Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Taking Up Our Cross

I used to think that Catholics had an unhealthy attitude towards suffering, seeking it out and almost wallowing in it. The truth is, suffering is sometimes unavoidable. It is a part of human life. I have now come to believe that Catholics have the most healthy approach to suffering there is. When we encounter suffering, we unite it with the suffering of Jesus on the cross. The cross transcends time and space, touching every life that seeks union with God.
Why are we, too, supposed to accept suffering in our lives and thus "take up our cross" and thereby follow Jesus?

Christians should not seek suffering, but when they are confronted with unavoidable suffering, it can become meaningful for them if they unite their sufferings with the sufferings of Christ: "Christ ... suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" (1 Pet 2:21).

Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mk 8:34). Christians have the task of alleviating suffering in the world. Nevertheless, there will still be suffering. In faith we can accept our own suffering and share the suffering of others. In this way human suffering becomes united with the redeeming love of Christ and thus part of the divine power that changes the world for the better. (YOUCAT question 102)

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Whirlpool of Evil

I have subscribed to "Catechism in a Year", a daily email from Matthew Warner, and I had been posting some on Facebook that I thought would be of interest to people. Then I thought it would be better to put it on the blog, and then put the link on Facebook. That way it's available to more people.
How does God draw us out of the whirlpool of evil?

God does not just look on as man gradually destroys himself and the world around him through the chain reaction of sin. He sends us Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer, who snatches us from the power of sin.

"No one can help me" - this maxim of human experience - is no longer accurate. Wherever man may have strayed by his sins, God the Father has sent his Son there. The consequence of sin is death (cf. Rom 6:23). Another consequence of sin, however, is the marvelous solidarity of God, who sends us Jesus as our friend and Savior. Therefore original sin is also called felix culpa (= happy fault): "O happy fault ... which gained for us so great a Redeemer!" (Liturgy of the Easter Vigil). (YOUCAT question 70)

The idea of felix culpa is to me an antidote to the idea I used to have that it is not fair that I should have to suffer for what Adam and Eve did. Rather, in response to what Adam and Eve did, God provided a Savior, by whom I am blessed.

Thomas Aquinas said that God only allowed evil because he would bring out of it a greater good. That greater good is the redemption Jesus obtained for us on the cross. As one of my favorite hymns says, "Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me."

Losing Hoctempus.com

I have decided to not renew Wordpress Premium and the hoctempus.com domain because I'm not active enough on this blog to warrant the fee. I will still keep the blog, and will try to post more, but starting in May, it will only be available through htempus.wordpress.com.