Refuges

Suffering, Pain & Forgiveness

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

For Jesus, the hour of great darkness happened after the Last Supper, in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.

The abandonment of His disciples, the scourging at the Pillar, the Crown of Thorns, the carrying of the Cross, the road to Golgotha and His horrifying death on the wooden cross was not just the fulfillment of Old Testimony prophecy, but an act of inordinate generosity, sacrifice and love. God loves us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son for our salvation from the hands of Hell. His objective was simple but magnificent: to die in order to purchase and procure for us the forgiveness of sin.

Yet, as soon as Christ was nailed to the cross, He prayed for those who crucified Him!

 

The Teaching of Jesus –Pain, Suffering and Forgiveness

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God-Romans 3:23

If any man says he has no sin he is a liar and the truth is not in him. 1 John 1:8.

In short, we are all sinners and currently need, or will soon need, forgiveness.

All of humanity sinned in Adam when he ate the forbidden fruit. Adam's sin, its responsibility, and its trouble were imputed to all of his descendants, all of his descendants that are now born and have been born (or will be born) inherited the sin of Adam. We all have a sinful nature which makes sin inevitable, and makes us by nature the "children of anger."

 

Due to our sinful nature, we inflict pain and suffering on others.

Why do we hurt and cause pain and hurt to each other? What is it that drives us to hurt and cause pain to others---even when we know it is wrong? Answer: Our sinful nature.

The Ten Commandments were given to us by God on Mount Sinai in order to help us avoid sin and its painful consequences. God is very direct and simple; we complicate Him with our own prejudices, inclinations, negative attitudes and other weak areas of our human nature.

 

Testimony related to pain, suffering and forgiveness:
  1. As I was growing up, around the age of seven, I was playing outside the window of my grandmother’s house. I heard my grandfather accusing me of breaking and stealing items from a neighbor. He said that I was the oldest of the grandchildren; he assumed I must be the ring-leader to my cousins and that I was to blame for stealing. I was very hurt because I had nothing to do with the crime. Immediately, I developed anger towards my grandfather and began to dislike him. I never really forgave him. Unfortunately, when he died, I refused to attend his funeral.
  2. I came from a very poor family in the barrios of San Antonio; we lived in a one bedroom home with 9 brothers and sisters. We only had one bed, and all of us slept on the floor. I started to work at the age of 5, and began by selling fruit from house to house. I would always give my mother the money I made, and she would give me back 25 cents. I was happy with that because I knew that we all needed to eat, and the money was needed to feed and clothe the family. At the age of 12, I started to save a little money to possibly purchase a used car to prepare for school. Thus, I saved my nickels and dimes for almost 3 years. Then, I found a very cheap 1945 Chevy, and I had enough money to buy it. I was not yet of age to drive, so that after walking home from school, I would sit in my car and pretend that I was driving. Then, I always did my homework in my dream car, happily thanking God for my good fortune. One day, as I was walking home from school, I noticed something strange. My car was gone! I ran inside our home, asking my mom about the car. She told me that she had given it away to my uncle whose car had broken down. I started to cry within, and my eyes became watery. I had saved my money for over 3 years and now my car was gone! Again, anger towards my mom began to build, and although I loved my mom, I found it hard to forgive her for this decision.
  3. Growing up I began to notice that some neighbors had not spoken to each other for many years. Often, there was a lot of animosity on both sides, even at the mention of a name. I asked them why, and many times, they could not remember how the battles started. I witnessed this all over my neighborhood-where there was neither forgiveness nor reconciliation due to anger, judgment and pride.
  4. I know a wonderful Catholic lady who was very hurt by the way her husband’s funeral was conducted. The visiting priest did not conduct the Mass in the manner that she was accustomed (for example-ringing the customary bells). She is a very good and kind woman, but has great difficulty forgiving her priest.
  5. My sister, who is blessed with many beautiful mystical gifts, went to her pastor and shared her spiritual experiences regarding God. He told her she was mentally ill, and suggested she commit herself to a mental hospital. She left the Catholic Church, and was welcomed with open arms at a Protestant church. She forgave the priest, but refuses to come back to the Catholic Church.
  6. King David was well acquainted with sin and forgiveness. Psalm 51 was written after Nathan the prophet had come to inform David of God's judgment against him because of his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah, her husband. Yet David is described as a man after God's own heart because he was repentant. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:1-3. In Psalm 32 he expresses the joy he felt over God's love and forgiveness.

 

These are personal stories, but we also see pain and suffering on the world stage:
  1. Disturbing violence fills the international headlines: ISIL is beheading journalists, crucifying Christians and exterminating Yazidis. Mexican drug cartels run rampant, leaving headless corpses in their wake—and they are increasingly setting up shop on our side of the border. Gang rape is a big problem in India, Australia and Great Britain as police battle sex slave rings.
  2. At the same time, domestically, Christian beliefs are receding into darkness: California is forcing Catholic institutions to pay for abortions—which the HHS Mandate is designed to do, eventually, nationwide. The Ferguson riots reveal a deep racial divide—and expose how quickly rioting and looting can take hold in a major American city. Catholic (and Jewish and Muslim and Buddhist) beliefs about marriage and family are denounced as bigotry and given no rights.

We are in the midst of a Third World War, says Pope Francis
August 21st, 2014 by Hannah Roberts in Rome

Pope Francis lamented the growing number of conflicts across the globe, saying that we "are now in World War III". He told journalists on board the papal plane: "Today we are in a world at war everywhere. ‘Father, we are in World War III, but spread out in small pockets everywhere".

In an extraordinary intervention, the Pope on Monday implied that military action might be necessary to stop the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, though he ruled out the use of bombs. More than 100,000 Christians have been driven from their homes by Islamist terrorists.

He said that he is considering going to northern Iraq to show solidarity with those who have been murdered, raped and exiled by the IS. He added that strong measures were "justified" – so long as these were not the acts of only one country. "In those cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor," he said. "I underscore the verb ‘stop’. I don’t say ‘to bomb’ or to ‘make war’, but to ‘stop’."

Pope Francis continued. "Today children do not count. Once they spoke about a conventional war, today that does not count. I’m not saying that conventional wars were good things, but today a bomb is sent and it kills the innocent, the guilty, children, women – they kill everybody. No! We must stop and think a little about the level of cruelty at which we have arrived. This should frighten us."

The Pope went on to condemn the way torture had become "almost ordinary". "I tell Catholics that to torture a person is a mortal sin, a grave sin. But it’s more, it’s a sin against humanity," he said.

 

Where is all this coming from?

You guessed it – evil- orchestrated by satan and his demons-whose only objective is to destroy mankind and to gather as many souls as he can to take them to Hell for all eternity.

Many of us have been hurt by people in our lives for various reasons. Walls of anger, resentment and even hatred start to build and continue to get larger. I am always amazed as to how much division, misunderstanding and jealously exists-sadly even among family and those we assume are friends-frequently destroying each other with lies, gossip, distortions and accusations.

Even beyond such unfortunate, if commonplace wrongs such as gossip and lies, I have heard horror stories of truly huge injustices and abuses. Sometimes, there is abuse-- physical, psychological, or sexual--- by parents or others that should have been responsible and trustworthy. After listening to a tearful man or woman ask, "How can you expect me to forgive someone like that? How can God expect me to forgive?" I can only imagine how difficult it must be to forgive in such situations.

However, let’s look to the cross…. Jesus experienced extreme physical torture, horrendous psychological persecution and severe rejection at the hands of men. If anyone in the universe can understand what an abused person feels, it is Jesus. And it is Jesus who calls us to forgive those who have wronged us.

 

This place of pain is where forgiveness needs to take place:

Forgiveness can be tough, but it is truly the key to God’s Heart. If we want to prepare spiritually for the coming times, this is a MAIN EVENT that must occur within our spirits.

One of the most difficult spiritual areas that I have encountered is in asking people to forgive all those that have caused them pain and suffering. The most common answer I get is: "I can forgive but I will not forget." A lot of us, when we say we have forgiven but continue to dwell on the past, really have not forgiven with a sincere heart.

There are three simple steps I encourage myself and others to follow in giving and receiving forgiveness:

First, it is important to acknowledge that we do not have the power to sincerely forgive on our own. I believe that we can only truly forgive through the love and grace of God by first asking Him for the grace to truly forgive.

…And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t lead us not unto temptation but deliver us from all evil.
[Luke 11:1-4]

Secondly, we must view forgiveness as a spiritual opportunity that is required of us. Jesus teaches us to link our request for His forgiveness with a solid statement of our own, forgiving those who have wronged us: "And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us" (11:4). In simple words, He literally asks us to say: "And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who has sinned, grieved, wronged, mistreated or offended us"

Third, Jesus offers us healing and help as we forgive the one who seems to be unforgivable. Ask His help in finalizing whatever steps you may need to take to be truly free. We may need to go to Reconciliation, share our pain, write a letter or confront an offense in some practical way. Ask His guidance in leading you through the necessary steps in this crucial process of forgiveness.

Moreover, and most important of all, it is the forgiveness we receive through Jesus that allows us to forgive others. The more we truly understand God’s forgiveness of our many offenses, the more we are able to forgive those who have wronged us.

Genuine forgiveness may not happen quickly. It is also important to know that sincere forgiveness doesn’t minimize either the wrong or the pain it has caused. Actually, forgiveness says, "Though I was truly wronged, I will not allow that wrong to control my thoughts or actions-my life. Though I was intensely hurt, I will not allow the hurt to harden my heart. Instead, I will release the wrong. I will give it over to the Lord."

Forgiveness can, and frequently does result, in reconciliation between us and others, between us and our God. When we forgive, we allow the Lord to work in us and to touch and heal us, restoring us and healing us profoundly. The barriers of fear, hurt, and anger come down, and we allow the grace of God into us, so that we can now truly reflect our Jesus. We can then accomplish our mission with a free and righteous spirit.

 

PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the forgiveness you offer through Jesus Christ. Thank you for the riches of your grace, by which we are forgiven beyond measure. Thank you for allowing us to experience the joy and freedom of forgiveness as we confess our sin to you and ask you to forgive us. And thank you for the way our experience of being forgiven by you enables us to forgive others.

But, as you know, sometimes it is very hard to forgive. Sometimes the wrongs are so pernicious and the wounds so painful that forgiveness seems impossible. Your call to forgive is clear, but we feel inadequate to live up to it. Or sometimes we don’t even want to.

So, gracious God, we ask for your help. May our experience of your grace both heal and transform us. May it give us courage to forgive even when we have been terribly wronged.

Today, I pray especially for those who are struggling to forgive. Open their hearts to your loving presence. Impress upon them the majesty of your mercy. Help them to trust you even to the point of forgiving those who have hurt them so deeply.

All praise be to you, God of grace and mercy, God of healing and reconciliation. Amen.

 

God’s Love

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.

It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever...

There are three things that remain -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13; 1 -12

 

Why did I write on the suffering of Jesus for our Salvation and the sin in the World today?

When you look at all the sin that is taking place today, and Our Lady crying and telling us about the suffering of Her Son Jesus today, we cannot even imagine or come close to the pain and suffering that Jesus endures each second of our lives. If we were to put all the sin of the world from the beginning of time to the present; can you imagine the Enormous Cross that Jesus is carrying for our salvation? Jesus has taken upon Himself all the sins of mankind to bring each of us to Salvation, and save us from eternity in Hell. Yet, we continue to sin. How long can God the Father continue to see His Son Jesus suffers for an ungrateful people like us? Our Lady has told us in various apparitions; La Sallette, Fatima, Akita, Medugorge and many other apparitions, of the Wrath that is coming to the world because of our sins which are causing the suffering of Jesus. Our Lady has indicated that She does not know how long She can hold back the Wrath of God the Father towards mankind.

John-Servant of God



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