|Scripture Passages on Suffering|
Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope.
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon your sholders and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
My dear friends, do not be taken aback at the testing by fire which is taking place among you, as though something strange were happening to you; but in so far as you share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, so that you may enjoy a much greater gladness when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for hearing Christ's name, blessed are you, for on you, rests the Spirit of God, the Spirit of glory. None of you should ever deserve to suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer, but if any one of you should suffer for being a christian, then there must be no shame but thanksgiving to God for bearing this name. The time has come for the judgement to begin at the household of God, and if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who refuse to believe God's gospel? If it is hard for the upright to be saved, what will happen to the wicked and to sinners? So even those who God allows to suffer should commit themselves to a Creator who is trustworthy, and go on doing good.
It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His body, the Church, of which I was made a servant with the responsibility towards you that God gave to me, that of completing God's message, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his holy people.
Perseverence is part of your training; God is treating you as His sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? If you were not getting this training, as all of you are, then you would be not sons but illegitmate. Besides, we have all had our human fathers who punished us, and we respected them for it, all the more readily ought we to submit to the Father of spirits, and so earn life.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
|Volunteers of Suffering
We ought to make you a long and original speech: one that a penetrating reflection on the christian life might suggest about human pain, especially if this pain, like yours is not rejected as a useless enemy of our human life, but is strangely, heroically welcomed as a factor in the attainment of moral perfection, and as having a value of mystical significance. Since you call yourselves "Volunteers of Suffering" not only do you already know this speech, you live it. So we may dispense with speaking at length on the theme that you offer to all whom you meet, to all who help you. While it is difficult to speak of it, it is our duty to mention it. "Volunteers of Suffering" is an expression overflowing with meaning! It may be regarded as the conclusion of a long meditation, not obvious to everyone, on the positive value of christian suffering. Shall we remind you of the bond that christian suffering forges between the sufferer and the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who by the extreme suffering of His Passion "has taken away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)? Moreover, the christian, by his suffering, contributes to the mysterious completion "of what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ". (Col 1:24)
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