Tag Archives: Suffering

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Catholic Inspiration

This feast day fosters both personal piety and a communal connection within the Church to Jesus Christ, our savior, redeemer, brother and friend.  The Lord offers his heart for the salvation of the world as he gives his life on the Cross.  May the love in his heart fill up what is lacking in ours!

Mass Readings – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

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Good Friday: The Lord’s Suffering and Sacrifice. Catholic Inspiration

Today we pray with the Church around the world as we recall the sign of God’s love through the death of Jesus on the Cross.  May the Lord’s suffering and sacrifice open our hearts with gratitude as we reflect on what Christ has done for our eternal salvation.

Good Friday Scripture Readings

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Daily Mass: Greatness through service. Catholic Inspiration

Jesus addresses a dispute among the disciples by teaching them that the journey to greatness is discovered on the path of service.

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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Daily Mass: Love your enemies. Catholic Inspiration

While the phrase “love one another” sounds great when we like the people in question, the real test of faith occurs when it’s tough.   The command of Jesus to “love your enemies” will demand us to become like the Lord – who even forgave those who nailed him to the Cross.   To do this we call upon God for the grace we need to be filled with the love of Christ so that we can share his love in all moments of life…even when surrounded by enemies.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent

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2nd Sunday of Lent: Sacrifice

Study:  Recall a sacrifice you have made recently.  What was it about this sacrifice that revealed your values and priorities?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to serve with your whole heart.  Pay attention to anything that is holding you back.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is struggling with priorities right now?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 2nd Sunday of Lent

What do you think is worth a personal sacrifice?  What would you be willing to give up for someone or something you believe in?

We learn a lot about ourselves by what we are willing to sacrifice.  Our values, personal convictions, and priorities all come into focus with the simple phrase:

Can I give that up?

We make sacrifices all the time.  Some are simple, others complex; some are demanding while others are the act of a moment.  Yet sacrifices reveal the depth of our hearts and our willingness to offer up our lives for something greater, something that we hold precious or valuable.

The thought that Abraham would be willing to offer up his only son – the child of God’s blessing to Sarah in her old age – strikes the modern hearer as barbaric and horrible.  It is a crime against nature: that the innocent could suffer such atrocity sounds more like something from Hell, not Heaven.

Yet Jesus Christ, innocent and without sin, will die a brutal death on the Cross…for us.  The atrocity that confronts us at Calvary reveals the value God places on our human souls – we are loved completely, entirely, and without thinking of the cost the Lord sacrifices his life to take our place for the evil we have done.

This is the power of the transfiguration in the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus, revealed in all his glory with Moses and Elijah, is God’s “beloved Son.”  Coming down from the mountain Peter, James, and John have no idea what lies ahead – they can only marvel at the awesome sight of Jesus as he stands in Heaven…the one who is honored for the sacrifice he makes.

Perhaps then, the real question for us pertains to those things to which we still cling.  What priorities and values do we place higher than Christ?  What is holding us back from embracing the Lord with all our heart?  I suggest considering the following thoughts:

  1. How does my use of TIME reveal my priorities?
  2. How does my use of MONEY reveal my values?
  3. How do I show the PEOPLE in my life that I love them?
  4. How do I live my faith in GOD each and every day?

And if there are things that are keeping me from God & others….

Can I give that up?

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Note: This post was first published on February 24, 2015.


6th Sunday of the Year: Renewing relationships afflicted with suffering. Catholic Inspiration

Suffering affects our lives on many levels – body, mind, heart and soul – and it can weaken and wound our relationships with one another.  When we respond with compassion, help, unity and God’s grace we can restore what was broken with the healing power of Christ.

Mass Readings – 6th Sunday of the Year

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6th Sunday of the Year: How suffering affects our relationships

Study:  Reflect on wounded relationships in your life.  What needs to be done to bring them healing?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to bring healing to the relationships in your life, especially where suffering has caused misunderstanding or fear has led to doubt and uncertainty.

Serve:  Are there people in your life that are struggling in their relationships?  How can you be a bridge that fosters unity and reconciliation?

Mass Readings – 6th Sunday of the Year

Last week I focused on the personal nature of suffering.  When we are in pain, when we hurt, we can easily focus on ourselves.  This is not necessarily a bad thing; suffering can help us confront reality and strive for healing and wholeness.  In our suffering we are aware of blessings that we may have taken for granted – our sight can become sharper as we realize the gifts that have been lavished upon us.

There is another dimension of suffering, however.  Suffering commonly affects relationships; when one person suffers, it is often the case that others suffer as well.  Consider the following:

  • Physical suffering can keep us from human touch/contact
  • Intellectual distress can cause us to lash out in doubt and misunderstanding
  • Emotional anguish can prevent us from connecting with others because of fear and anger
  • Spiritual suffering can obscure our values and beliefs with God and others

There are countless examples, but the point is clear – the pain and anguish a person suffers can directly affect relationships with God and one another.  Suffering can become an obstacle that blocks us from the very persons who can bring healing and relief.  Often the greatest wound from suffering is isolation: in our weakness we withdraw from the very people who can help us the most.

The 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and Gospel today reveal both the obstacles of suffering and the bridges that God makes possible through healing grace.  In the face of suffering the Lord comes, not just to bring healing to a person, but healing to the relationships among persons.  God longs not only to renew our lives but the lives around us as well.  Where suffering brings isolation the Lord brings unity – drawing us together in reconciliation and love.

This communal aspect of suffering thus begs two questions for our consideration:

  1. Is suffering affecting relationships in my life right now?
  2. How can I invite the Lord to bring healing/reconciliation?

When the Jesus healed the leper in the Gospel today, he did more than give the man back his health – he gave back his relationships as well.  The man (formerly cut off from human society) is now restored to his family, his friendships, and his participation in the community.  His life has been restored.

As we look to our own encounters with suffering we keep an eye to the ways in which our relationships are harmed/healed.  May we call upon the grace of Christ to touch our lives, and bless the lives of those around us.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was originally published on February 9, 2015.