Sufferin’ Succotash

I recently watched a 60-minute movie on EWTN – a blend of drama and documentary – on Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa.  Here’s a link if you wish to know more:

She kept diaries – reminiscent of Saint Faustina – detailing her conversations with Christ.  In the majority of these conversations, Christ rewarded her sanctity and faithfulness with more and greater suffering, which is so hard to get one’s arms around, because it is so counter-intuitive.  Maybe it is because of the way we are raised as children if we have good parents: if you are “good”, you get rewarded, if you are “bad”, you get disciplined in a proportionate way. In the Old Testament when Israel was “good”, things went well for them; when they were “bad”, not so much.  I can grasp Christ’s Passion as a proof of the Divine Love for mankind; I don’t have the IQ points to understand the concept of suffering as a “cosmic balancing of the scales”.  Christ used the word “reparation” a lot, in the context of joining Him in suffering was reparation for the terrible sins being committed during the 20th century.  There is a corporate aspect of sin.  From Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’s Apologia (247)

“The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.”

We can find it easy to think that our sanctity or lack thereof of is between us and Jesus, but the sins of one affect the entire Body of Christ, so it seems.  I can’t explain it from a theological standpoint; maybe one day the light will come on for me.  I just cling to the fact that’s there’s one God, and I’m not Him.

I reflect on this regard this suffering going on in my immediate family at present, cancer and uncertainty about cancer.  Yet this program about Blessed Alexandrina rocked my world quite a bit.  My own personal sufferings are pathetic compared to what this woman went through.  I offer “reparations” every Friday by eschewing meat and coffee, but more than once I’ve stopped at Starbucks on Friday morning on my way to work and had a chai latte because of the burgeoning headache – hey, it’s not coffee! –  so I don’t know how truly united to Christ my so-called sufferings are.  She lived on nothing but the Eucharist for 13 years; between meals at work I’m frequently stuffing my face with something because waiting until mealtime is just too uncomfortable.  I live in a house with central air and cable and a refrigerator that’s always stocked, so suffering is relative obviously.  Why is your average Catholic Haitian – with a dirt-floored shack and without two nickels to rub together– joyful in spite of earthquakes, hurricanes, and political instability, while I’m Mr. Grumpy Cat because someone drank my last Frappucino?  I don’t have a good answer, which makes me grumpier.

Lord forgive me, a pathetic weak sinner, my pathetic weak sinfulness, and bring me into deeper friendship with you. Amen.

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One Comment on “Sufferin’ Succotash”

  1. Stan Sikorski Says:

    How is Mary doing?


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