To some observers, there are only two possibilities here: If the Crucifixion was the only means God could find to redeem us, then he must be limited in his power and wisdom. What was good and fitting about Christ’s Passion? Most of all (they say), the answer to our own suffering is found in God’s joining with us in our pain. Luke 22:42). There are people I know who are very hard-working, self-reliant, and kind. should become man by putting on a human soul and flesh, becoming mortal so he could endure death?’”. . Paul Helm (another impassibilist) sums their approach up like this: ‘[The modern church] desperately seek[s] reassurance that God is like us — that he is accessible to our imagination, and especially … that he is our emotional peer’ ( www.rpcbmt.org/DivineImpassibility.html ). . We are called to die to ourselves, and to unite our sufferings to the sufferings of Christ. . St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.” I pray we each will quiet our minds and open our hearts to hear God’s voice speaking to us. Pain retards us from damaging our bodies. Jesus never promised to rid the world of suffering. or, "Does God want me to go through this?" How could that be? Augustine summed it up this way: “Other possible means were not lacking on God’s part, because all things are equally subject to his power” (, 8:10). Many of the Christians who have viewed Mel Gibson’s film report that it brought them to tears to realize what our Lord did for us. I … Or could that purpose have been achieved another way? You can argue that we are all difficult in our own ways. Was it not. But God doesn’t always love us (try to save us) by showing us His anger and disappointment towards us with punishments and allowing us to suffer greatly as a consequence of our sins. It shows us, Aquinas quoted Augustine’s comment on these words of the apostle, adding his own remarks: “Augustine says, ‘The humility of the Passion merited glory, and glory was the reward of humility’ (. Sinful passions. Most people donate because Catholic Online is useful. God wants His children to suffer, but He does not want His children to suffer. No, they insisted: Our God is indeed all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good. And his foreknowledge of these events had already been manifested in divine revelation to the prophets and recorded in Scripture. Together they had willed our redemption and determined that, in order to accomplish it, he would come to earth and suffer for us. Why Does God Let Us Suffer? But he was glorified, not merely in himself, but also in his faithful ones, as he himself says: ‘I am glorified in them’ (John 17:10)” (ST 3:48:1). We can learn best and most deeply through the things we most wish to avoid. Second, they tell us that he has given us free will and reason because he wants us to use it to make decisions. You are worth more than all the gold in the world. Many of the great Saints suffered horribly and were joyful because of it. On several occasions in the Gospel accounts, Jesus himself spoke this way. In the same way men, imitating Christ, should seek to conquer the devil by righteousness, not by power” (. This prefigured what was to come, for Jesus took suffering, the very thing that was held as a curse from God, a sign of His chastisement — and desired it, caressed it, and offered it back to us as a means of healing. Without trials and tribulations there can be no test of free will. Given these conditions, Aquinas concluded, it was correct for Christ to say that he, , because at that point the matter was already settled: What the Father ordained could not be avoided, and what he foreknew could not be mistaken. Passions, meaning our inclinations to want to sin. Free will. If God’s ways are perfect, then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. Many times we believe that the presence of suffering means the absence of God. For the devil, through the fault of his own perversity, had become a lover of power and a forsaker and assailant of righteousness. that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26, emphasis added). . Thus when we are in the state of grace in union with Jesus Christ, our suffering becomes redemptive, and through it our souls are sanctified. We might still be tempted to ask: If God wanted Christ, as a representative of mankind, to defeat Satan, and Christ had available to him all the power of God, why couldn’t Christ simply crush the devil in combat? The everlasting glory of the way of salvation the Father chose far outweighs the horrors his Son had to endure—and the resulting grace overflows in abundance to us all. In the case of Jesus’ Passion, by the time Christ had come into the world, certain crucial conditions were already in place: God the Father had already ordained that this was the way our salvation would be accomplished. Was there no other possible way to accomplish our salvation than the Passion of Christ? . There neither was nor need have been any other means more suitable for healing our misery” (, First, he observed, Christ’s Passion moves us not only to have faith and hope in God, as Augustine had pointed out; it also motivates us to a grateful, for God. It cleans our souls and can clean the souls of others. Given these conditions, Aquinas concluded, it was correct for Christ to say that he must suffer, that it was necessary, because at that point the matter was already settled: What the Father ordained could not be avoided, and what he foreknew could not be mistaken. https://www.defendingthebride.com/misc.html#suf. Turn it to good. Christ is the one who, having endured suffering, is “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). After all, if God was all-powerful he could prevent suffering, and if God was perfectly good he would want to prevent suffering. When God is slow to answer or doesn’t seem to answer at all, we begin to doubt His desire and will to heal us. Both saints were both firm on this matter: They insisted that God is God, and his wisdom and might know no bounds. The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). Christ’s suffering doesn’t just move us to respond in love. . We are given a convincing reason to devote our whole hearts to God. Help us do more > He would have rather that Adam and Eve we're obedient. The human race had been left in bondage to sin, death, and the devil by the Fall. . . Eliminate suffering, as many in today’s society are attempting to accomplish, and we may lose the reason and very essence of the total forgiveness that God offers to each of us. That is why the apostle says, ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Rom. Righteousness thus defeated raw power. . The proper way to battle Satan is with the sword of the Spirit, which … The means God used to redeem us, Aquinas continued, tells us what we ourselves must do to love as God loves in the face of natural and moral evil. Why submit himself to such torment? At the Web page below there are selected biblical quotations about suffering. Long before its scheduled release on Ash Wednesday of this year, Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ stirred sharp controversy. Both saints were both firm on this matter: They insisted that God is God, and his wisdom and might know no bounds. On several occasions in the Gospel accounts, Jesus himself spoke this way. Again, as Jesus walked with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, on the evening of the day he had risen from the dead, he rebuked the men for their lack of faith: “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! But in Christ’s suffering, our race was granted more honor still. Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26, emphasis added). In addition to the reasons we’ve already noted, Augustine offered this one: “The devil was to be conquered not by the power of God but by his righteousness. . Some have tried to deduce that meaning from passages such as Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane to have the “cup” of suffering removed (cf. 8:31–32). In this loving response lies the perfection of human salvation. Does He ordain and employ it for the sake of what He does find pleasurable? Of course, to simply have God become man in the Incarnation was an honor beyond all telling. he could have found another way to save us. Here is a 2 minute lesson on how we can use our suffering: One question: how is “passions” defined? God wants us to hear Him. Nevertheless, as Aquinas pointed out, there’s a difference between being. In all these ways Augustine and Aquinas concluded that God’s decision to have Christ suffer to save us was good and wise. On the contrary! God’s own Son suffered so why should we not carry ou r crosses as well. Stay in difficult marriages. Did God have no other way to free men from the misery of this mortality? The Passion demonstrates that love is costly to God, and it will be costly to us as well. How could he have done such a thing when he had other options? When natural disasters strike, for instance, they think that these events are God’s way of punishing those who have sinned. When we recognize the debt, we see ourselves obligated to pay it by avoiding evil—and that avoidance contributes to our salvation. 5:8).”. Without fear we could not comprehend love. But even then, our Lord wanted above all what the Father wanted: “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Against such objections, Augustine wrote, “We assert that the way in which God deigned to deliver us by the man Jesus Christ, who is mediator between God and man, is both good and befitting the divine dignity. . From their own thoughts, a lot of the suffering is what they desire, for they see suffering as a great way to show their love. Why did God let Jesus suffer? So Christ shares his reward with us as justifying grace and the glory of blessedness in heaven. . There is an old expression that says, “God gives us what we need, not what we want.” It is a mystery how God converts what … We begin to question God’s love for us and wonder, “Is this depression something I … . Those who are further along in their spiritual journey are to be patient, understanding and nonjudgmental of those who are “behind.” If God loves us all equally, why does it matter when we turn to him? God is present. so undeserving of evil, should bear our evils?” (ibid.). So it was more fitting that God should use the higher kind of might against an enemy whose perverse strategy was to use the lower kind. (RNS) It is the common impulse of people of goodwill everywhere to prevent or at least mitigate all forms of gratuitous suffering. The test can be anything, whether a disease, a financial storm, a relationship trial, anything that pins us against the wall or brings about suffering. In this loving response lies the perfection of human salvation. If God could have made salvation possible for us some other way, why would he choose the way of so much blood, so much pain, so much agony? and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22, emphasis added). Nevertheless, as Aquinas pointed out, there’s a difference between being absolutely necessary and being necessary given certain conditions. St. Thomas More, from his “Dialogue of Comfort in a Time of Tribulation”. Adam and Eve committed original sin and were punished and everyone inherited the consequence. If God had just said man does not need to find a way to desire His companionship, we would never understand Him and eventually the Beatific Vision with all it’s deep meaning could never be ours. Aquinas developed this line of thought more thoroughly. When we recognize the debt, we see ourselves obligated to pay it by avoiding evil—and that avoidance contributes to our salvation. How could this be? There are those who can barely take care of themselves. When examining the question many centuries later, Aquinas quoted Augustine and added scriptural support: “It was possible for God to deliver mankind otherwise than by the Passion of Christ,” he concluded, “because nothing shall be impossible for God (cf. The Bible clearly teaches that God does not cause us to suffer. He noted that our reconciliation with God and becoming like him requires more than simple forgiveness. It was not God's "active" will that we suffer. Then there are the prayers God says no to for reasons that are not so obvious. 12:2)—winning the victory he had come to achieve. . They challenged the notion that, in light of Christ’s Passion, Christians serve a God who must be either a bumbling wimp or a repulsive sadist. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain.” . God has given us the awesome gift of free choice, and that includes the choice to do terrible things.) He gave humans the gift of free will. This conclusion is strengthened when we observe that Christ’s statement on the Emmaus road was made with reference to Old Testament prophecies. The concept of the victim soul derives from the Roman Catholic teaching on redemptive suffering.Such a person is said to be one chosen by God to suffer more than most people during life, and who generously accepts the suffering, based on the example of Christ's own Passion.The Catholic Church does not officially designate anyone as a victim soul. . If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since we are judged by [the] Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So even though the person of God suffered in a way, that suffering was kept separate from God’s divine nature. Sixteen centuries ago, when Augustine addressed the matter, he noted that he was not the first person even back then to discuss it. . Our salvation isn’t complete without our learning to love as God loves. Because Christ is the head of the Church, his merit overflows to the members of his body. A third reason God ordained that the Passion would take place is that, through it, Christ merited a great reward. Without suffering we could never appreciate joy. When examining the question many centuries later, Aquinas quoted Augustine and added scriptural support: “It was possible for God to deliver mankind otherwise than by the Passion of Christ,” he concluded, “because. 18 Jehovah does not force us to choose him as our Ruler. Suffering is partly a mystery. On the other hand, if God preferred choosing a horrible death for his own Son over other options, then he must be wicked. Recall the dilemma we described earlier. More Reasons That the Passion Was Fitting. If we lay first, for a sure ground, a very fast faith, whereby we believe to be true all that the scripture saith (understood truly, as the old holy doctors declare it and as the spirit of God instructeth his Catholic Church), then shall we consider tribulation as a gracious gift of God, a gift that he specially gave his special friends; a thing that in scripture is highly commended and praised; a thing of which the contrary, long continued, is perilous; a thing which, if God send it not, men have need to put upon themselves and seek by penance; a thing that helpeth to purge our past sins; a thing that preserveth us from sins that otherwise would come; a thing that causeth us to set less by the world; a thing that much diminisheth our pains in purgatory; a thing that much increaseth our final reward in heaven; the thing with which all his apostles followed him thither; the thing to which our Saviour exhorteth all men; the thing without which he saith we be not his disciples; the thing without which no man can get to heaven. 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