God has a sense of humor! This is what I thought – and said – when I began to speak at our parish revival night last week. I had never even been to a revival before coming here, and now I’m a revivalist! God is good, so it went well.
People told me afterwards that it hit home with them, so I thought some of what I said might be helpful for you, too.
Heaven was the focus of my remarks.
With all that is going in our world that can bring us down, I thought that a talk on heaven would revive us and lift up our hearts. I spent quite a bit of time on Romans 8:18
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”
Many of you are suffering now in this present time – with physical pain, family problems, death of a loved one, evil in the world, etc. Some days, it’s really, really bad. Please remember that this was St. Paul’s situation. He suffered a ton for Christ. And yet, he wrote that the suffering is “nothing” compared to the glory that is coming.
He’s talking about heaven! The good involved with heaven is much bigger than the bad involved with suffering in this world. I reminded the congregation what Revelation 21 says, that in heaven “there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain” (v. 4). In heaven, it is all good! When the Church talks about the “greater good,” this is to what Romans 8:18 is referring. God allows suffering to bring about a greater good. Ultimately, the greater good is heaven!
So, when you are given a share in the cross of Christ and experience suffering like He did, be assured of the glory of Heaven that will be so much greater than the suffering is bad.
The goal of life is heaven.
Getting to heaven is what it’s all about! The #1 job of any spouse in marriage is to get the other to heaven. From that, of course, means getting the kids to heaven. Is your spouse going to heaven? Are your kids? You should be praying and offering (small) sacrifices every day for their salvation. The second part is commonly known as “offering it up.”
It means to offer up your suffering for the salvation of others. We Catholics believe in redemptive suffering which means that we can join in the redemptive work of Christ by offering up our share in the Cross for the salvation of others.
He offered his suffering for the salvation of the world. God the Father allowed the Son to suffer in order to bring about a greater good (salvation). He wasn’t punishing Christ for anything he had done. He wasn’t angry with him. He actually has infinite love for His Son, and trusted that he could handle the cross.
For anyone who carries their own cross in union with the Cross of Christ, the same is true. God is not punishing you! In fact, your suffering is a sign of God’s love for you. And, He trusts that you can handle offering up your suffering for the salvation of another (perhaps your spouse and kids).
Offer it up!
May you know the peace of Christ,