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I don’t understand the connection between suffering and salvation. I suppose what I mean is the connection between the cross and the resurrection. What is the connection? Richard in Pretoria

Posted: 10 Apr 2014

The “cross,” rightly understood, is precisely and always unto resurrection. It’s as if God were holding up the crucifixion as a cosmic object lesson, saying: “I know this is what you’re experiencing. Don’t run from it. Learn from it, as I did. Hang there for a while, as I did. It will be your teacher. Rather than losing life, it is gaining life. It is the way through.” The mystery of the cross has the power to teach us that our suffering is not our own and my life is not about “me.” Redemptive suffering is, I believe, a radical call to a deeper life and deeper faith that affects not only the self, but also others. We should pray for the grace to bear our sufferings as Christ bore his for us. Hopefully, a time will come when the life of Christ will be so triumphant in us that we care more about others than about our own selves, or better, when there is no longer such a sharp distinction between my self and the other self. Remember that conversion is more than anything else a reconstituted sense of the self. As Paul puts it, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The suffering that we carry is our solidarity with the one, universal longing of all humanity, and thus it can teach us great compassion for and patience with both ourselves and others (see Colossians 1:24).


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