May 24, 2012

Suffering Can Be Powerful

Fr. Tad
Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D in his Making Sense of Bioethics column in The Catholic Light speaks about Powerlessness, Or the Hidden Power in Our Suffering? (The Catholic Light) According to studies, patients with serious illness indicated that what they wanted most in their condition was to achieve a "sense of control" even though just the opposite, a total loss of control, may be the reality. Fr. Tad's answer: "Even when those disintegrative forces become extreme and our suffering may seem overwhelming...
taking a new 'road less traveled', a path that unexpectedly, enables us to achieve genuine control in the face of death" is possible. That plan for achieving control then is "to align ourselves in our suffering and weakness with God and His redemptive designs... radically embracing our particular path to death, actively offered on behalf of others and in union with Christ, manifesting our concern for the spiritual welfare of others, especially our friends and those closest to us. We are inwardly marked by a profound need to sacrifice and give of ourselves, a need that manifests our inner capacity to love and be loved. As no one had ever done before, Jesus charted the path of love - driven sacrifice, choosing to lay down his life for His friends. ... By spiritually embracing in God that specific path to death, our freedom is elevated to new heights; indeed, we 'achieve control' in the most important way possible, through willed surrender and radical gift in our innermost depths... as we are 'nailed' to our hospital bed, our active, inward embrace of the cross unleashes important graces for ourselves and others. This radical and truly Franciscan 'emptying of self' echoes St. Paul's famous passage: My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." JMJ. Mick, OFS