Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Way of the Cross

One big point that Protestants and Catholics differ on is suffering.  Some protestants believe that suffering is a punishment while others view it as a part of concupiscence with no value.  But Catholics believe that suffering has redemptive value.  That Christ calls us to bear our crosses in the Bible (Luke 9:23).  But more importantly is the story on the way to the crucifixion. 

Here is a man, Simon of Cyrene, going about his business.  He is a good man.  And here sits a condemned man unable to bear the cross alone.  Simon, reluctantly, is conscripted to bear the load. 

Why is this so significant?

Many good people (and sinners alike) are reluctant in this day and age to suffer.  We see in society that suffering is bad and hear that it has no value.  Simon is like us.  He reluctantly agrees to suffer by carrying a heavy wooden cross.  He doesn't do so alone of course.  He is bearing the cross that Christ also bears with him in both the literal and spiritual sense.  His suffering brings about good through Christ.

Christ's sacrifice was all that anyone needed for grace to be sufficient.  That is true.  But Christ calls us to see our suffering as being just as redemptive as his if we bear up the load along with him.  Christ is the one who redeems us, but just like Simon we are given the opportunity to experience the joy of suffering for the good of others along with him. 

You may think, well that's all well and fine but how can it possibly be good?

I suffer daily.  I'm a parent.  My body has been stretched and turned into something it wasn't before I had children.  I still breastfeed which leaves me with bite marks and purple twirples on a regular basis.  And that's just the physical affects.  The day-to-day conversations involving poo coupled with screaming leaves one mentally exhausted.   But as I mentioned before, I am not doing this alone.  I share this suffering with Jesus and I gladly do so (although reluctantly at times) because I know it's for both the physical health and spiritual growth of my children.  It has meaning.

People will leave you to believe that my job has no meaning unless it pays me money.  Jesus has taught me countless times that my job is extremely important to him. 

I am a Simon.  Who do you want to be?

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!