A Little Redemptive Suffering Never Hurt Anyone (besides you, of course)

By TJ Burdick

 

I have a confession to make: the majority of my friends aren’t Catholic. Many are, indeed, Protestant and for some reason, they all look at me strangely when I ask them if they have heard of redemptive suffering.

I should back up a bit. You see, when I throw the big RS out onto the table, it is usually after they have shared with me some sort of difficulty they are going through. Like I said, they are my friends and, like all of us, they have problems. Some are emotional, others are physical but the fact of the matter is that they have not been introduced to this lovely facet of the Catholic faith.

The Catechism tells us this about said facet:

The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing.Illness becomes a way to conversion; God’s forgiveness initiates the healing. It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.” The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others… CCC 1502

…Suffering…becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus. CCC 1521

Mother Theresa concurs:

I wonder what the world would be like if there were not innocent people making reparation for us all…?” (From her book, The Best Gift of Love)

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen seconds that:

What a blood transfusion is to the body, reparation for the sins of another is to the spirit.” 

Sin runs a muck throughout the world and good people like St. Monica, cloistered nuns and monks and countless other religious and laymen and women keep humanity in check through their sacrificial union with Christ upon the cross. Finding meaning in suffering is the secret to a Christian’s joy.

St. Paul knew that when he wrote:

“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”~Colossians 1:24

Psh, as if Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t enough? Of course it was. It was MORE than enough. So abundant was His sacrifice that we too get to share in His struggle and redeem others through our mystical union with Him. We are all one body and when one member suffers, we all do. However, when one member of the body becomes well, the entire system rejoices.

St. Paul knew that. In fact, all of the Saints knew that because Jesus taught it so clearly as he hung on that Roman tree.

So, now it is your turn.

  • Does your fingernail hurt because you bit a little too deep? Offer it up for those suffering in Israel.
  • Have a headache because your kids won’t stop screaming? Unite it with the expecting mother who is contemplating abortion.
  • Hate waking up to go to Mass? Iraq.

Now go suffer.

(http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2014/08/29/little-redemptive-suffering-never-hurt-anyone-besides-course/#sthash.BlRXzqkq.dpuf)

My Side of the Confessional: What is it like for a Priest

By Fr. Mike Schmitz 

I was once riding in a shuttle-bus with a number of older folks on the way from an airport. They noticed that I was a priest and started asking questions about it.

“Do you do all of the priest stuff?”

“Yep.”

“Even the Confession thing?”

“Yeah. All the time.”

One older lady gasped, “Well, I think that that would be the worst. It would be so depressing; hearing all about people’s sins.”

I told them that it was the exact opposite. There is almost no greater place to be than with someone when they are coming back to God. I said, “It would depressing if I had to watch someone leave God; I get to be with them when they come back to Him.” The Confessional is a place where people let God’s love win. The Confessional is the most joyful, humbling, and inspiring place in the world.

WHAT DO I SEE DURING CONFESSION?

I think there are three things. First, I see the costly mercy of God in action. I get to regularly come face to face with the overwhelming, life-transforming power of God’s love. I get to see God’s love up-close and it reminds me of how good God is.

Not many folks get to see the way in which God’s sacrifice on the Cross is constantly breaking into people’s lives and melting the hardest hearts. Jesus consoles those who are grieving their sins . . . and strengthens those who find themselves wanting to give up on God or on life.

As a priest, I get to see this thing happen every day.

I SEE A SAINT IN THE MAKING.

The second thing I see is a person who is still trying – a saint in the making. I don’t care if this is the person’s third confession this week; if they are seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it means that they are trying. That’s all that I care about. This thought is worth considering: going to Confession is a sign that you haven’t given up on Jesus.

This is one of the reasons why pride is so deadly. I have talked with people who tell me that they don’t want to go to Confession to their priest because their priest really likes them and ‘thinks that they are a good kid.’

I have two things to say to this.

  1. He will not be disappointed! What your priest will see is a person who is trying! I dare you to find a saint who didn’t need to God’s mercy! (Even Mary needed God’s mercy; she received the mercy of God in a dramatic and powerful way at her conception. Boom. Lawyered.)
  2. So what if the priest is disappointed? We try to be so impressive with so much of our lives. Confession is a place where we don’t get to be impressive. Confession is a place where the desire to impress goes to die. Think about it: all other sins have the potential to cause us to race to the confessional, but pride is the one that causes us to hide from the God who could heal us.

DO I REMEMBER YOUR SINS? NO!

So often, people will ask if I remember people’s sin from Confession. As a priest, I rarely, if ever, remember sins from the confessional. That might seem impossible, but the truth is, sins aren’t all that impressive. They aren’t like memorable sunsets or meteor showers or super-intriguing movies… they are more like the garbage.

And if sins are like garbage, then the priest is like God’s garbage-man. If you ask a garbage-man about the gross-est thing he’s ever had to haul to the dump,maaaaaaybe he could remember it. But the fact is, once you get used to taking out the trash, it ceases to be noteworthy, it ceases to stand out.

Honestly, once you realize that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is less about the sin and more about Christ’s death and resurrection having victory in a person’s life, the sins lose all of their luster, and Jesus’ victory takes center stage.

In Confession, we meet the life-transforming, costly love of God… freely given to us every time we ask for it. We meet Jesus who reminds us, “You are worth dying for… even in your sins, you are worth dying for.”

Whenever someone comes to Confession, I see a person who is deeply loved by God and who is telling God that they love Him back. That’s it, and that’s all.

IN CONFESSION I SEE MY OWN WEAKNESS.

The third thing a priest sees when he hears Confessions is his own soul. It is a scary place for a priest. I cannot tell you how humbled I am when someone approaches Jesus’ mercy through me.

I am not over-awed by their sins; I am struck by the fact that they have been able to recognize sins in their life that I have been blind to in my own. Hearing someone’s humility breaks down my own pride. It is one of the best examinations of conscience.

But why is Confession a scary place for a priest? It is frightening because of the way in which Jesus trusts me to be a living sign of His mercy.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once told priests that we scarcely realize what is happening when we extend our hands over someone’s head in absolution. We don’t realize, he said, that the very Blood of Christ is dripping from our fingers onto their heads, washing the penitent clean.

The day after I was ordained, we had a little party and my dad stood up and made a toast. He has worked his entire life as an orthopedic surgeon, and he was a very good one. My whole life, his patients have come up to me at one time or another and told me how their lives have been changed because my dad was such a good surgeon.

So, there my dad was, standing in the midst of these people, and he began to say, ‘My whole life, I have used my hands to heal people’s broken bodies. But from now on, my son Michael… um, Father Michael… will use his hands (at this point, he got choked up)… He will use his hands to heal broken souls. His hands will save even more lives than mine have.’

Confession is such a powerful place. All I have to do is offer God’s mercy, love, and redemption… but I don’t want to get in Jesus’ way. The priest stands in judgment of no one. In the Confessional, the only thing I have to offer is mercy.

I GET TO SACRIFICE FOR YOU.

Lastly, when a priest hears Confessions, he is taking on another responsibility.

One time, after college, I was returning to Confession after a long time and a lot of sin and the priest simply gave me something like “one Hail Mary” as my penance. I stopped.

“Um, Father…? Did you hear everything I said?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Don’t you think I should get a bigger penance than that?”

He looked at me with great love and said, “No. That small penance is all that I’m asking of you.” He hesitated, and then continued, “But you should know… I will be fasting for you for the next 30 days.”

I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. He told me that the Catechism teaches that the priest must do penance for all those who come to him for Confession. And here he was, embracing a severe penance for all of my severe sins.

This is why Confession reveals the priest’s own soul; it reveals his willingness to sacrifice his life with Christ. He sees our sins as a burden that he will take up (with Jesus!) and offer them to the Father, while offering us the mercy of God.

Remember, Confession is always a place of victory. Whether you have confessed a particular sin for the first time, or if this is the 12,001st time, every Confession is a win for Jesus. And I, a priest, get to be there. That’s what it’s like… I get to sit and watch Jesus win His children back all day.

It’s flippin’ awesome.

(http://lifeteen.com/my-side-of-the-confessional-what-is-it-like-for-a-priest/)

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome (back) to campus! We’re so happy to have you here and we hope that, as you find your way through the crazy and beautiful time we call college, you’ll also take time to develop spiritually and socially. We’re here to help lift you up and support you. After all, as Pope Benedict
XVI said, you were made for greatness.

Check out this week’s bulletin for information on Welcome Week, Adoration, our Spring Pilgrimage to France, and more: Bulletin-2014-08-24