St. Augustine is a great doctor of our Church, and as a doctor of the Church, his words give timeless counsel, teaching and fatherly wisdom. Something of his recently struck me to be a clear and concise way of understanding how our sufferings can be united to Christ’s own suffering, if we offer them to Our Lord. The good doctor writes:
“Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body, have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ and when He said: I was hungry and you gave me food.’”
Being baptized into the Mystical Body of Christ is not a hallmark nicety. It is a profound reality into which we have been incorporated. The suffering we undergo, to whatever degree, is sad and it is the result of living in a fallen and sinful world. Yet, in the midst of suffering we are not cast into a void. Jesus suffers with us, and therefore we need not be afraid when suffering comes. Some suffering can be taken away by an aspirin; some by good therapy coupled with God’s grace, but all suffering must be brought to the wounded hands of Jesus to be transformed. The transformation of suffering is understood in the Mystery of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The death of Our Lord was not meaningless. Our baptism into Christ’s Life gave each of us a share in His common priesthood, in which we are to offer our suffering to Jesus, so that it is united to His salvific mission of transforming death into life.
During this time especially, when we might feel very distant from Our Lord sacramentally, know and pray with the truth that Jesus is suffering with you. In prayer, unburden yourself to Him by speaking to Him of everything that is afflicting you. Find strength in being in solidarity with Christ’s sufferings.