Good Catholic, we’ll unlock the teachings of the Church, the examples of the saints, and the life of Christ to help you not only make sense out of suffering, but use it … And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. in Theology and Christian Ministry with a Catechetics specialization and an M.A. It is God the Father who provides the answer to the problem of suffering: it consists in the fact that he "gives" his Son to the world. God could have prevented all sin and suffering by not creating the universe. In St. Paul’s writings we find a greatly developed meaning of suffering. Jesus’ passion and death also gave meaning to suffering. Suffering refines us. We are talking why God allows suffering. I sucked it up — and continued to pray for a miracle. Northern Cross, Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota. If God is the benevolent creator and sustainer of life depicted in Christian tradition, then he should be able and willing to eliminate our pain and suffering. This is why he says in 1 Corinthians: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18). When he arrived at his parish in 1818, there were … St. Paul explains the meaning of suffering. I spent my college years in the library completing work-study hours and at weekly dermatologist visits. Please help me. We never ask that question about the pain and suffering of a life term sentence for someone who has committed murder — because, we understand it was a consequence of their actions, and we reason that they deserve it as a result of what they did. So whether he lives and suffers, leading to the resurrection for himself and others, or dies and shares in the resurrection himself alone, he will be united to Christ and be an example for all. Why does God allow pain and suffering? Ever. Advice. Jesus never promised to rid the world of suffering. Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Let me offer three answers: 1) To let us see the gravity of our choices. I can give testament, however, that what seemed like endless pain at the time was really an eternal blessing. There are those who argue that we put down dogs, cats, horses, and other animals to relieve their pain. Furthermore, it is in our weakness and suffering that we grow in humility and cannot pride ourselves in our accomplishments. Mankind chose to … God allows us to participate in his suffering. Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:19-21). He gains righteousness not through his own power but through Christ’s. The presence of evil and suffering in the universe is certainly consistent with there not being an omnipotent, omniscience, and omnibenevolent god. The traditional answer is no, because God is immutable and impassible, and to suffer is to change or to be changed. To be crucified usually means death, but for Paul it means Christ living in him. My suspicion is that the best answer to this question is that your god probably doesn't exist. He is also a faculty member of the Theology and Philosophy departments of the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England. Our family doctor recommended slicing into the sores to relieve the ever-swelling facial pus-bags. Pray to God for strength to endure this cross.”. In conclusion, suffering with chronic pain is a phenomenon that has and will continue throughout the course of human history. Suffering is his way of “becoming like him (Christ) in his death” so that he “may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). How many men and women of faith have found mediators of light in those who suffer! Mom’s advice: “This is a life choice you need to make. The cliché “Time heals all wounds” had truth. Theological explanations include the concept of original sin, Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and free will. He says, “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (Philippians 1:24) Also, to die is gain because if he were to die he would share in the resurrection of Christ. [Maryanne J. Kane received her doctorate from Temple University in music education and teaches music on the elementary level. For he fashioned all things that they might have being” -Wisdom 1:13-14. Pity wouldn’t do any good. He says: “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Brian holds an M.A. Day one, I lay 12 hours on the hot, burning sand and returned to the hotel feeling sick. Learn more here. Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. Because we are being saved through the death and resurrection of Christ we must participate in his Passion to obtain salvation. Participants Book. A 20-year-old’s depth of prayer for a miracle, while self-serving and myopic, is still a testament of belief in God. Copyright © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company | 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64111 | 1-800-444-8910. 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