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Monday, November 18, 2013

Suffering Part II - Comfort for Gracious Victims

By St. Paul the Apostle
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Suffering Part III – Boast, do not Curse Weaknesses

Yesterday in part I on suffering, St. John of the Cross and today in part II, the Apostle Paul have given us a snapshot of the purpose of it all.  But were these guys armchair quarterbacks?  Did they pastor from the comfort of a church rectory like many do today?  Did they have a nice horse, chariot, housekeeper and three meals a day while the rest of the Christians suffered throughout Israel, Greece, Spain and Italy? No!  In reality, St. John of the Cross had been captured by his fellow priests, thrown into a third floor broom closet for nine months, tortured and whipped thrice weekly in an effort for him to give up his “unusually” humble Christ-like poverty-driven spirituality.  Uniquely, both men suffered more than most Christians of their day.  They were experts on the subject.  Paul writes about his own extreme problems in the same chapter as above, also making his life coaching on suffering more meaningful to us all.

“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”  2 Corinthians 2: 23-30.
Twitter: GaryJoseph@Help_4Homeless
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