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April 01, 2014 - That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness. This month Pope Francis directs our thoughts and prayers to a group of people who need to hear the Gospel, its good news that suffering and death are not the end of our story. Suffering—our own or someone else’s--tests our faith. We wonder how a good, all-loving, and all-powerful God can allow people to suffer. Why doesn’t God do something? Often the suffering experience darkness and silence. But the message of Christianity is that God loves us so much that he became one of us in order to share our life, even its sorrows and pain and death itself. Then he rose from the dead and triumphed over death, not just for himself but for all. This is the hope we bring to the suffering. We can also remind the suffering that their lives have purpose, and that their pain, when united to Christ’s cross, is a powerful prayer. At the end of the Second Vatican Council the bishops, addressing the poor, the sick, and the suffering, said: “All of you who feel heavily the weight of the cross, you the unknown victims of suffering, take courage. You are the preferred children of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of hope, happiness and life. You are the brothers of the suffering Christ, and with Him, if you wish, you are saving the world. You have been called by Christ and are His living and transparent image.” This is a hope that only the Risen Lord— Victor over sin, suffering, and death—can give. This is the hope we ask may be given to those tested by pain and sickness.


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