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The Cross of Christ and The Meaning of Suffering

One of the most frequent questions people have in times of difficulty in their lives deals with suffering. The question is: “Why is there suffering? Why do good people suffer? If God loves me why does He allow my loved one to suffer?” The simple answer is that God does not give us suffering but, allows it if it accomplishes a better good. And, what could possibly be a better good than to experience good health? The answer is clear when one considers the greatest value of an individual’s life. It is not one’s physical body but one’s soul.

What do most of us do when we fear being helpless? And, what is the most common response when we fear physical disability, mental disability, or death? Where do we go when the condition of our lives or our bodies are not within are control? Is it not then that we acknowledge our own limitations and weakness, and realize that we need God?

So it is that as we experience pain or suffering that we turn away from ourselves and look to God, seek a closer relationship with God, and turn to God for His help. It is at this time when we recognize our vulnerability that we realize that we are nothing without God, and that without God we have no life – physical or spiritual. We realize that the things we valued in our lives: money, title, power, and occupation mean nothing when we are facing the possibility of death. And, this death can be mortal death of the body or spiritual death of the soul.

So what good is accomplished when we turn to God in our suffering? As we spend more time seeking God, praying for his help, and listening to His voice within us, we slowly improve our relationship with Him. Our act of going to God in our time of desperation is in essence our response to His call to us. Our heart becomes open to the voice of God that had been calling us since our baptism when we were first united to Him. With each moment we spend in conversation with God we come to know Him better. And, as we begin to know God better we also gain a better understanding of ourselves. We begin to see our own soul as God sees it. And, we have a greater desire to spend even more time in prayer to God. With each encounter with God we come to know Him more and love Him more. And, with ongoing devotion to our prayer with God, we find ourselves with a great desire to serve others. We begin to pray for others, not just ourselves. And, our prayers extend beyond petition to thanksgiving and adoration.

In our quest to find relief in our suffering by turning to God in prayer we inevitably improve the state of our soul. With each prayer of petition for a loved one or stranger, prayer of thanksgiving, prayer of adoration, or act of charity, we have become more united with God.

And, so how is suffering a good thing? If suffering brings us closer to God so that we spend more time with Him, develop a relationship with Him, know Him and love Him, and even choose to serve Him, what have we accomplished? Isn’t that exactly why God created us? It is indeed so that we may know Him, love, and serve Him here on earth, and be happy with Him forever in heaven.

Let us not, therefore complain in time of suffering. But, rejoice in the opportunity to share in The Cross of Christ, carry the cross He gave us, and prepare our souls for eternal happiness with Him now and in eternity. What a wonderful way to express your love and devotion to Christ and His cross as you wear a beautiful gold cross crucifix.

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