Author Topic: Theology of Satisfaction: The value of suffering and Sacrifice to Save Souls.  (Read 994 times)

Offline John Lamb

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Question, do you therefore agree that this "satisfaction" theory of vicarious punishment isn't correct and that pain and suffering weren't "part of the deal"?  Or are you going to split hairs and argue that God is punishing Christ in our stead, but this is different than taking out His wrath.

I don't think the Church has ever taught so-called "penal substitution" (vicarious punishment), which I think only came in with the Protestants. However, there is a subtle (but profound) difference between the Catholic "satisfaction" theory and the Protestant "penal substitution" theory.

According to "penal substitution" – God is angry at sinners and turns all this anger upon Christ until His anger is exhausted; instead of the sinner being punished, Christ is punished.

According to "satisfaction" – yes, God is indeed angry at sinners insofar as they have a debt which His Justice demands payment for, but Christ intercedes with an act of love & pleading that "compels" (so to speak) God to wipe the debt clean.

In the former, God's anger is redirected to Christ, and Christ (amazingly) becomes the object of His wrath. This contradicts what the scriptures say about Christ's sacrifice being a "sweet-smelling odour", because here Christ on the Cross is this abominable mountain of sin which God empties out His wrath upon. In the latter, Christ "persuades" the Father to forego His wrath in favour of mercy, through an act of love which cannot but convince. So Christ on the Cross is still the "adorable Lamb of God", more adorable than the sins of the world are abominable.

It may seem like only a small difference, but in fact it's enormous. If penal substitution is correct, the adoration of the Cross goes out of the window; and at that point, you might feel like staying away from Mass rather than assisting it. With satisfaction, on the other hand, it's clear why we go to Mass – the adorable Lamb of God is made present again on the altar, which infallibly draws down God's mercy & love.

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Lots of questions.  Then what precisely are these victim souls victims of?  Or is the term a misnomer?

They're victims of the sins of mankind, ultimately. We all are to a certain extent. Children who die in infancy are victims of Adam's sin, because they have no sin of their own. Victim souls are those who voluntary take on suffering as an act of atonement for the sins of the world. It's not that God delights in seeing them suffer, it's that the love they show in the midst of their suffering is what delights Him and causes Him to blot out sins. Yes one does not need to suffer in order to love, but when you see someone you love suffering and pleading in the midst of their suffering, it becomes cruel not to grant them what they plead for.

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And how can God be the author of such severe bodily and spiritual pain?

"I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

Gloss: "Create evil": The evils of afflictions and punishments, but not the evil of sin.

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And what does "offering herself up for sinners" actually mean if not vicarious punishment?

See above explanation of satisfaction.

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And is there any concrete evidence of its efficacy?  Surely we should at least have seen mass conversions in the town of Lisieux and the surrounding countryside?  Or are you going to say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The merits of the saints need not necessarily be restricted to any particular place or any particular time. In the case of St. Thérèse, she asked for: "a vast number of little souls . . . a legion of little victims worthy of thy love." She didn't specify any place or time, so I believe these merits of St. Thérèse are still active throughout the world even today.

As for someone who offered up prayers and sacrifices for a particular place & time, see the "Curé of Ars."

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So there is a logical necessity between human suffering and misery and salvation, is that what you are claiming?  This is manifestly false.

Let me ask you this: let's assume the moral and spiritual condition of humanity were much better than it is today.  Would there be more suffering and misery, or less?

There's no logical necessity.

If men were in a much better moral and spiritual condition, then there would almost certainly be less suffering and misery. There is plenty in scripture which attests to this: when men repent, God makes life easier for them. However, this isn't absolutely necessary, because even if this were a generation of saints, we might still suffer more in order to atone for the sins of previous or upcoming generations. But in that case we would be rewarded in heaven.
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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I find it absolutely shocking and reprehensible that you guys are stooping to such a level of immaturity and anger in the form of childish temper tantrums on an internet forum, and patting each other on the backs for doing so.

Yes, but is it any wonder they are so full of rage if they worship such an angry God and become bullies themselves.  What this is also does is sap empathy and compassion which normal people have, seen as weak feminine traits.  When we look at horrible things that have happened in the world in the past, we always get (mixed in with a healthy dose of whataboutism):

The Holocaust.  Well, it was the Jews, and you know what that means.  Besides, the Jewish-owned media made up most of the "Holohoax" anyway.
Slavery.  Well, the "War of Northern Aggression" really wasn't fought over that, you know.  Besides, slavery isn't intrinsically evil.
The Vichy Regime.  It wasn't really all that bad to collaborate with the Nazis, and you known of course how the Jewish-owned media has exaggerated everything anyway.  Marechal Petain is a hero (he actually was in World War I, but his actions during WWII are what is at issue).

Then, at more recent events that hit close to home:
The clerical sex abuse scandals.  Didn't really happen, it was just the result of prosecutors with an ax to grind aided and abetted by the media.  There aren't any or just a few real victims, only opportunists wishing to cash in.
Ditto for the abuse of children at Catholic orphanages.

That's not to say there aren't legitimate debates to be had on all these topics; of course there are.  But it's not a question of legitimate debate but rather of preemptive dismissal of anything which doesn't fit the a priori worldview.  In this these traditionalists are just like the SJW left.  Their threat of violence is just like the SJW "mourn fests" after the election of Donald Trump and will get the same reaction I gave them at the time - mockery.

And just now, we have the defense of a pastor who decided it was a good idea to talk about the immorality of suicide and wonder whether the dead person repented during the homily of a funeral mass of one who committed suicide.  Apparently, the more of an ass you can be, the more devoted you are to preaching the faith.


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Why don't you grow the hell up. You idiots are so mentally immature that you haven't realized that you have proven every one of his points; that Traditional Western Theology only leads people to stand on a platform to judge others and to abdicate their own personal responsibilities rather childishly.

OK then, I rest my case.

 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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According to "satisfaction" – yes, God is indeed angry at sinners insofar as they have a debt which His Justice demands payment for, but Christ intercedes with an act of love & pleading that "compels" (so to speak) God to wipe the debt clean.

I'm accustomed to "satisfaction" meaning that Christ (in some way) directly pays our debt for us.  This here is more like a "reconciliation" theory of the Atonement I'd have no objection to, even though I myself adhere more to the Eastern "By death He destroyed our death" idea.

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They're victims of the sins of mankind, ultimately. We all are to a certain extent. Children who die in infancy are victims of Adam's sin, because they have no sin of their own. Victim souls are those who voluntary take on suffering as an act of atonement for the sins of the world. It's not that God delights in seeing them suffer, it's that the love they show in the midst of their suffering is what delights Him and causes Him to blot out sins. Yes one does not need to suffer in order to love, but when you see someone you love suffering and pleading in the midst of their suffering, it becomes cruel not to grant them what they plead for.

Is Christ's love not sufficient to blot out sins?

And again, I ask you: is Christ only going to convert people on condition of the voluntary suffering of these victim souls?

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And how can God be the author of such severe bodily and spiritual pain?

"I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

Philosophically, God can't be the author of evil.  If there weren't natural processes in place which could account for Therese's bodily condition, the whole thing falls apart.



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The merits of the saints need not necessarily be restricted to any particular place or any particular time. In the case of St. Thérèse, she asked for: "a vast number of little souls . . . a legion of little victims worthy of thy love." She didn't specify any place or time, so I believe these merits of St. Thérèse are still active throughout the world even today.

As for someone who offered up prayers and sacrifices for a particular place & time, see the "Curé of Ars."

OK.

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So there is a logical necessity between human suffering and misery and salvation, is that what you are claiming?  This is manifestly false.

Let me ask you this: let's assume the moral and spiritual condition of humanity were much better than it is today.  Would there be more suffering and misery, or less?

There's no logical necessity.

Alright, so then what's the greater good which logically entails human suffering and misery?

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If men were in a much better moral and spiritual condition, then there would almost certainly be less suffering and misery.

My point exactly.  Yet wouldn't there be more "victim souls" (if this is the epitome of a good spiritual condition) and therefore more suffering and misery?

 

Offline TomD

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And right on cue ...

Anybody need further proof of his purpose on these forums?

Nobody has threatened you, pansy-assed soy boy, but merely observed how one ought to deal, as St. Nicholas did, with a pig-headed, shit-stirring, arrogant twit who won’t go away and with whom argument or any other form of contact has no point, since his soul belongs to Satan and his intention is set on the ruin of faith.

Angry, pissed-off God who demands our misery? Your idea of a deity purposefully created a world not just of the most horrific pain, suffering and death, of horrors and ugliness in the natural world beyond the imaginings of all but the most twisted psychotic criminal and worse than anything cooked up by the most depraved clerical sodomite, but created it through them, woven into its fabric as the means of bringing about his designs, which bespeaks more than just ineptness or impotence but more so a cosmic psychosis. Your hypocrisy has no bounds and your veritably systematic stupidity no end to its depth. And what are you angry at? At those who stubbornly persist in their faith and belief in a supernatural order despite all the attempts of the modern world to destroy it through the worship of a human reason trying to pull itself up by is own bootstraps? How dare such a person be! Well, screw your overreaching science, screw your postmodern philosophastry, screw your precious media, screw yoursentimental, ochlocratic, slave-morality democracy, and screw your crypto-deistic, indifferent god-of-the-gaps. This isn’t anger, it’s laughter at your impotence despite you of the world mustering all your will and power in the never-ending effort to create a world without people like me.

Where El Elyon creates out of nothing through the Aleph and Tav of Genesis 1:1, his Son Yahweh whose light is the self-sacrificial outpouring of the Spirit of love, your demiurge merely “evolves” an existing material world, and he does so in a manner without reason given his supposed power, through
nothing other than chaos, destruction and evil. Your “God” is Satan behind mask.

Yo ho ho. Merry Christmas.



I am not involved in the debate of this forum, but I see this, and I can't help but say this is embarrassing. This is no way to speak as an adult, not to mention, as a Christian. The reason I post is to let you know that I have reported this to the moderators
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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To return to the "angry trad because of the angry God" I agree that there are "angry trads"; but I don't agree that the anger comes from the theological idea of an "angry God"; this isn't a Catholic Concept, and I don't see this idea really prevalent in Western spirituality. The Catholic idea is one of the merciful God who looks to convert the sinner an their salvation. You see this especially in the devotion to the Sacred Heart, where the love of the Sacred Heart seeks those who will love Him in return and offer reparation for the coldness and indifference with which His love is returned by so many.
 Just to take a brief survey of people on this forum: Non Nobis is a convinced Thomist and yet a very mild mannered and courteous poster. Kreuritzer, is Eastern in spirituality, but tends to be a bit aggressive in his posts. Yourself, another Easterner in spirituality, who rejects the 'angry God' theory, yet you tend to "not to take any prisoners" (in your own words), when you post. Gardener, a westerner, and very well balanced. St. Columba, another Westerner, yet hardly an angry word.   
I could go through the list of those that are most active and find that there are people on the list on both sides of the posting spectrum.
So what is my explanation? From my experience, trads tend to be angry from the betrayal that they experience in their journey from the N.O. Back to tradition.  In other words, from the love that they have for the Church, and their realization that that love has been used against them by the modernist authorities to manipulate them into betraying the faith of their fathers and embracing to a certain extent the new religion. The process of "waking up'' and the journey back to the faith, is fraught with broken friendships and family ties and the rest of the suffering that is involved.
So what do many people who make this journey do? In the words of a friend of mine that was a Westerner, but decided to "go East"; his observation was that Catholics who are confronted with the realization that "the fortress has been betrayed, by those very men that should have been guarding it", tend to "circle the wagons" as it were, and throw out anything that is suspicious of Modernism and bring inside those things that re-affirm their sense of Catholicism and serve as an anchor in times like these of crisis. Now to get back to Mikemac: obviously, Mike holds onto Fatima as one of those anchors that help him to hold onto the faith and keep his sanity; when people start seriously attacking the apparition, they are not just attacking it, they are personally attacking Mike and questioning his Catholicism; of course he is going to get angry and take it personally; from his point of view he has every right to, in fact his not getting angry, would be for him a betrayal of the very faith and sanity, that Fatima has helped him to hold onto. The same goes for other posters on other points of discussion. Your attacking of these points may seem to you an exercise of logic and maybe even your idea of helping people see that they are in error, but they see it as an attack on their faith and they react accordingly. 
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Heinrich

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Well said, Michael.

And TomD, I can see where one would be chagrined to see such venom on a Catholic website. Please know that the issue with the targeted poster stems from said poster's relentless pursuit of antagonizing. I clearly and in no way see spiritual edification in his posts; just electronic thrusts, ripostes, and sashes of "your dumb," this is the way it is, morons. Kinda like if a cat could talk.
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Offline Xavier

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The murderer Pranzini experienced remorse after St. Therese prayed for him. https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/10/01/the-killer-and-the-saint-pranzini-and-therese/

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“My God, I am quite sure that Thou wilt pardon this unhappy Pranzini. I should still think so if he did not confess his sins or give any sign of sorrow, because I have such confidence in Thy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to reassure me.”

Declining assistance, and feigning bravado, Pranzini started to walk forwards, and, as he did so, the gendarmes there to escort him drew their swords.

At the foot of the scaffold, he began to totter before turning to the chaplain and asking for the crucifix, which he took and kissed. The bell continued to toll as, mounting the scaffold, he broke down and a pathetic struggle ensued, before, finally, he was forced down upon the machine. At two minutes past five, the blade was pressed into action, and, at first descending slowly, its pace soon quickened…and, with that, the bell fell silent.

“The day after his execution I hastily opened the paper…and what did I see? Tears betrayed my emotion; I was obliged to run out of the room. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and…turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds three times. …I had obtained the sign I asked for, and to me it was especially sweet. Was it not when I saw the Precious Blood flowing from the Wounds of Jesus that the thirst for souls first took possession of me?

…My prayer was granted to the letter.”

St. Paul says: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you ..." (Col 1:24). This is how the great Apostle lived and indeed how all the holy Apostles lived and why they were both martyrs and world-conquerors, by whom millions and millions of souls came to Christ.

God invites us to bear even small crosses well, like forgiving an annoyance, and overlooking those who offend us. All this can be offered up for those who do. The martyrs offered their lives itself for the conversion of their persecutors, and many former persecutors were converted.

St. Montfort explains,
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"7. It is of great benefit to our neighbour

171. It is of great benefit to our neighbour, for by it we show love for our neighbour in an outstanding way since we give him through Mary's hands all that we prize most highly - that is, the satisfactory and prayer value of all our good works, down to the least good thought and the least little suffering. We give our consent that all we have already acquired or will acquire until death should be used in accordance with our Lady's will for the conversion of sinners or the deliverance of souls from Purgatory.

Is this not perfect love of our neighbour? Is this not being a true disciple of our Lord, one who should always be recognised by his love? Is this not the way to convert sinners without any danger of vainglory, and deliver souls from Purgatory by doing hardly anything more than what we are obliged to do by our state of life?

172. To appreciate the excellence of this motive we must understand what a wonderful thing it is to convert a sinner or to deliver a soul from Purgatory. It is an infinite good, greater than the creation of heaven and earth, since it gives a soul the possession of God. If by this devotion we secured the release of only soul from Purgatory or converted only one sinner in our whole lifetime, would that not be enough to induce any person who really loves his neighbour to practise this devotion?

It must be noted that our good works, passing through Mary's hands, are progressively purified. Consequently, their merit and their satisfactory and prayer value are also increased. That is why they become much more effective in relieving the souls in Purgatory and in converting sinners than if they did not pass through the virginal and liberal hands of Mary. Stripped of self-will and clothed with disinterested love, the little that we give to the Blessed Virgin is truly powerful enough to appease the anger of God and draw down his mercy. It may well be that at the hour of death a person who has been faithful to this devotion will find that he has freed many souls from Purgatory and converted many sinners, even though he performed only the ordinary actions of his state of life. Great will be his joy at the judgement. Great will be his glory throughout eternity."

Thus,so was it for St. Paul in the end of his life, a great crown in heaven laid up for him, for the souls he loved, prayed for, sacrificed, and saved in union with Christ. 2 Tim 4:6  "For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand ... 8 As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me"
.Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ Please pray this daily and you and your family will be saved. You will avoid Purgatory.

Daily Morning Offering: O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the Altars  throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. I desire to gain every Indulgence and Merit I can, offering them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, Whom Thou hast appointed the dispenser of the merits of Thy Precious Blood, especially by means of this Scapular  [Here kiss your Brown Scapular] that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Amen.

Consecration to Our Blessed Mother: My Queen, my Mother! I give myself entirely to Thee, and to show my devotion to Thee I consecrate to Thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve, Wherefore, good Mother, as I am Thine own, keep me, guard me, as Thy property and possession." http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/morning-offering.htm
 
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Offline awkwardcustomer

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Okay, I'll have to read through this thread again in order to grasp its finer points, but maybe Quaremare has a point.

I've suspected for some time that there is something 'not quite right' about Satisfaction Theology as promoted, mainly, by Trads.  It seems excessive, to say the least and, as Quaremare points out, can produce a certain combination of anger and subservience that doesn't seem entirely wholesome.

If this is indeed a post-Reformation development that has gone adrift, why did that happen and how can it be remedied?
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 

Offline awkwardcustomer

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Lots of questions.  Then what precisely are these victim souls victims of?  Or is the term a misnomer?  And how can God be the author of such severe bodily and spiritual pain?  And what does "offering herself up for sinners" actually mean if not vicarious punishment?  And is there any concrete evidence of its efficacy?  Surely we should at least have seen mass conversions in the town of Lisieux and the surrounding countryside?  Or are you going to say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Ah yes, 'victim souls'.

Has the concept been distorted though?  Some of the later writings and devotional materials have that air of 'something not being right' about them.
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 

Offline awkwardcustomer

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The murderer Pranzini experienced remorse after St. Therese prayed for him.
of his state of life. Great will be his joy at the judgement. Great will be his glory throughout eternity."
[/quote]

Pranzini protested his innocence until the end. 

If he was innocent, and that is entirely possible, then no doubt he experienced anger, rage, at the injustice, which he managed to overcome at the end, no doubt with the aid of St Therese's prayers.
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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re. Victim souls: The case of St. Francis of Assissi is well documented; he went into an ecstasy in which he saw St. Michael with the wounds of Our Lord, and he himself was transfixed with these at the same time:
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Two years before the great Saint Francis of Assisi died, and when he was forty-two years old — one year after he had built the first crib in honor of Our Lord — he went off to a lonely mountain called Mount Alvernia, to prepare himself by forty days of fasting and prayer for the feast of Saint Michael, the greatest of God’s angels, whose feast day is September 29. On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14, Saint Francis received in his hands, feet and side the Sacred Wounds from Our Lord’s own body. Never was a saint more beautifully loved by Jesus than Saint Francis of Assisi. The wounds Jesus gave him stayed in his hands, feet and side, and continually bled for two more years, until he died in 1226. The day on which Saint Francis received the Five Wounds of Our Lord was September 14, but so that this beautiful event might have a feast day for itself, the Stigmata of Saint Francis are commemorated on September 17. The simple liturgy of this holy saint’s life might be put this way: the crib in 1223, and the Cross in 1224.
The saint suffered from these wounds the last two years of his life.
The case of Padre Pio is a more recent one and notorious.

"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Here is a good explanation I found online:http://www.thedefender.org/RedemptiveSuffering.html
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Catholic Teaching
Redemptive Suffering
A Summary:
Redemptive suffering is the 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.

We believe God loves mankind so much that He made Himself human in Jesus in order to redeem mankind. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Jn 3:16)

We believe 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." (Matthew 27:32)

Why Suffering: (1)
Everyone asks the question (in some form or another), Why suffering? Each religion has a different answer. In Hinduism, suffering is seen as the result of karmic debt owed from a prior incarnation. Buddhists believe they suffer in life because of their desires that can be relieved by good meditation and prayers. In Judaism, suffering is seen as everything from senseless to positively willed by God as a result of Jewish disobedience. In Islam, suffering is seen as the result of Allah's positive will. For some brands of Protestantism, suffering is always the result of personal sin.

Every human being undergoes pain, and we all want it to have meaning (and so not despair). Amidst this, always remember: there are two kinds of suffering-redemptive suffering and wasted suffering…Which one will you choose?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages and reminds us of our vocation: "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" (#1505).

The Value and Meaning of Redemptive Suffering: (1)
Redemptive suffering is any trial or tribulation (physical or mental) we offer up and UNITE to Jesus- as a "gift" to Him to express our love thru a costly way, in exchange for some other good. Notice the key elements: we consciously choose embrace suffering; it is precious (a "gift") because it is painful (not fun or "easy"); it brings us closer to Jesus in an intimate and intense way; and the suffering may "spiritually repair" my own soul or others-and thereby help in the work of redemption (Christ's allowing me to help Him save souls).

Other names/descriptions of this phenomenon include: vicarious atonement (Jesus, Who alone can atone the sins of the world, chooses others to "vicariously assist Him" and thereby weave more people into the plan of salvation; victim souls (a person whose primary call as a disciple in life is to especially suffer for the saving of other souls); and co-redemption.

Ask yourself these questions: How can I intensely merge my sufferings with Christ (i.e., more deeply)? How can I more readily blend my trials with Him (i.e. not hesitating in offering suffering to Him)? How can I consistently entwine my difficulties with Him (less sporadically)?

The Bible and Suffering:
There are many versus in the Bible referring to redemptive suffering. The following verses are a few of those most quoted:
"Whoever follows me must take up his cross..." (Mt 10: 38).

"So they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus." (Acts 5:41) "

"Therefore we are not discouraged, rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (II Cor 4: 16). "

"With Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is now no longer I that live but Christ Who lives in me" (Gal 2:19-20).

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, for I fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ." (Col:24).

“This indeed is a grace, if for consciousness of God anyone endures sorrows, suffering. unjustly." (I Pt 2: 19).


“For the Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.” (Rm 8:16-18)

“What we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed in us...We know that all things work for good for those who love God...For I am convinced that neither life nor death...nor future things, nor powers nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" (Rm 8:18, 28,38).

Offering it Up: (2)
Offering it Up (or "Making a Good Intention") is done in both formal and informal ways.

Formally, many Catholics make the Morning Offering to give to Our Lord that day's efforts, works, joys, sufferings, and intentions. At the Mass, we consciously, silently, and privately offer ourselves up, along with the Son, to the Father during the Offertory.

Informally, we "offer it up" by simply asking God in our own words to use a suffering as it occurs; we often do this for specific intentions (ex., "Use this pain, Lord, for the salvation of my brother..."). We might follow the example of the young St. Thérèse of Lisieux and make use of Sacrifice Beads, or the extraordinary among us might make the Heroic Act of Charity for the souls in Purgatory.

It's quite a discipline to react to suffering this way! In mental or physical pain? Drop something on your toe? Putting up with a co-worker who is making your life a living Hell? Enduring the constant ache of arthritis? Standing in line at the grocery and hating every minute of it? Spill the milk? Accept these things in peace, and ask God to use them for the good of the Church or for a more specific intention close to your heart.

You'll find that it is not uncommon to hear one Catholic tell another who is suffering to "offer it up" as a way of dealing with his suffering. It should be remembered, though, that while it is most definitely good to tell someone to "offer it up," it is also easy -- and that we are called, too, to comfort those who are suffering, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to care for the sick, etc. Telling someone to offer it up without also helping him to deal with the temporal and emotional effects of whatever he is going through is not the fully Christian response. Even Our Lord was helped while carrying His Cross: St. Veronica wiped the sweat and Blood from His Holy Face, and St. Simon of Cyrene helped Him bear the Cross itself.

And always help the suffering to retain (or regain) hope that his suffering is not in vain. Assure him that he will partake of "the consolation":

The Ultimate in "Offering it up": Victim Souls (2)
A victim soul is someone who has been chosen by God to participate in Christ's Passion in a very special way by manifesting the signs of His sufferings, often in their very own bodies. Suffering for the sake of love is their vocation, and such suffering is willingly accepted for the benefit of the Church. The attitude and plea of the victim soul is summed up by this prayer of St. Catherine of Siena, “The only cause of my death is my zeal for the Church of God, which devours and consumes me. Accept, O Lord, the sacrifice of my life for the Mystical Body of Thy holy Church. “

St. Lydwine of Schiedam, the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) were three other such souls, and there have been many more. Often, but not necessarily, these souls receive the stigmata on the palms of their hands or on their feet, the wounds left by the crown of thorns, wounds in their sides as if made by a lance, stripes on their bodies as if caused by scourging, and other bodily phenomena that recall His Passion.

In conclusion:
"It is in suffering that we are withdrawn from the bright superficial film of existence, from the sway of time and mere things and find ourselves in the presence of profounder truth." + Fr. Yves Conger, French priest-theologian.

Jim Fritz

Notes:
(1) http://www.emmitsburg.net/grotto/father_jack/2002/why_do_people_suffer.htm
(2) http://www.fisheaters.com
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Here is a good explanation I found online:http://www.thedefender.org/RedemptiveSuffering.html
Quote
Catholic Teaching
Redemptive Suffering
A Summary:
Redemptive suffering is the 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.

We believe God loves mankind so much that He made Himself human in Jesus in order to redeem mankind. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Jn 3:16)

We believe 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." (Matthew 27:32)

Why Suffering: (1)
Everyone asks the question (in some form or another), Why suffering? Each religion has a different answer. In Hinduism, suffering is seen as the result of karmic debt owed from a prior incarnation. Buddhists believe they suffer in life because of their desires that can be relieved by good meditation and prayers. In Judaism, suffering is seen as everything from senseless to positively willed by God as a result of Jewish disobedience. In Islam, suffering is seen as the result of Allah's positive will. For some brands of Protestantism, suffering is always the result of personal sin.

Every human being undergoes pain, and we all want it to have meaning (and so not despair). Amidst this, always remember: there are two kinds of suffering-redemptive suffering and wasted suffering…Which one will you choose?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages and reminds us of our vocation: "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" (#1505).

The Value and Meaning of Redemptive Suffering: (1)
Redemptive suffering is any trial or tribulation (physical or mental) we offer up and UNITE to Jesus- as a "gift" to Him to express our love thru a costly way, in exchange for some other good. Notice the key elements: we consciously choose embrace suffering; it is precious (a "gift") because it is painful (not fun or "easy"); it brings us closer to Jesus in an intimate and intense way; and the suffering may "spiritually repair" my own soul or others-and thereby help in the work of redemption (Christ's allowing me to help Him save souls).

Other names/descriptions of this phenomenon include: vicarious atonement (Jesus, Who alone can atone the sins of the world, chooses others to "vicariously assist Him" and thereby weave more people into the plan of salvation; victim souls (a person whose primary call as a disciple in life is to especially suffer for the saving of other souls); and co-redemption.

Ask yourself these questions: How can I intensely merge my sufferings with Christ (i.e., more deeply)? How can I more readily blend my trials with Him (i.e. not hesitating in offering suffering to Him)? How can I consistently entwine my difficulties with Him (less sporadically)?

The Bible and Suffering:
There are many versus in the Bible referring to redemptive suffering. The following verses are a few of those most quoted:
"Whoever follows me must take up his cross..." (Mt 10: 38).

"So they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus." (Acts 5:41) "

"Therefore we are not discouraged, rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (II Cor 4: 16). "

"With Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is now no longer I that live but Christ Who lives in me" (Gal 2:19-20).

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, for I fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ." (Col:24).

“This indeed is a grace, if for consciousness of God anyone endures sorrows, suffering. unjustly." (I Pt 2: 19).


“For the Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.” (Rm 8:16-18)

“What we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed in us...We know that all things work for good for those who love God...For I am convinced that neither life nor death...nor future things, nor powers nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" (Rm 8:18, 28,38).

Offering it Up: (2)
Offering it Up (or "Making a Good Intention") is done in both formal and informal ways.

Formally, many Catholics make the Morning Offering to give to Our Lord that day's efforts, works, joys, sufferings, and intentions. At the Mass, we consciously, silently, and privately offer ourselves up, along with the Son, to the Father during the Offertory.

Informally, we "offer it up" by simply asking God in our own words to use a suffering as it occurs; we often do this for specific intentions (ex., "Use this pain, Lord, for the salvation of my brother..."). We might follow the example of the young St. Thérèse of Lisieux and make use of Sacrifice Beads, or the extraordinary among us might make the Heroic Act of Charity for the souls in Purgatory.

It's quite a discipline to react to suffering this way! In mental or physical pain? Drop something on your toe? Putting up with a co-worker who is making your life a living Hell? Enduring the constant ache of arthritis? Standing in line at the grocery and hating every minute of it? Spill the milk? Accept these things in peace, and ask God to use them for the good of the Church or for a more specific intention close to your heart.

You'll find that it is not uncommon to hear one Catholic tell another who is suffering to "offer it up" as a way of dealing with his suffering. It should be remembered, though, that while it is most definitely good to tell someone to "offer it up," it is also easy -- and that we are called, too, to comfort those who are suffering, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to care for the sick, etc. Telling someone to offer it up without also helping him to deal with the temporal and emotional effects of whatever he is going through is not the fully Christian response. Even Our Lord was helped while carrying His Cross: St. Veronica wiped the sweat and Blood from His Holy Face, and St. Simon of Cyrene helped Him bear the Cross itself.

And always help the suffering to retain (or regain) hope that his suffering is not in vain. Assure him that he will partake of "the consolation":

The Ultimate in "Offering it up": Victim Souls (2)
A victim soul is someone who has been chosen by God to participate in Christ's Passion in a very special way by manifesting the signs of His sufferings, often in their very own bodies. Suffering for the sake of love is their vocation, and such suffering is willingly accepted for the benefit of the Church. The attitude and plea of the victim soul is summed up by this prayer of St. Catherine of Siena, “The only cause of my death is my zeal for the Church of God, which devours and consumes me. Accept, O Lord, the sacrifice of my life for the Mystical Body of Thy holy Church. “

St. Lydwine of Schiedam, the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) were three other such souls, and there have been many more. Often, but not necessarily, these souls receive the stigmata on the palms of their hands or on their feet, the wounds left by the crown of thorns, wounds in their sides as if made by a lance, stripes on their bodies as if caused by scourging, and other bodily phenomena that recall His Passion.

In conclusion:
"It is in suffering that we are withdrawn from the bright superficial film of existence, from the sway of time and mere things and find ourselves in the presence of profounder truth." + Fr. Yves Conger, French priest-theologian.

Jim Fritz

Notes:
(1) http://www.emmitsburg.net/grotto/father_jack/2002/why_do_people_suffer.htm
(2) http://www.fisheaters.com

There's something not right about this.

Quite what that 'something' is, I'm not entirely sure.  But doesn't there come a point at which suffering a trial even redemptively, might become a substitute for taking action to stop the suffering?

As I keep wondering, whatever the merits of the sufferings of Saints, could Satisfaction Theology not become distorted in the hands of the laity and induce passive acceptance of situations that really should be actively opposed?
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.