Why Must I Suffer ?
it be due to our own over-indulgences in abusing the varied and sundry goods
of this earth, our own seemingly countless transgressions against God’s
commandments, or the providentially paternal designs of our Creator and first
Benefactor, we will have our lot of suffering in this life. There is no escaping
that. The question is how to benefit from it individually unto our everlasting
glory and happiness in heaven. Suffering and death are part of our debt due
to original sin. Therefore, they are necessary for our good. We must suffer
and, in the end, die. But, why such a debt as this? How can its acceptance be
for our good? Father Remler provides fifteen reasons why we ought to embrace
our trials and tribulations, be they physical or spiritual, for the Priceless
opportunity that every pain provides us in our vocation to be made conformable
to our Savior and King, Jesus Christ. It would be hard to find a book like Father
Remler’s that so wonderfully explains the value of penance in the light
of the patient and enduring acceptance of the cross. Outside of grace, the author
writes, our sins cast no shadow. They are committed in the darkness in which
we chose to wallow, a darkness that will drag us into the pit of hell. Stepping
out of that darkness, into the light of grace, we can come back to God Who is
drawing us to Him through a sincere confession. Once the guilt of our sins has
been remitted, however, their effects remain.
This is the shadow that follows us through life, because only if we are in the light of faith, living in hope and charity, can we see truly the sad effects of our sins, our shadow. The higher the light of Christ is in our lives, the more directly we let it shine upon us by our embrace of suffering, the more the shadow of past transgressions is reduced. Our goal, the will of God, is that this shadow disappear altogether. In some sense this is a very practical book, for it has a foolproof game plan that, if followed well, will cut short dramatically our time of purgation in the next life. But, it is much more than that. This magnificent analysis of suffering, as to its cause, its value, and its ultimate effect (i.e., conformity to Christ, the Man of Sorrows) will give us more strength to bear not only our own cross, but to willingly share in the suffering Jesus endured for all men by accepting, as joyful victims, crosses vicariously borne for sinners within our own family, for our wayward friends, for the crimes of our nation, and for those dear to us who are languishing in Purgatory.
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