Monday, June 22, 2009

The Horror... of Suffering

On Fr. Chad Ripperger, Ph.D.'s website are two audio talks on the subject of 'the Horror of Suffering'. (under #6 and #8)

My vague and unfortunate impression is that some readers will react to the title of the above thinking it will be a series on how terribly some people have suffered and how we should be horrified about it.

On the contrary, it is a truly Catholic talk, and the horror of suffering it describes is the internal defect in mankind since the fall, that makes our bodies and selves recoil in horror at the thought of suffering, and how this horror can imperil our eternal salvation and sanctity.

'The horror of suffering is a great impediment to sanctification.'

... We have over two thousand one hundred saints' quotes now on Saints' Quotes, with new additions and new saints such as St. Lawrence Justinian, St. Margaret of Cortona, and St. Gregory the Wonderworker.

I intend to, shortly, to publish an appeal for aid for the translation of saints' quotations to other languages. Have you ever considered how many languages people do not have many works of the saints' translated into? And how great a catechesis this could be? In fact the catechesis par excellence?

There is a great need for this to be done, and through donations and volunteer work it can be done. The rewards outstrip by far what comparatively small effort must be done.

So, even before the main appeal is published, consider if you are of a capacity to help.

The Saints' Prayers website will be receiving a major update soon, and its 'under construction' notification will disappear not long after that.

Returning to the 'horror of suffering', we are very much an effeminate society in which any suffering or natural evil, is seen as a moral evil. But all Christians have to embrace the cross. So we see already the direct conflict between the world and Christianity. And how easily this conflict can be one where the victory is the world, the flesh, and the devil, because all three will inspire us with a horror of suffering, and justify it with many arguments.

But Christ has told us that we must bear our cross. In fact we must embrace it. So we must pray to overcome the horror of suffering and instead have a thirst to bear these pains, knowing the great rewards that come from it, and the great necessity of it for the salvation of our own soul.

But how can one suffer properly? In such a way that it does not disorder one's interior life rather than improve it?

There are ways to approach suffering which are good and ones which are not. . .

So introspection and prayer, and taking on of suffering for the sake of God purely are the starting points for a proper approach to suffering.

The saints prefer suffering to pleasure. When our wills are too turned this way, then we can be the more hopeful of our home in Heaven.

As long as they are not we should tremble. . . how unlike Christ we are.

'It was my desire to be silent, and not to make a public display of the rustic rudeness of my tongue. For silence is a matter of great consequence when one's speech is mean. And to refrain from utterance is indeed an admirable thing, where there is lack of training; and verily he is the highest philosopher who knows how to cover his ignorance by abstinence from public address.'

St Gregory the Wonderworker

'Ask of God much suffering; in giving it to you, He will do you a great favor, for in this single gift are countless blessings.'

St. Ignatius of Loyola

'Whether we will or no, we must suffer. There are some who suffer like the good thief, and others like the bad thief.'

'The saints suffered everything with joy, patience, and perseverance, because they loved. As for us, we suffer with anger, vexation, and weariness, because we do not love. If we loved God, we should love crosses, we should wish for them, we should take pleasure in them. . . We should be happy to be able to suffer for the love of Him who lovingly suffered for us.'

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

'Brother, I am most grateful for the kindness you wished to do me. I appreciate it very highly; but, if God has given me the great sufferings I am enduring, why wish to soothe and lessen them by music? For the love of Our Lord, thank those gentlemen for the kindness they had wished to do me: I look upon it as having been done. Pay them, and send them away, for I wish to endure without any relief the gracious gifts which God sends me in order that, thanks to them, I may the better merit.'

St. John of the Cross

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