Free-Will and Suffering

planet_collide0

Should God have ended the world when Adam and Eve sinned?

As I tell high-school kids, as soon as Adam and Eve had sinned…There were only three options that God had for a planet spiraling towards total sin:

1) Blow up earth to end both sin and free-will…or…

2) Turn people into robots that would automatically obey, so as to terminate free-will but keep the planet…or…

3) Send a rescuer who could transform the human state of suffering into redemptive suffering.

If you can think of a fourth option, let me know.  In the mean time, notice that only the third option allows for free-will.

Because option #3 allows for free-will to continue among both the good and evil people on this blue planet, it is the only option that allows for either love or harming people until the end of time.

For example, if a woman is choosing to offer up her suffering for her children after her husband was killed by a drunk driver, she can only choose to unite her redemptive suffering to Christ’s infinite merits of the cross precisely because she lives in a world where someone else can choose to drive drunk.  This is why widows must live side-by-side with drunk drivers until the final judgment.

We each have the option to continue the cycle of suffering and sin, or… we can choose to escape from that horrible cycle.  Baptism ends sin (original sin, at least, and actual sin in the lives of some saints) but suffering continues for them.  However, their suffering then ceases to have a certain mental pain, as God said to St. Catherine of Siena.  When you carry the cross God has allowed in your life, your suffering can become redemptive because it more easily fits with the merits of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  With Christ, we escape the red patten to the left in favor of the orange trajectory, a different trajectory of suffering:

22c002af223a0f8468294e11aa427e33

This is only possible by the cross.  I put the cross in blue for two reasons. The vertical blue bar shows that Mary gave God the one thing He didn’t have: The ability to die. This symbolizes Christ’s incarnation and His approach to us. Secondly, our incorporation into the mystical body of Christ happens in the waters of baptism (the horizontal blue line.) As St. Peter writes, “It is baptism that now saves you.”—1 Pt 3:21. Suffering has little value in  itself until it be incorporated into the suffering mystical body of Christ. This happens at baptism, because it is at that moment that we receive all of the merits of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ as a free gift of redemption.  The best description of death to oneself, baptism, and this new life can be found in Romans 6:3-11.

Death is the cycle to the left.  The requirement for new life is: a new life.  The gift of the cross is free (gratis) to us at the high price Jesus paid for us in his 17 hours of torture…nay, His whole life lived for us.  But, for salvation to be realized, we must cooperate.  The cross doesn’t offer an escape from suffering but it does offer an escape from sin, and that part is up to our cooperation with grace in living in our free will as we become transformed, divinized sons and daughters of God.

We are then given the chance on this earth to let our sufferings be united to those of Jesus (through Mary) so as to become participators in redemptive suffering.  Again, in itself, suffering has no value.  But joined to the cross, it helps redeem the world.  It helps pull more people out of the cycle on the left to the orange bar on the right.  This is all that the old-school (and now new-school) nuns meant when they said “Offer it up.”  It all comes from what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church.”—Col 1:24.

What is lacking or wanting in the suffering of Jesus?  Nothing except my participation.  It was 100%, but that 100% continues in His mystical body.  As long as sin continues on the earth, so also must the suffering of Christians.  It is a gift, not a burden, and it is joined to Christ’s sufferings at the nearest Mass.  That is why both the suffering of the Mystical Body and the Mass continue until the end of time.

At the final judgment, the left cycle will continue in hell.  However, the right trajectory will become heaven.

Here on earth, both cycles have to suffer.  So, if you have your choice between the devil’s eternal cross and Jesus’ temporary cross, why not avoid sin and choose the pattern to the right?