New Creation through Suffering
In the book of Genesis, the story of creation starts with the words “In the beginning, God created… and on the seventh day, He rested.” In a sense, creation was “over,” but in another, it was not, because every time a man and a woman beget a child, a new human being with a mortal body and an immortal soul comes into existence, a body and soul they and others can nurture, which means men and women have the honor of participating in God’s ongoing creation.
When Adam and Eve trusted in Satan’s lie that “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5) and committed the Original Sin, pain, sorrow and death entered the world. Man’s communion with God was ruptured. The gravity of this sin was such that besides losing sanctifying grace, man became “concupiscent” or inclined toward sin, preferring to satisfy his own desires and do his own will as opposed to doing the benevolent will of his Creator. Nonetheless, God’s affection for man continued, and already in Genesis 3:15, Adam and Eve are promised a Redeemer: “I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for His heel.”
In order to restore man’s relation with God, what is sometimes called a “new creation” occurred: Mary, the “new Eve,” who was “full of grace” and therefore without Original Sin, trusted God and said “Be it done unto me according to Thy word.” Her Son Jesus, the “new Adam,” conceived by the Holy Spirit, was and is, a Divine Person, with a divine and a human nature. After saying, “Not My will but Thy Will be done,” Jesus, through His suffering and death on the cross, restored man to communion with God and became the new Tree of Life. The sacraments He instituted are the Fruit of that Tree. The Church, the “Bride of Christ” came forth from the side of Christ when He died on the cross. Each of us children of the Church and “heirs of Christ” has the choice of choosing, like Adam and Eve, whether to trust and follow the Word of God, or the temptation “to be like God” and seal our fate accordingly.
We have the honor of participating in this “new creation” when we join our prayers, works and sufferings to Jesus’ own for the redemption of souls. During Holy Week (Palm Sunday-Holy Saturday), we are reminded that the joy of Easter (Resurrection to Eternal Life) is preceded by the willing acceptance of the cross: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” And, “Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.”
St. Paul alludes to this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Cor 5:17) And, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church…” (Col 1:24)
The late Fr. John Hardon, S.J. (1914-2000) wrote about participating in Jesus’ salvific mission in a superb essay titled The Apostolate of Suffering. You may wish save it for reference, or to share it with others.
Please continue to support your station through your prayers, by telling others, offering to volunteer and a financial contribution if possible.
A blessed Holy Week and a Happy Easter,