Redemptive Suffering

Galatians 2:19: "With Christ I am nailed to the cross"

Redemptive suffering is the personal sacrifices that Christians unite with Christ's sacrifice He made of Himself to the Father. Crosses carried by members of Christ's mystical body have redemptive value to atone for sin and to call down God's blessings on humanity. Christ views crosses borne with Him as an extension of His cross, as St. Paul in Galatians 2:19–20 writes: "With Christ I am nailed to the cross. And I live, now not I; but  Christ lives in me."

Christians by virtue of their baptism participate in Christ's priesthood. Saint Peter in 1 Peter 2:5 says, "Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Christians are able, therefore, to mingle their drops of blood, sweat and tears with those shed by Christ, as St. Paul in Colossians 1:23-24 writes: "I Paul ... 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."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in paragraph 1502 teaches that all pain, toil and sorrow united to Christ's passion "can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others." In paragraph 1505 the CCC explains, "Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: ... By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion." Paragraph 1521 likewise states that suffering in "union with the passion of Christ ... acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus."

By making what's called the Morning Offering Catholics unite their "prayers, works, joys and sufferings" with the "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" for the "salvation of souls" and in "reparation of sins."

Learn the value of holy suffering in season two of Church Militant's Premium show The One True Faith—Pain and Suffering.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli