聖保祿宗徒致哥羅森人的書信中寫道：「如今，我在為你們受苦，反覺高興，因為這樣我可在我的肉身上，為基督的身體——教會，補充基督的苦難所欠缺的...（1:24）。」也許我們會問：什麼是基督的苦難所欠缺的呢？教宗庇護十二世Pius XII指出: 論為世人賺取為得救所需要的恩寵而論，基督的苦難並沒有欠缺。但論到將救贖的恩寵分施與靈魂，天主卻要求我們作出配合。
諾培德修會Norbertine Order有兩位熱愛十字架的會士：真福雅各伯.科納Bl. James Kern和真福包尼斯洛華Bl. Bronislava。
福女包尼斯洛華（1203-1259）是波蘭克拉科夫城的修女。她在世時克拉科夫城曾兩次被破壞, 加上當時歐洲瘟疫猖獗，人民受盡苦痛。福女為人民服務, 作他們的「安慰天使」。她從默想基督苦難和敬禮十字聖架獲得力量。耶穌有一次告訴福女說：「妳的十字架也是我的十字架，我的榮耀也是妳的榮耀。」福女在苦痛中滿懷希望, 因為她矢信苦難日之後便是復活日的彿曉。
We are now in Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. On Good Friday, Jesus carried the Cross walking out of Jerusalem to die for us. In this article, we are going to contemplate the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery---the Carrying of the Cross.
Biblical Solutions for Human Sufferings
The Cross is the symbol of human sufferings. In the Scriptures, different solutions have been given for us to understanding the mystery of suffering.
An early solution was to attribute the cause of evil to personal sin. Evils on earth are the results of the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:16-19).
The second solution is that of compensation. Those who are suffering now will prosper in the time of messianic bounty. While the sinners who are enjoying pleasure now, will be deprived of good fortune in the future (Luke 6: 20-26; 16:19-26)
The third solution is to see suffering as an educating punishment. The Book of Deuteronomy (4: 25-32) drew the people’s attention to the teaching of God through suffering in the four-phase cycle repeated throughout history: 1. The people were unfaithful, 2. God chastised them through suffering, 3. The people turned to God, 4. God sent them a liberator and brought peace to the people.
The best solution is that of expiation. Suffering can become instrument of salvation. Jesus freely accepted suffering for our salvation and He invites us to do likewise.
In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul wrote that “[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the Church” (1:24). We might ask: What are the things that are wanting? Pope Pius XII pointed out in regard to the winning of grace for the salvation mankind, there is nothing lacking in the sufferings of Christ. But in regard to the applying the saving grace to souls, God does demand our co-operations. And these are the things that are wanting. Prayer and sacrifice are indispensable in applying the saving grace of Christ to souls. Our Lady herself told the children in Fatima that “Many souls go to Hell because they have no one to pray and sacrifice for them.”
One of the most important sacrifices we can make is to accept our daily crosses. Suffering can become instrument of salvation.
Lovers of the Cross
There are two Blessed from the Norbertine Order who had special love for the Cross: Blessed James Kern and Blessed Bronislava.
Blessed James Kern (1897-1924) was a soldier in World War I. He returned from the war badly wounded. In 1920 he entered the Norbertine Order in Austria, and was ordained a priest two years later. At his first Mass, he said, “The Passion would follow this Palm Sunday.” The thoughts of atonement were constantly on his mind. He regarded the excruciating pain from his war wound as expiation for a fellow religious who went astray by founding the Czech National Church in opposition to Rome. Kern preached from the heart and his sermons touched many. People referred him as the “good Father James.” Kern said, "In all times, God desires some men to work, other to suffer and if the Lord has chosen me to suffer, I will suffer as long as the Lord wants." In 1924 his health condition worsened, and he died on October 20.
Blessed Bronislava (1203-1259) was a Polish nun in Cracow. During her time, Cracow was twice destroyed and Europe was ravaged by the plague. Blessed Bronislava was an “angel of consolation” to the suffering people. Her own strength came from meditation on the Passion of Christ and veneration of the Holy Cross. Jesus once told her, “your cross is my cross; my glory will also be yours.” She was a woman of hope believing that the dawn of the Resurrection will follow Good Friday.
May we see the cross not as instrument of torture, but means of salvation.