Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Way of Redemption

Dr. Jack Kevorkian got out of prison today. I noticed this news was followed by the usual "death with dignity" posts on one of the message boards I frequent. The argument goes something like this: we should be in control of our destiny so that if we are put into a situation whereby we are suffering greatly we should have the right to end our suffering by suicide if necessary because death by suicide is more dignified than suffering.

I don't buy it. Here's why. I am a Christian, and as a Christian I must believe in the redemptive power of suffering. Suffering is a result of the sin of our first parents. When they turned away from God in disobedience, Adam and Eve learned the hard way that life without communion with God is hard and painful. They suffered sickness and death. But God chose to take suffering and use it to our benefit by making it redemptive.

As I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament last night I contemplated how God worked suffering into the plan of salvation. I happened to glance at the picture on the front of a book which I brought with me to the chapel, and on it was an image of Christ after the Resurrection showing St. Thomas the gash in his side. I also noticed that the holes in his hands and feet were clearly visible. In his resurrected glorified body, Christ still retains the marks of his suffering, but through those marks and that suffering Christ has revealed the way to redemption, and that way is to embrace our suffering, unite it with his suffering on the cross, and offer it to God the Father. Christ's wounds left by the instruments of his suffering are now his glory, and through our suffering (since we are the body of Christ) we are glorified with Christ. This sacrificing of the self is an image of love, the love of the Blessed Trinity.

Suicide, on the other hand, rejects suffering as evil and unnecessary. With suicide, the sin of our first parents is revisited because God's plan of salvation is rejected for the plan of a human being, i.e. man knows better than God. It is the utmost example of selfishness and the complete antithesis of love. It is evil and mocks the dignity of man. It is never justifiable.

St. Paul tells us to persevere in faith, to run the race so that we may be worthy to win the prize, our heavenly inheritance. But in order to gain our inheritance, we must "suffer with Christ so that we may also be glorified with him." May we reject the wisdom of the world which rejects God's eternal plan of salvation. May we embrace the wisdom of God revealed through his Son.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. - Romans 8:18

St. Justin Martyr, pray for us.


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