Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Novena of Meditations on Joy in the Midst of Suffering

Pope John Paul II wrote of joy in the midst of suffering in his Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Dolores:

"The individual...does not discover [the salvific meaning of suffering] at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering of Christ. At the same time, however, from this level of Christ the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man's level and becomes, in a sense, the individual's personal response. It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy.  Saint Paul speaks of such joy in the Letter to the Colossians: 'I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake' [Col 1:24]. A source of joy is found in the overcoming of the sense of the uselessness of suffering, a feeling that is sometimes very strongly rooted in human suffering." (No. 26-27)

So that one may better incorporate into the spiritual life this resolve to rejoice in the midst of life's sufferings, here are nine days of scriptural passages which one may prayerfully read in order to form a novena of meditations on this subject. May it help you find joy in the midst of suffering.

First Day - Matthew 5:1-12

Second Day - John 16:16-33

Third Day - Romans 5:1-5

Fourth Day - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Fifth Day - Colossians 1:24-29

Sixth Day - James 1:2-4, 5:7-11

Seventh Day - 1 Peter 1:3-9

Eighth Day - 1 Peter 4:12-19

Ninth Day - Acts 5:27-42

May he cheer those within you who are captives,
and love those within you who are distressed,
to all generations for ever.  (Tobit 13:10)