Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 5, 2007
COLF discusses pain's mystery
Bearing our cross redeems us
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family has issued a leaflet outlining the theological mystery of suffering.
Published in advance of World Day of the Sick Feb. 11, the reflection "responds to the ongoing debate in Canadian society about the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide."
"Written in a conversational and accessible style, this publication walks the reader through a powerful contemplation of one of life's greatest mysteries: pain and suffering," said COLF Director Michele Boulva.
The leaflet begins with an anecdote about Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger, the former archbishop of Montreal, who nearing the end of his life and suffering from illness, said of the elderly in nursing homes: "So much unused suffering!"
"Useless?" The pamphlet asks.
"Can suffering be useful? The discovery that it can be allows men and women to face suffering with courage and perseverance, knowing that they are achieving something for the kingdom of God."
The pamphlet explains how sin and suffering came into the world through the disobedience of men and women, but how God, through Jesus Christ, revealed his love and the opportunity for reconciliation.
Bear the cross
It also outlines how, by taking up our cross daily, we can become co-redeemers with Christ.
"Throughout his or her life, each baptized person is called to be another Christ - Christ the Servant who walks with his friends and helps them to rise to their challenges, supporting them at the time of their suffering so that they remain courageous until the natural end of their lives."
"No, suffering is not useless. And it does not diminish human dignity.
"Hanging on the wood of the cross, disfigured, unrecognizable, Christ was not undignified."
"Human dignity depends neither on the quality of our lives nor on our autonomy.
"It finds its source in God, who created us in his image and likeness and who calls each of us to live and die in the manner of Christ - to bring the world back to him."
The pamphlet may be read and printed copies ordered via the COLF website www.colf.ca. Pamphlets may also be obtained by writing COLF, 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa K1H 2J2, or phoning 613-241-9461.