Updated: Jan 28, 2021
God has proved His Love to us. If only we could see it!
I have been praying very much for my dear Aunty Farida and for all the other souls enduing hardship of any kind during these most challenging of times. The Lost Souls of Purgatory come to mind, and I pray for their salvation.
I read last night the story of the lost soul of a Benedictine who appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century to petition prayers for the three-month duration of his stay. The soul revealed that he burned in endless fires and showed the saint his shrivelled tongue as evidence of his thirst without relief. Appearing again to Saint Margaret the following day, the soul lamented the duration of one single night had seemed an eternity to him where he writhed in torment – separated from God.
In reflecting on this horrifying tale of suffering and torment I had a sudden revelation, perhaps inspired by my most Beloved Holy Spirit and through no merit of my own...
We are told that God most loves those who suffer most. I have heard this many times before but I have not really ever understood it before today.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “as a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering, and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called 'concupiscence')” (Catechism 1997, n.418).
And this caused me to reflect on the purpose of suffering. It is one thing to understand why we suffer – and quite another to understand its purpose.
Why do we suffer?
We suffer because God LOVES us!
What a paradox!
We suffer because through Original Sin we are unworthy of attaining salvation. So rather than cutting us off from salvation due to our sinful nature, God allows us the HONOUR of suffering to make reparation for our sins so that we can atone for our sins and merit salvation.
Without the HONOUR of being afforded this TEMPORAL suffering – in imitation of Christ and in unity with Him through the Communion of Saints and the Forgiveness of Sins – we would be unable to ever avoid ETERNAL damnation and achieve eternal salvation.
At times, though this suffering is temporal, it can feel everlasting – like that of my sick Aunt or of the Benedictine soul lost in Purgatory for a mere three-months.
That, right there – that knowledge that this too shall pass – is evidence and proof of God’s LOVE for us.
For God so loves the world that His Beloved Son – through the mystery of the Trinity – took the BURDEN of our sins upon Himself by entering into TIME and SPACE and SUFFERED in the TEMPORAL for us now so that we would not have to suffer in the ETERNAL!
And what greater proof of God’s infinite LOVE for us could there ever be?
For with suffering, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.