August 5, 2010

Dumb Ox

We've all heard that expression "Offer it up." It is often the response when we or someone else lament life's difficulties. To the Dumb Ox it can seem like a flippant or dismissive reply to another person's suffering. But "offering it up" is sometimes the best thing we can do. It is really a very powerful form of prayer and personal sacrifice. Offering up our pains and suffering is in fact the most powerful form of atonement next to martyrdom. 

Scripture testifies to the fact that Christ is the head and we are the body. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ we can offer up our suffering, whatever form it takes, in union with our Savior's Passion. As Pope John Paul II testified on a trip to Poland not long after assuming the papacy: "On His cross the Son of God accomplished the redemption of the world. It is through this mystery that every cross placed on someone’s shoulders acquires a dignity that is humanly inconceivable and becomes a sign of salvation for the person who carries it and also for others. 'In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s affliction' (Col 1:24), wrote St. Paul."

In our flesh we complete what is lacking in Christ’s affliction. This is the mystery and the joy of human suffering. Suffering can bring much spiritual fruit. Just as Christ accomplished the redemption of the world by his cross, so too can our crosses be purposefull. No one suffers in vain. We must trust in this no matter what misfortunes or suffering come our way. Click here for a prayer of daily offering and here for the previous post on suffering.

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