Monday, December 04, 2006
More questions for our dear readers:
I am confused about all the suffering by different parties (saints, living church members, the dead in purgatory, etc.) as reparation for sin. How does the suffering of Jesus figure into all this?
Yep. This is why I didn't want to open this can of worms. Before I try to answer let me give you some advice. Offer up your suffering and let heaven sort it out. Think of it like giving money to a giant charity or political party. You send it in and they figure out how to use it. Except in heaven 95% of your suffering won't go to pay staff members and rent an office.
As for your question, I'm assuming what you mean here, what you are poking at but don't have the nerve to say outright, is, "Didn't Jesus already pay for all of the sins of the world by dying on the cross? Isn't the debt paid in full?" (so I can just go my merry way and go to heaven no matter what I do because I believe Jesus already paid for my sins....nice try....)
And the simple answer is, just the one debt of Original Sin. The rest of the sins are owned at operated by the individuals who commit them, giving new meaning to the idea of 'sin tax.'
The actual answer is much more complex and will give us all a headache that we can then offer up. I can feel my jaw tensing already. Hooray!
Let's take a trip to the world of suffering, suffering saints and Jesus on the cross. What fun.
First we have suffering in general, which is inescapable here on Earth. You don't even have to leave your house. You can crack your head on the upper self while dusting the lower one. You can get a massive shock after taking the clothes out of the dryer and touching the on switch to the computer. You can trip over the cat, drop your entire lunch all over the floor and down the front of yourself while the cat manages to dig it's claws into the back of your heal in a panic. Later you will find a hairball that didn't come from the outside of the cat. You can fully expect more of the same tomorrow.
Offer this stuff up for the souls in Purgatory. Maybe heaven will cash it in for the reparation of sin, but I doubt it. If for some reason this doesn't sit right with you, don't offer it up for the souls in Purgatory or anything else. But let it all go anyhow because if you can suffer the small things with grace you will be more capable to suffer what life really has in store for you with more strength. Even the Buddhists get that.
Then we have real suffering: nasty disease, getting cut in half by a train, sucked up in a tornado and dropped on your head so you don't remember your family any more (although some would welcome that opportunity for it's own sake). Here's where you can do some real good for the souls in Purgatory, which, by the way has everything to do with the reparation of sins.
Moving on, the suffering of the saints which includes what we just talked about but which also has a whole other dimension. You really don't hear too much discussion about this, so I'm a little reticent to bring it up. I'm just going to say it and then we're just going to move on, okay? Sometimes the saints punished themselves for thinking about (and so they would stop thinking about)...sex. It seems there was often an ongoing battle. I think it's why they invented hair shirts.
There I've said it. Now let's drop it.
Meanwhile, your stigmata saints so identify with the suffering of Jesus on the cross that they manifest the wounds, which is not fun.
Here comes the headache part: It's not like, I sin over here, and Padre Pio suffers over there (although it is EXACTLY like that). It's more like Padre Pio identifies with the sacrifice Jesus made and wants to emulate Him as closely as possible. Jesus loves me so much he suffered and died for me. I sin ( over and over, in fact). I have some punishment coming. Padre Pio loves me like Jesus does and would like to trade places with me and take my punishment for whatever I have coming, and like Jesus, would like to suffer and die for my sins. Padre Pio's prayers are answered and he is allowed to do just that. Isn't that nice?
Say thank you. I never see Padre Pio listed in the drippy lists of things we are thankful for at Thanksgiving.
If the whole thing still bothers you, forget it. You don't have to offer up your sufferings. We strongly suggest you do, but you can skip it, Lazy.
But to me that seems like those people who drive everywhere when they could walk. Two blocks to the 7/11. A block to mail a letter. There's no law about driving everywhere but, come on. Walk. And as long as your walking you could do yourself a favor and carry those little hand weights or a couple of cans of tomato juice (which is heavier than any other kind of juice, even the juice blends). Since you're walking you might as well add strength.