Redemptive suffering


Redemptive suffering

Redemptive suffering is the Roman Catholic belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one's sins or for the sins of another. Like an indulgence, redemptive suffering does not gain the individual forgiveness for their sin; forgiveness results from God’s grace, freely given through Christ, which cannot be earned. After one's sins are forgiven, the individual's suffering can reduce the penalty due for sin.

Contents

Catholic theology

Christians believe that God loves mankind so much that He made Himself human in Jesus in order to redeem mankind:

"For God so loved the earth that he gave his only son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)[1]

It is believed that Jesus freed mankind from the bondage of sin:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." (Epistle to the Galatians 5:1)[1]

Thus one may consider that God paid for mankind's freedom from sin in His human incarnation:

"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (First Epistle to the Corinthians 6:20)[1]

The belief is that the price that God, in Jesus, paid for the redemption of mankind, is the Passion, that is, his suffering and agony that led directly to his Crucifixion. Christians believe that, as members of the Church, they are members of the body of Jesus Christ:

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (Epistle to the Romans 12:4–5)[1]
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid." (1 Cor 6:15)[1]

Hence, orthodox Catholic theology presents the belief that our suffering can be united to that of Christ and so in union with His Passion:

"As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross." (Gospel of Matthew 27:32)
"Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." (Epistle to the Colossians 1:24)[2]

In sum, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Christ "calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]" (Matthew 16:24) for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps. (1 Pet. 2:21)"

Forms

Life presents the ordinary human being with ample unasked-for occasions to practice redemptive suffering. However, religious practitioners in various traditions have found spiritual benefits from voluntarily bringing upon themselves additional pain and discomfort through corporal mortification. One extreme example of redemptive suffering, which existed in the 13th and 14th centuries in Europe, was the Flagellants. As a partial response to the Black Death, these radicals, who were later condemned as heretics in the Catholic Church, engaged in body mortification, usually by whipping themselves, to repent for their sins, which they believed led to the Black Death. The Flagellants quickly developed a large following throughout Central Europe, as they undertook militant pilgrimages across parts of the continent.

Criticism

The notion that suffering is or can be redemptive has been criticized, such as by self-described Catholic atheist George Santayana, who wrote that "If pain could have cured us we should long ago have been saved."[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e King James Version of the Bible
  2. ^ New International Version
  3. ^ Santayana, George (1905). The Life of Reason. New York: Scribner's. p. 224. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Suffering — This article is about suffering or pain in the broadest sense. For physical pain, see Pain. For other uses, see The Suffering. Tragic mask on the façade of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm Suffering, or pain in a broad sense,[1] is …   Wikipedia

  • redemptive — adjective Date: 15th century of, relating to, or bringing about redemption < redemptive suffering > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Myth of redemptive violence — The Myth of Redemptive Violence is an archetypal plot in literature, especially in imperial cultures. One of the oldest versions of this story is the creation myth of Babylon (the Enûma Elish) from around 1250 B.C. Walter Wink coined the term as… …   Wikipedia

  • Anthony B. Pinn — is a contemporary professor and writer whose work focuses on liberation theology, Black religion, and Black humanism. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. [“Anthony B. Pinn …   Wikipedia

  • Sacrifice — (from a Middle English verb meaning to make sacred , from Old French, from Latin sacrificium : sacr , sacred + facere , to make ) is commonly known as the practice of offering food, objects (typically valuables), or the lives of animals or people …   Wikipedia

  • Fatimah — For other people of the same name, see Fatima (name). A series of articles on Fatimah Life Family tree · Fatimah marital life · Descendants · Succession to Muhammad  …   Wikipedia

  • Nicola D'Onofrio — Professed Camillian Seminarian, Servant of God Born March 24, 1943 Villamagna, Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy Died June 12, 1964 Rome, Italy Honored in Cath …   Wikipedia

  • Leid — ist eine Grunderfahrung und bezeichnet als Sammelbegriff alles, was körperlich und seelisch belastet. Unter anderem werden die Nichterfüllung von Bedürfnissen, Hoffnungen und Erwartungen, der Verlust von nahestehenden Individuen, die Trennung von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Crucifixion of Jesus — The Crucifixion , by Vouet, 1622, Genoa The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced …   Wikipedia

  • purgatory — /perr geuh tawr ee, tohr ee/, n., pl. purgatories, adj. n. 1. (in the belief of Roman Catholics and others) a condition or place in which the souls of those dying penitent are purified from venial sins, or undergo the temporal punishment that,… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.