Connecting To Christ through Pain and Suffering

Dec 18 09:16 2005 Eric J Engel Print This Article

In all the passages in the four gospels, there are two that really stand out as testaments to Christ’s humanity. The first one is obviously the prayer from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” What inspiration this offers to the suffering. Here hangs Christ, at the hour of fulfillment. At his most admirable moment…while He is in total conformity to God’s will. And He feels abandoned. If any person out there hasn’t felt abandoned by God, it’s because they never felt in company with God.

The other event isn’t quite as obvious,Guest Posting and is only reported in Luke. It’s the small exchange between Christ and the good thief. Where the first one relates to man’s relationship with God, this one relates to man’s relationship with man.

It’s easy to see the connection to Christ’s parable of the “Prodigal Son”. The thief asks Christ to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. Christ tells hime that “on this day, you will be with me in paradise.”

When the thief utters his acceptance of guilt and pleads for mercy, Christ breaks all precedence. At the thief’s last hour, he becomes one of the few men we know for certain is in heaven. But looking at it from a more personal level, it’s about more than just mercy. It’s about companionship.

I’ll never forget my childhood school days. Sadly, I spent much of it sitting outside the principal’s office anticipating a punishment. The list of my offenses is long, and I won’t begin to mention them. Most of the time, I was waiting out in that hallway alone. But every now and then, there was someone to share my state of dread.

In short, misery loves company. No one wants to go through something alone…and Christ was no exception. His punishment was different from the thief’s because Christ hadn’t actually committed a crime. But when the thief asked to be remembered, it was more than a petition. It was “We’re in this together…even though I deserve it and you don’t.” So it’s no wonder that Christ promised to take him the whole way, even after death.

While we’re going through pain and suffering in life, it helps to remember that we’re sharing something with Christ. Offer your pain to Him as sign of your commitment. “I’m here for you…be there with me at the hour of death.” Remember that every one shares Christ’s joy and gladness. But suffering connects us to Christ at His hour of fulfillment in a deep, personal way. And the second person of the Trinity still finds satisfaction from this personal connection

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Eric J Engel
Eric J Engel

Written by Eric Engel, chief editor of The Catholic Letter at

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