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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Redemptive Suffering Redux

With Pope John Paul II's latest difficulties, it is fitting again to look at his example of following the Way of the Cross. George Weigel, as usual, gives us a solid account of the pope's discipleship. In the face of the cries for him to step down, as well as the consistent poll numbers (NYT free reg. req'd) indicating a majority of Americans support starving Terri Schiavo, Weigel points his finger at a gaping whole in today's society:
Contemporary Western culture doesn't have much truck with suffering. We avoid it if possible. We sequester it when it becomes unavoidable: How many of us will die at home? Embracing suffering is a concept alien to us. And yet suffering embraced in obedience to God's will is at the center of Christianity. The Christ whose passion more than a billion and a half Christians commemorate this week is not portrayed in the Gospels as someone to whom suffering just happened -- a prophet with the typical prophet's run of bad luck. The Christ of the Gospels reaches out and embraces suffering as his destiny, his vocation -- and is vindicated in that self-sacrifice on Easter.

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