The hope of being transformed or transfigured into the image of God awaits all of God’s children. We walk through this life knowing that our eternal destiny is to be like God and live eternally in his presence. How does this truth about who we can become change the way we live today? Does it even matter to us that we are called to a higher purpose that is often quite different than the one we fabricate for ourselves here on earth? A transformed, eternal life is God’s desire for all of his daughters and sons. Knowing this helps us put suffering in perspective and walk peacefully with hope in our hearts.
When we suffer, we can easily find ourselves thinking that we have been abandoned by God or have done something to displease him and are now paying the price. Suffering is not God’s fault. The reality of suffering and death is much more complicated than this and even somewhat mysterious. When Jesus preached the Gospel, it was made clear that suffering has meaning and always brings with it new life. It requires faith in order to understand this mystery. The Gospel brings us new life both here and in the life to come. This is truly Good News! When this Good News is understood by the believer it stirs within us a passion to urgently preach this healing and life-giving message to others.
Parishioners- singing, forgetfulness, driving
Teasing with woman
Persistence / perseverance in prayer
“Lord, help me”
Many of God’s children carry the cross of addiction. There are many types of addiction including alcohol, drugs, gamblings, pornography, eating and smoking addictions. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.
People who suffer from addiction have a disease — they are not weak in character and they do not want to be addicted. They have a deep longing to be well. The guilt and shame that comes with their addiction only feed their addiction, driving them further and further away from any hope of recovery. Addiction is in fact, a family disease. Many families suffer quietly in pain from the destruction that addiction has caused.
The biggest barriers to seeking help for addiction can be denial on the part of the individual and a perceived stigma in seeking help. Increased education and understanding and undoubtedly prayer from everyone in the Church can help break these barriers.
Educating yourself about addiction is a form of self-assessment and a way to find methods of healing and care. We’ve listed some online resources below, but Fr Greg is also available to offer hope and help to anyone suffering from addiction. There are 12 step program meetings in the area for anyone wanting to participate as they seek recovery. If you, someone in your family or a friend is struggling because of someone they know with addictions, Al-anon meetings are a good alternative.
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,
Fr. Greg Shaffer
3401 Martin Luther King Jr. AVE, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Fr. Greg Cell: 240-463-9960
Outreach Center: 202-561-5941
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