One of the greatest apostles of suffering in our time is mother, teresa and, of course, i’m sure, you’re familiar with her ministry and her story and her vocation. But i think one of the things that fascinates me about mother teresa is how she witnessed the suffering of the poor in calcutta and she desired not just to minister to their needs and help them, but to truly enter into the suffering of the poor in the Constitutions of the order talks about how the ministry of the sisters is to the poorest of the poor and it offers a definition of who’s included in the poorest of the poor. Those who’ve been rejected, those who have been abandoned, those who have lost their family members, those who are addicted to substances, those who are about to die it lists a long group of people at the very end of the list is, and every sister who is part Of this community to me, those words are very inspiring because for mother teresa it’s, not just about taking care of people who are hurting but it’s actually entering into their hurt entering into the venue of suffering and taking suffering upon oneself. This is not an easy thing to understand when we suffer when terrible things happen to us when our friends die or when we get sick or bad things happen, it’s so easy for us to sort of look at god in prayer and say why why, if you’re, All good and you’re all powerful and you can do anything.
Why did you let this terrible thing happen? Lord? Why not take away my suffering? Why not take away the suffering of my family member? Why not just fix the problem? You could do it. Why do you let us suffer it’s, a very difficult question, and yet god doesn’t give us philosophical answers to that question. Instead he becomes one of us. He takes our sins upon himself. He takes our sufferings upon himself and he suffers for us on the cross. We might think well, that’s, not really the answer i was looking for lord. I i really wanted an answer to the question i was asking. I was asking you about the origin of my suffering. I don’t feel like. I deserve it and and yet i’m experiencing it. Why is this the case? Aren’T you all powerful can’t, you take it away and he doesn’t answer that right. He doesn’t answer the question that job asks. He doesn’t answer the question that we asks instead of answering the question he enters our suffering. He doesn’t ignore our suffering, but he also doesn’t supply us with some sort of easy explanation. He just becomes one of us and in the process he saves us from what saint john paul ii refers to as the definitive suffering the loss of eternal life, so jesus by taking our sins upon himself and suffering for our sake and dying on the cross saves Us from the worst possible suffering imaginable the loss of eternal life and when we think about it, when we pray and meditate upon the mystery of good friday on the mystery of jesus passion, which means his suffering and his death.
What are we doing? We’Re trying to understand and come to grips with, god’s love for us we’re, trying to understand what he’s trying to tell us by offering his son as a sacrifice for our sins, but we’re also trying to understand how to experience suffering ourselves. The pain that we feel on our own lives and our own hearts is not something that god forgets about or ignores, or sweeps under the rug but it’s something that he actually invites us to unite to the sufferings of jesus. So we truly can become sharers right in jesus suffering, so we can share in his cross so that we can participate in his suffering and so by participating in his suffering. We actually participate in the redemption of the world. Saint paul teaches us about this. In colossians, chapter 1, verse 24, where he says now. I rejoice in my sufferings. For your sake and in my flesh i am filling up what is lacking in christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the church.