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“MY YOKE IS SWEET AND MY BURDEN LIGHT” – HAPPINESS AND PAIN

God meant us to enjoy happiness even in this world, though it could not be the happiness which excludes all pain and suffering. Such complete happiness is reserved for the next life, when we are participating in the infinite happiness of God in heaven. As long as we are living in this world pain and suffering are inevitable, because of the fall of man and the general corruption of human nature that followed upon it. Nothing that men can devise will ever change that fact or bring us to an earthly garden of Eden. This has been attested in every stage of the world’s history and never more clearly than in these latter days of widespread misery, chaos and unrest.

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily (Lk 9:23)

So it was that when Christ Our Lord came on this earth to redeem us and to show us by His own example how we must live if we wish to have happiness both now and hereafter, He said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily,” and St Luke (9:23) prefaced the words, “He said to all.” It was to help and encourage us that He Himself took up His own Cross, an infinitely heavier one than any of us will be called upon to bear, so that because of His bitter Passion and Death He is known as “The Man of Sorrows”. But it would be a mistake to lay an undue or exclusive meaning on that title. Our Blessed Lord was in truth the happiest man that has ever lived on this earth: His human soul was the recipient of the greatest natural joys in His association with His Blessed Mother, with St Joseph His foster-father, with His relations and close friends. He found delight, too, in the world in which He lived, the beauties of nature, the hills, the fields, the flowers, in running water. Nothing of beauty escaped His sensitive gaze. He could find joy in the humble work of a carpenter, in all the trivial happenings of a peaceful home, in the simplicity of village life. Though He knew well the sufferings that were to befall Him, that terrible vision did not darken His life and leave Him ever fearful and depressed. For He had within His human soul the root of happiness – a complete union with His Father in heaven. His every activity in living wholly for God and in giving over His entire human will to the will of God ensured His happiness, a happiness that was not disturbed even when He hung on His Cross and suffered a death of the utmost anguish and pain.

The root of happiness

He wants us, too, to be happy even in this world but He knows that such limited happiness as this affords can only be attained by bearing our own cross and in facing courageously, in patience and without complaint, the ever-recurring trials of life. It is not enough to look upon Him crucified for us, but if His merits are to be productive of good in us we must shoulder our own crosses and find our happiness here below in so following Him.

Are happiness and pain really incompatible?

To many people it seems impossible that there can be happiness where there is pain. But a little reflection will show them their mistake. A mother will find happiness in suffering pain for the safety or life of her child. A brave soldier will be happy even when he is enduring hardships, privations, and perils to help his country’s cause. Many a man will undertake arduous work that puts a strain on his courage and is a cause of much present comfort, while at the same time he enjoys an inner happiness in the consciousness that he is attaining some great purpose. Again, to one who has been converted from a life of sin there is happiness in the thought that by bearing his sufferings, whether mental or physical, he is making reparation for the past [see also: Col.1:24] and gaining ever added merit [see also: Mt6:20]. Innocent and more spiritual souls, in whom there has been no serious sin in their lives, such as was the childlike Saint of Lisieux, will have joy in the knowledge that they become co-victims with Christ in the redemption of the world and in bringing others to God.

Lives of undisturbed calm

Pain is not in itself a good and is not something for itself naturally desirable, but in the inherited corruption of our human nature it can be recognised as a means of correction that redresses evil; and when so recognised adds to, rather than detracts from, that happiness that God would have us enjoy in this world. This is the explanation of the consolation and joy that the saints experienced even when subjected to multiplied suffering. A marked feature of their lives was their undisturbed calm and equanimity under the most distressing and painful earthly conditions. They forgot themselves in their love for God, and in so forgetting themselves they found the truth of His words – paradoxical as they may sound – “My yoke is sweet and my burden light.”

How to make one’s own hell for oneself

On the other hand, they who separate themselves from God and seek their happiness exclusively in this world, either in intellectual pursuits or, as is most commonly the case, in ministering to their passions and the demands of their lower nature, are sooner or later disillusioned and disappointed. Suffering and pain for them assume undue and exaggerated proportions. Their love of self brings its own nemesis and fills their lives with afflictions of soul they need never have known. They make their own hell, for the final result of living for self, when persisted in to the end, is the eternal loss of the One Supreme Good who alone can give us true happiness here and complete happiness hereafter.

My meat is to do the will of my Father (Jn 4:34)

Let us not forget, what has already been said, that the secret of happiness is what Our Blessed Lord by His own life and teaching disclosed to us. We must give ourselves entirely to God without reserve, even as He in His human nature gave Himself to His Father. “My meat” (that is, the very nourishment of His soul) “is to do the will of my Father” were His words (Jn 4:34).

Is it possible to bargain with God?

Even some substantially good Catholics make the mistake of thinking that they can make a sort of Concordat with God, conceding to Him the fulfilment of certain essential religious duties, such as hearing Mass and frequenting the Sacraments, but God in return is to secure their salvation, while they keep certain reserves for themselves, some inordinate attachments to persons and things in which God does not enter, attachments which, though not necessarily sinful, create a barrier between their Maker and themselves. Their religion thus becomes a wretched compromise, and as such precludes that happiness which a whole-hearyed acceptance of God’s rights over them would ensure

Complete surrender, complete union

Such persons fail to see that religion must enter into every single part of their lives, that it must be a duty to God not at certain times only of the day or the week but one that is interwoven with everything they think, say, or do at all times and at every moment of their lives. If they would know joy and happiness under every variable condition, whether of pleasure or of pain, God must be realised as the One Supreme Good whom with all the intensity of their intelligence and with all the energy of their will they embrace as wholly lovable and desirable to the exclusion of everyone and everything that threaten their complete union with Him.

“Not only for canonised saints”

Let it not be thought that only those who reach to the heroism of canonised saints can fashion their lives to this pattern. It is within the power of every fervent Catholic to do so. What holds back most is their inordinate fear of pain, their unwillingness to accept the Cross, their constant but futile endeavour to escape suffering whenever it rears its head. But of this they may be assured, that by earnest prayer and by the right use of the Sacraments, the grace of God, once their hearts are fully given to Him, will so transform them that they will realise and understand in their own lives the truth of the words in the Imitation:

Love is a great thing, yea in all ways a great good; for it alone maketh light all that is heavy and beareth with even mind every uneven fortune; for it carryeth a burden while counting it no burden, and maketh sweet and of good savour every bitter thing.

It is this love of God which, entwined with the Cross, gives a true conception of what religion means, and will enable all of us of goodwill, in spite of so much that is distressing and difficult in the world to-day, to possess even now happiness in our lives, while, still exiles on this earth, we look forward to the lasting union with Him “who will give us life without end in our fatherland” in Heaven.

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, S.J., The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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MAKE THE LIFE OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY TODAY!

“My Children! I am calling you to apostolic privilege…”

THE PRAYER OF THE LIFE OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY:

“My dear Jesus, before the Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most precious Holy Blood and Your sacrifice on Calvary, hereby I offer my whole life to the intention of Your Holy Heart and to the Holy Heart of Mary.
Together with my life I place at Your disposal all the Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the sufferings of my entire life for the adoration and supplication of the Holy Trinity, for unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and the priests, for good priestly vocations, and for all the souls until the end of the world.
O my Jesus, please accept my life sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death. Amen.”

This life offering must be done with humble heart, firm resolution, and clear intent. All prayer, good deeds, suffering, and work done with pure intention has great merit, if it is offered together with the merits, the sufferings, and the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is recommended to do this life offering as soon as you feel ready, and renew it from time to time.

THE FIVE PROMISES OF OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER TO THOSE WHO OFFER THEIR LIVES TO HER:

1. Their names will be written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, inflamed by love.

2. Their life offerings, together with the infinite merits of Jesus, can save many souls from damnation. All souls who will live until the end of the world will benefit from their life offerings.

3. None of their family members will go to hell, even if it seems otherwise, because they will receive in the depths of their souls the graces of sincere contrition before the soul departs from their bodies.

4. On the day they offer their lives, their loved ones suffering in Purgatory will be released.

5. I will be with them in the hour of their deaths. They will not know Purgatory. I will carry their souls straight to the presence of the Glorious Trinity, where they will live with me in a special place created by God and will rejoice forever.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LIFE OFFERING:

Our Lady illustrates symbolically what her Holy Son is asking from us: Let us give our hearts completely to our heavenly Mother who will place them into the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist, into the centre of unity of love. Thus, through our total abandonment, we will be united with the sacrifice of Jesus, and in this way His work of redemption will be perpetually continued for our souls and for the glory of God.

The messages, prayers, and promises published in this Blog post were received by a privileged Hungarian nun, a consoling soul, who in her humility and obedience to her spiritual director wishes to remain anonymous. Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion daily, or at least weekly, to offer their lives to the glory of God and to save souls, that the souls of sinners may not be damned but receive, at least in their last hour, the graces of eternal life.

WHAT TO DO NEXT:

OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER SPEAKS: “My children who offer your lives, make the act of contrition every day! Make it not only for yourselves but for all men. This will continually weaken the power of evil to tempt and will help all souls to free themselves from the slavery of sin. If you continually practise contrition for others, this will act as an antiseptic to arrest the spread of the “virus” of sin. It will stop the infection, illness and death of souls. See how great the force is in a deep contrition if it comes from the depths of the heart? It can heal, cleanse and save the life of the soul.
In addition to contrition for the whole humanity, unite yourself with my Immaculate Heart to petition with prayer, reaching to heaven, for the pardon of sins. Thus you will become united with me and become genuine and intimate helpers of Jesus as fishers of men.”

PRAYER OF CONTRITION:

“O my Jesus, I love You over and above everything!
For the love of You I am sorry for all my sins.
O merciful love, I ask pardon for all my sins and for all the sins of my brothers and sisters that have been and will be committed until the end of the world. My dear Jesus, united with Your Holy Wounds I offer my life to the Eternal Father according to the intention of the Sorrowful Mother.
Virgin Mary, Queen of the world, Mediatrix of humanity, our only refuge and hope, pray for us!”

OUR LADY’S MESSAGES TO THOSE WHO OFFER THEIR LIVES:

If the Eternal Father chooses a soul to the grace of being among the elect, He will order that soul to become similar to His Only begotten Son while on earth, but in what way should this soul be like His Son?

In love and acceptance of sufferings.

If you follow your Jesus in these two ways then the Eternal Father will recognise His Holy Son in you.

The souls chosen by the Eternal Father to offer their lives, must strive to save as many other souls as possible. This can be done through fervent prayer, through the practising of love, through meekness, humility and self denial, but above all through the patient acceptance of sufferings.
I believe that my motherly Heart will find among my children souls who love God with the love of the martyrs. “My children, even in the time of the greatest trials, hold my motherly hand with unbounded trust. Come together with me to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is your strength in your earthly pilgrimage. Thus, strengthened by Him daily, you will march toward your eternal dwelling place of happiness where you will recognise each other in glorious ecstasy, you who sacrificed your lives for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Then my Holy Son will embrace you to His flaming Heart, and He will immerse you in the ectasy of the united love of the Trinity. In this state of eternal bliss you will rejoice forever together with those souls who were able to gain eternal life because of your selfless life sacrifice.”
“My children! Hope and love, because God is with you. My children, each offered life is pleasing to God. Therefore do not limit your sacrifice. This should be your life slogan: Give more and love better!”
The design of my Holy Son included the deeds of the elect. He is eagerly waiting to see if they fulfil His plan or cross it. He could realise His plan without them, but in His merciful goodness He wants them to participate in the distribution of the fruits of redemption throughout the world. Do you know why I am telling all this? Because I watch with great anguish the fight of the souls in the Church. It is very painful for my motherly Heart that there are many among even the elect who do not believe that God can do not believe that God can do whatever He wants! Unfortunately, they are using their knowledge not to increase faith and unity, but to encourage disbelief. You, however – my life offering children – you should believe with a living faith. You should strive to increase in your hearts the flame of faith, because when faith becomes stronger it will increase your hope and love too.

THE BENEFITS AND GRACE OF THE SUFFERINGS IN OUR LIVES

Once you surrender yourself to great sufferings of either body or soul, the experience can be a fountain of immeasurable grace. You can pay for the sins of your life, or for the things you have failed to do. Or if this has already been paid, then the merit of your patient sufferings can be applied to the conversion of hardened sinners. By that you can glorify God. The souls you save by your obedient acceptance of sufferings may even become saints.
When the weight of sufferings lies heavily on you, whether illness or suffering in the soul, think always that you are just a pilgrim on this earth. Beyond the grave there is a wonderful world that was prepared by God for His faithful children, where your happiness will be greater than that which your patient and obedient sufferings can possibly merit. As it is written: your soul will forever be immersed in such happiness that “eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those that love Him” (1 Cor 2:9).
No matter how heavy your suffering on earth, it will last but a short time. Rejoice while you suffer, because you are proceeding toward a sure goal, and at the end of this road your Heavenly Mother is waiting for you to embrace you with the eternal love of the Trinity.

“My children! I am calling you to apostolic privilege. You are chosen to suffer martyrdom of the heart for the sins of others. And by this voluntary life sacrifice coming from your good heart – God will be able to pour out the flood of His mercy. Think about that!”

“My dear children! You should burn with fervour to help save those who suffer in the slavery of sin. In life, captivity often results in freedom and uplifting of the soul.
But most prisoners of sin are more pitiable than those in real prison because they are not aware that they are imprisoned by their depravity, and thus they do not even ask for freedom. The blindness of the soul, with its darkness, is more pitiable than anyone in a dark prison.
I would like to free these souls. Since they do not want to be set free in order that I may save them, I need the help of my faithful children and their life offering, the patient acceptance of sufferings, trials, that, combined with the treasures of my Holy Son, will enable me to save not only your loved ones but a multitude of souls from everlasting darkness, even those who will be born later, until the end of the world.”

“My children! Give everything to me and I will give everything to my Holy Son united with my interceding prayers. I am the woman who sets the slaves free.”

THE RELEVANCE OF THE LIFE OFFERING IN HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES, FOR THOSE SUFFERING IN THE COMMUNITY IN BODY OR SOUL:

“My children! Make sure that the great grace of the life offering will reach the souls who suffer greatly in body or in soul. It must reach the incurably sick, the physically handicapped, and the bedridden so that their suffering will not be in vain! This suffering can become a fund of gold for all humanity as well for yourselves, because in your hearts and souls you will receive peace, strength, relief, and satisfaction if you realise that patient acceptance of your sufferings will bring you great happiness in heaven!”

THE SEER: “I have obeyed this request of Our Lady and I communicated this request to sufferers. I can say from my own experience that their suffering was greatly lessened when they accepted the graces that accompanied the life offering. I visited the critically ill in hospitals, especially those who were neglected or ignored by their relatives and those who had no one. I saw the greatest suffering among cancer victims and others too sick even to get out of bed. Most of them knew there would be no cure for them, and they found their life and their suffering meaningless, believing no one needed them anymore.

But when they learned that they are the most precious children of Our Blessed Virgin Mother; that the Lord Jesus searches for companions, that Jesus calls them to unite their sufferings with His passion and sacrifice on the Cross as a continuation of His redemptive work; that they are the treasures of the Church; that by their suffering they can contribute to world peace; that by their sufferings they can pay for their sins and those of others; and that at their hour of death they will go straight to heaven without Purgatory: then the knowledge of this grace started to work in them immediately.
They started to cry for joy, because God and the Virgin Mary loved them so. Some had thought God was angry with them and was punishing them with sufferings, and there were atheists who wanted to commit suicide. But when they learned how great the grace is in the life offering, that a creature cannot give more to his or her Creator, they underwent a tremendous change. Their dispositions became so much better that even the nurses noticed it. They become hidden souls of the Lord and they persevered until the end on their live offerings. Some were cured, others departed quietly.

Every night I pray together with my good Heavenly Mother that this message will reach more and more suffering souls with the tremendous grace of the life offering that could mitigate their suffering and bring the strength, peace, and acceptance to bear their suffering on earth in the hope of everlasting happiness in heaven. Our Heavenly Mother prays for those, too, who have already received the grace of the life offering, that with a living faith they will persevere in it until death.”

 

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“NO MAN’S CROSS IS LAID UPON HIM FOR HIMSELF ALONE, BUT FOR THE HEALING OF THE WHOLE WORLD”

“Look at this cross, so much bigger than the man whose body will be stretched to fit it. So much higher than the height of the man who will be lifted up above the earth on it and who, being lifted up, will draw all peoples to himself. Christ receives it with joy because he knows that this is the dead weight that must have crushed humankind had he not lifted it from their backs. This is the dead wood which at his touch is transformed to a living tree. At his touch, the hewn tree takes root again, and the roots thrust down into the earth, and the tree breaks into flower…

THE TREE BREAKS INTO FLOWER

Because Christ is to be stretched to the size of the cross, those who love him will grow to the size of it, not only to the size of man’s suffering, which is bigger than man, but to the size of Christ’s love that is bigger than all suffering. Because Christ is to be lifted up on the cross, all those who love him will be lifted up above the world by the world’s sorrow. He, being lifted up, will draw all men to himself.

CHRIST CHANGED SUFFERING TO REDEMPTION

Because Christ has changed death to life, and suffering to redemption, the suffering of those who love him will be a communion between them. All that hidden daily suffering that seems insignificant will be redeeming the world, it will be healing the wounds of the world. The acceptance of pain, of old age, of the fear of death, and of death will be our gift of Christ’s love to one another; our gift of Christ’s life to one another.

JOY AND SUPERNATURAL LIFE

No man’s cross is laid upon him for himself alone, but for the healing of the whole world, for the mutual comforting and sweetening of sorrow, for the giving of joy and supernatural life to one another. For Christ receives our cross that we may receive his. Receiving his cross, the cross of the whole world made his, we receive him. He gives us his hands to take hold of, his power to make it a redeeming thing, a blessed thing, his life to cause it to flower, his heart to enable us to rejoice in accepting our own and one another’s burdens.”
– Caryll Houselander

 

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“SENSE AND NONSENSE ON ‘ASSISTED DYING'”

“Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales
Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship

SENSE AND NONSENSE ON ‘ASSISTED DYING’

‘Assisted dying’ is often in the news. There is a Private Member’s bill before Parliament to try to legalise it. But just what is ‘assisted dying’? What does the law say about it? What do doctors have to say about it? What does the Church say about it and what are the problems with it?

WHAT EXACTLY IS ‘ASSISTED DYING’?

‘Assisted dying’ really means assisting someone to commit suicide. It is the language used by those who want to change the law to legalise assisted suicide. A law permitting ‘assisted dying’ would licence doctors to supply lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.

SHOULDN’T EVERYONE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHEN AND HOW THEY DIE?

An ‘assisted dying’ law could easily put vulnerable people at risk. There are real concerns that there is scope for such a law to be abused. For example, some terminally ill people might feel under pressure to end their lives, either from others or from feeling that they should remove a care or financial burden from their families. Others might wish to do so as a result of depression, a common feature of terminal illness. A ‘right to die’ could become a ‘duty to die’.

WHY SHOULD DYING PEOPLE BE FORCED TO STAY ALIVE AND SUFFER?

End-of-life care in Britain has advanced hugely since the days when death was commonly associated with pain and suffering. An international survey by ‘The Economist’ in 2010 ranked Britain top among 40 nations, including the United States, for quality of end-of-life care. What is needed is to ensure that everyone has access to the best palliative care available. In contrast, assisted suicide is a counsel of despair.

WHAT’S THE LAW ON THIS NOW?

It’s against the law to encourage or assist another person’s suicide. This reflects a widely-held view that, while people who attempt suicide should be treated with compassion, helping someone to commit suicide is not something that should be encouraged. Indeed, as a society we go to great lengths to prevent suicides.

WHAT DOES THE CHURCH SAY ABOUT ASSISTING SUICIDE?

In a message addressed to Catholics in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, Pope Francis said, ‘Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live for ever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect’. The Church supports high quality care for the dying and protection for the weak and vulnerable. The Church teaches that life is a gift from God (John 10:10) and that suicide is the ultimate inability to accept the gift of life. Although attempting suicide should be treated with compassion rather than with blame, suicide should never be encouraged or promoted. Moreover the Church teaches that deliberately ending or helping to end someone else’s life, even if that person may have requested it, is wrong. Those who take someone else’s life take to themselves the power of life and death, which ultimately belongs to God.

WHAT DOES THE MEDICAL PROFESSION HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT?

The BMA and the Royal Colleges of Physicians, General Practitioners and Surgeons are opposed to legalising physician-assisted suicide. And most doctors regard it as a proper part of clinical practice – they are all too well aware from experience that dying patients can be vulnerable.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHANGING THE LAW?

There are powerful practical reasons why the law shouldn’t be changed. It’s almost impossible to be sure that a request for assisted suicide from someone who is terminally ill reflects a clear and settled wish that has not been influenced by depression or pressure of one sort or another. Changing the law might give a very small number of strong-minded people what they want but it could easily put much larger numbers of vulnerable people at risk of harm.

WOULDN’T THERE BE SAFEGUARDS IN ANY LEGALISED SYSTEM?

Yes, but what safeguards and how effective would they be? In the tiny number of other countries where assisted suicide has been legalised there is emerging evidence that the safeguards don’t work. For instance, some laws seek to restrict access suicide to terminally ill people who are in full possession of all their faculties and are acting freely. But prognosis of terminal illness is fraught with difficulty: terminally ill people often live for much longer than the predictions they are given when they are diagnosed – occasionally, they even recover. And the evidence from overseas shows that doctors have sometimes failed to spot clinical depression among those who have been supplied with lethal drugs to end their lives.

IF I CAN END MY LIFE BY REFUSING TREATMENT, WHY CAN’T I HAVE MEDICAL HELP TO END IT?

Everyone has the legal right to refuse treatment, but patients who refuse treatment rarely do so in order to end their lives: they do it because they are finding the treatment burdensome and they want to let nature take its course. There’s a world of a difference, in medical ethics and in law, between accepting that death can’t be prevented and seeking assistance to end your own life.

DON’T DOCTORS SOMETIMES HASTEN PATIENTS’ DEATHS UNDER THE GUISE OF PAIN RELIEF?

These days pain relief is a sophisticated science. When analgesics are properly prescribed and administered, there is no risk to the patient’s life. Research has shown that in Britain illegal action of this kind by doctors is rare or non-existent.

BRITISH PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SWITZERLAND TO GET HELP WITH SUICIDE. WHY SHOULD THEY NOT BE ABLE TO GET THAT HELP HERE?

Though every ‘Swiss suicide’ makes headlines, only around 1 in 25,000 deaths of Britons in the last 10 years has taken this form. The fact that a very small number of British people choose to seek assisted suicide in another country doesn’t mean we should legalise the practice here. We make our own laws, and the legal protection of the weak and vulnerable is a fundamental duty of the state and of society.

For a PDF of this note, or to find out more about the moral, ethical and practical dangers of legislation go to: http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/assisted-suicide-information
– The above was copied from a flyer distributed in a London parish, dated February 2014.

 

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PRAISE THE LORD! – IF GOD DOES “SEND” SUFFERING, IT IS MORE LIKELY TO BE TO A SAINT THAN TO A SINNER, BECAUSE THE SAINT IS BETTER “QUALIFIED”

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Mat 1:38).

“THE POWER OF PAIN

Pain is one of our great supernatural resources. That statement is out of line with our usual pattern of thought. We are accustomed to viewing pain as an unmitigated evil. For some persons, the existence of pain even is a source of temptation against their religious faith. ‘If God is good,’ they ask, ‘why does He permit suffering, particularly so much innocent suffering?’

‘IF GOD IS GOOD,’ THEY ASK, ‘WHY DOES HE PERMIT SUFFERING?’

Thoughtful people realise that we could not have the world we do have, without suffering. A great amount of suffering is caused by man’s own inhumanity to man. To prevent this, God would have to make man a puppet, with God pulling the strings on each man’s actions. Being no longer free, man would cease to be human.

FREE WILL AND CREATION AS WE KNOW IT

Similarly, to eliminate all pain caused by nature, God would have had a different kind of world. Fire burns. Coal tars initiate cancer. Gravity crushes. Electricity kills. The world could not be our world, as we know it, without pain.

Still, after all possible explanations of pain have been made, there does remain a large element of mystery in this question of suffering. For example, why deadly microbes, why poisonous reptiles?

THERE DOES REMAIN A MYSTERY

It helps a little to remember that God’s plan for the universe encompasses billions of years. Our own world with its pain is but one pinpoint in that vast plan and only one moment in those uncounted eons. How the phenomenon of pain may eventually contribute to God’s over-all design, we must await to discover.

‘GREATER LOVE THAN THIS NO MAN HAS, THAT ONE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS’

The really important truth about pain, for the Christian, is the fact that it does have a meaning in the here and now. In Eden God gave to suffering its value as an atonement for sin. On Calvary Jesus Christ gave to suffering its ultimate nobility as He expressed, in the language of pain, God’s infinite love for man. ‘Greater love than this no man has, that one lay down his life for his friends.’

SHARING THE SUBLIME FRUIT OF SUFFERING

Jesus did not hoard to Himself this sublime fruit of suffering, this ability to make one’s pain count for others. In His scheme of salvation, our Lord has chosen to share with us His redemptive work. Each of us who has been baptised in Christ has the privilege of helping Him to carry His cross. Each of us has the power to atone by our sufferings for the sins of others and to crack the locks on hearts that have been closed to God’s grace.

‘WHO NOW REJOICE IN MY SUFFERINGS FOR YOU, AND FILL UP THAT WHICH IS LACKING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST IN MY FLESH FOR HIS BODY’S SAKE, WHICH IS THE CHURCH’ (Colossians 1:24)

Whatever pain may be our lot, in honesty we must admit, ‘I deserve this for my sins.’ Only an innocent child can truthfully say, ‘I do not deserve to suffer.’ If God’s justice were not tempered with mercy and if we had to pay the full price of our infidelities, we should be living our whole lives in pain.

However, when suffering does come to us, it would be a mistake to conclude, ‘I am being punished for my sins.’ God is not a vindictive God. He may permit us to suffer for our spiritual good and to better assure our eternal happiness, but He does not send suffering to ‘get even’ with us for our offences against Him.

MOST SUFFERING IS THE INEVITABLE RESULT OF LIVING IN THE KIND OF WORLD THAT IS OURS

In fact, it probably is quite rarely that God positively ‘sends’ suffering to anyone. Most suffering, such as disease or accident, is simply the result of natural causes; or, it is the result of the evil will of fellow humans. Most suffering, in other words, is the inevitable result of living in the kind of a world that is ours.

If God does ‘send’ suffering, it is more likely to be to a saint than to a sinner. The saint is better qualified to use suffering unselfishly for the salvation of others.

‘I OFFER THIS CROSS, BELOVED JESUS, IN UNION WITH YOURS’

Suffering comes in all styles and sizes. It may be a simple headache, a slight cold or a minor disappointment. It may be the excruciating agony of cancer or of acute arthritis, or the mental distress of deep despondency or loneliness.

Whatever our particular pain may be, it will be a tragic waste if we refuse or forget to say, ‘I offer this cross, beloved Jesus, in union with Yours. I offer it for my own sins and especially in atonement for the sins of others. Let my suffering bring another soul to You!'”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966 (text within the inverted commas; capital headings added afterwards).

(see also Mt 5:2-12)

 

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“I AM A LAWYER AND I CAN TESTIFY THE EFFICACY OF THE ROSARY”

“The devotion of the THREE HAIL MARYS is a very simple yet most efficacious devotion. Everyday, recite Three Hail Marys, adding the invocation: ‘O Mary, my Mother, keep me from mortal sin.’ Many people recite the Three Hail Marys as part of their morning and night prayers. To practise this devotion in time of danger, stress, special need or temptation, it is a sure means to obtain Our Lady’s help.

• Thank you for curing me from a sickness through my devotion to the 3 Hail Marys. (M.P., Goa)

• I am grateful to Our Lady for granting my requests through the faithful devotion to the 3 Hail Marys. (T., Chennai)

MARY WAS THERE

• My mother was hospitalised for a month and 13 days. For 22 of those days she was in ICU and the doctors had given up on her. We could not take her home as we could not arrange for a nurse to help her with tube feeding. She eventually came around and we could bring her home. She is now eating normally through her mouth and is fine. I prayed the 3 Hail Marys before leaving for the hospital. I am most grateful. Thank you, dear Jesus and Mother Mary and continue to shower on us your blessings. Keep my mother under your protection. (C.C., Goa)

• My sincere and heartfelt thanks for the many blessings and favours received through faithfully praying the 3 Hail Marys. Specially healing my baby niece who was hospitalised for dengue. Her blood count had gone down and kept fluctuating. We were all worried for our one-year-old baby. As always, I trusted in the 3 Hail Marys and once again it worked for me. I thank you dear Mother Mary for getting my niece out of the ICU and then from the hospital. (V.D., Mumbai)

• Many thanks to Mother Mary, Help of Christians for helping my brother and curing him of his throat problem and for the other favours received. Thanks for curing my brother of a minor surgery he had to undergo. (Mrs B.C., Mumbai)

• I am 78 years and I can testify to the efficacy of the Rosary. I recited the 15 mysteries when I was in distress and immediately my pain and discomfort ceased. Being a lawyer I can admit that the Rosary has produced inexplicable results by reinforcing my stand on various issues very successfully. I am deeply indebted to our dear Mother and her intercession. (A.G. D’M., Mumbai)

• I am grateful to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother for saving my house and for getting a gas leak at my house attended to, in time and at no cost. (M.W.D., Pune)
– This article was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue June 2013, Vol. 15, No. 02. For subscriptions or to assist Seminarians please visit http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link) or http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link).

 
 

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“DELIVER THOSE MADE CAPTIVE BY THE CULTURE OF DEATH” – BIDDING PRAYERS

“DELIVER THOSE MADE CAPTIVE BY THE CULTURE OF DEATH” – BIDDING PRAYERS:

God is kind and merciful. Let us pray for help in all our needs.

R. Heal your people, Lord.

Our Lord Jesus went down into the pit of suffering on behalf of sinful humanity:
– deliver all those who are weighed down by the burden of their pain. (R.)

Our Lord Jesus went down into the pit of degradation on behalf of those who abused him:
– deliver all those trapped in the circle of domestic violence. (R.)

Our Lord Jesus went down into the pit of death on behalf of those who dwell in the shadow of death:
– deliver all those made captive by the culture of death. (R.)

Our Lord Jesus went down into the tomb on behalf of the whole human race:
– deliver from death all those who have died. (R.)

(Personal intentions)

Our Father…

May we be freed from slavery to decadence, and enjoy the freedom and glory of the children of God. Amen. (cf. Rm 8:21)

 
 

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