Monday, April 6, 2009

Paradox of the Passion

As Good Friday approaches I am reflecting on the suffering of Christ and my own experience of suffering. His suffering, infinitely greater than my own, was sacrificial, purposeful, and an act of love for others. Through His suffering and death he gave us eternal life. He gave meaning to suffering by giving us the ability to offer our trials, pain, and hurts as a gift for others.

Not so easy.

I care for sick and suffering people every day and witness the gamut of responses. Some people in their trials are peaceful, calm, and continue to reach out to loved ones. Others just aren't even in the same ballpark. Been there myself. So many of us in our trials become to enveloped in our misery that we are blind to all but our own pain. Yet we are called to more than that. Everyone suffers, without exception. Loved ones become ill and die, tragedy and economic hardship strike, relationships suffer and crumble, and the list goes on. Jesus doesn't want us to retreat into ourselves; He didn't.

Sister said "offer it up". She was right. Every one of us will suffer. Let's use that pain as an offering for those we love, for the world. Let's offer it up as our OWN sacrifice. This Friday, pay attention to the Gospel. Jesus will tell us how.

Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR, is an awesome monk in the Bronx. He ran the streets before Christ called him to task, and he really makes an impact through his music.


  1. Don't know if you ever seen this before but the first part of your post reminded me of this little story:

    The Mayonnaise Jar

    When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar... and the coffee...

    A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

    So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

    The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

    The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

    "Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, " I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things-your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions-things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else-the small stuff."

    "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

    One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

    The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

  2. Hey Dave,
    awesome post. It is so hard to suffer and not retreat into oneself! We definitely need God's grace to do it. Thanks for such a good reminder.And for some Fr Stan! Love him!


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