Am I uniting my suffering with the suffering Christ?
Twenty-fifth Sunday Ordinary Time
September 18, 2022 •
Mary was so conformed to the will of God that She did not only endure the agony of Her Son, but She consented to it. It is said by the Fathers of the Church that if Mary had not consented to the immolation and death of Jesus, God the Father would not have had Him crucified. Mary was so in union with the will of God - like her Son Jesus - She, along with our Lord, consented to this cross.
That's why She is co-redemptrix. No one has so perfectly suffered, alongside Jesus, and united their will with His as much as She has.
This is a degree of union in suffering with God that, even intellectually, we have a hard time grasping. It's why no saint in history will come close to the degree to which She shared in the passion of Her Son.
Now, all of us are called to share in the offerings of Christ. As a member of his Body, we are to be mediators, with, in, and through Jesus; and co-redeemers with, in, and through Jesus. Not to the degree that our Lady is, but along with Christ in certain ways. In fact, when a soul is baptized, God expects of that soul a certain degree of crosses suffered throughout their life. He has already pre-ordained the number of things you and I are supposed to suffer in our lives as individuals to share in the Passion of Jesus.
But we have to do it like Jesus. When I complain, that suffering was not suffered like our Lord. When I reject a suffering. Again, it wasn't suffered the way our Lord wanted.
If you can't endure any discomfort, any crosses, any difficulties without running for some fix, are you ever going to learn to suffer like our Lady? Like our Lord? . . .
Saint Paul actually talks about this in his Letter to the Colossians. In the first chapter he says something strange that many don't understand. Paul says: "Because I am baptized, in my flesh I make up for the sufferings lacking in the Body of Christ, the Church." Paul is saying in his own body, in his own crosses and suffering, he is making up for the sufferings lacking in the Body of Christ. The Church. What does he mean by this?
Did Jesus lack any degree of suffering? No, He suffered perfectly.
So what is lacking in the suffering of the Body of Christ? Paul is referring to the mystical Body of Christ: the Church. Christ suffered perfectly, but each of us, members of that same Body, don't suffer perfectly. Which means the tally of suffering that is required of each one of us isn't paid.
Let's say I fall short of the patient suffering that God asked of me. So what happens? I can't go to Heaven unless that's paid for. That's one of the reasons for purgatory - you've got to finish off the debt. But! You know that just because you can't pay a debt, it doesn't mean that someone else can't pay it off for you. That's what Saint Paul is talking about. He's saying: I've suffered enough for me, now I'm suffering for the rest of you who aren't suffering what you should be. . . .
The highest form of poverty in this life is poor of spirit. "Poor of spirit" refers to not just physical possessions, but even my own soul. I am poor in this sense: I do not require my will. I am willing to sacrifice my will ultimately, for the will of God. That's why our Lady is the best.
Do you think our Lady wanted to sacrifice Her Son? Of course not! But She was willing to do it. Because it was the will of the Father. She gave up Her own will for the will of the Father. There is no greater act of love She could have made. She died to Herself. Her own thoughts. Her own desires. She was totally submissive to God in all things, regardless of what it cost Her. No one has so emptied themselves and become poor in spirit as much as She.
That's the model for us, that's the model of our Christian life.
Each day we have to consider: Am I carrying my crosses patiently? Am I uniting my suffering with the suffering Christ? Am I making up - as Saint Paul said - for those sufferings lacking in the Body? That is the greatest good that we as Christians can do.
Am 8:4-7; Ps 11 3:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; Tm 2:1-8; Lk 16:1-13
Homily begins at 21:50