Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love Transubstantiates Suffering: Some Notes from Dr. Hahn's Talk

Happy Tuesday of Holy Week!!!

Last night, I had the tremendous blessing of attending a talk by Dr. Scott Hahn. Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that last night was the first time I've ever heard a talk from him. Weird, right? But when I heard that there was a talk entitled, "Love, Suffering, and Salvation," I knew I had to go--even before I knew who the speaker was!

Some Notes from Dr. Hahn's Talk:
*The goal of Christ's 3-year public ministry comes down to 3 hours, His time on the Cross. These three hours come down to 3 words-"It is finished."

*The only way that you can understand Good Friday is to look to what Christ did on Holy Thursday! In fact, Holy Thursday is what transformed Friday into "Good" Friday. To quote Dr. Hahn, "Holy Thursday turned Good Friday into a wellspring of life."

*Jesus saved us, not by how much He suffered, but by how much He loved! Suffering itself is not redemptive, and love, all by itself, can become warm fuzzy feelings. What proves whether or not love is genuine? If you follow the commandment to lay down your life for others.

*Love transubstantiates suffering into sacrifice. To quote Dr. Hahn again, "Charity endows suffering with redemptive power...Love does not diminish our capacity to suffer, it enlarges it."

*We must look at the Cross in light of the Eucharist. If the Last Supper was just a meal (not the Institution of the Eucharist), then Calvary is just an execution. But the love of God binds together Calvary and the Last Supper with His sacrifice, the Eucharist. Instituting the Eucharist transformed Calvary.

*"You don't have to die to go to Heaven, you just have to go to Mass." ~Dr. Hahn

*"The inner logic of our Faith is divine love." ~Dr. Hahn

I really found the timing of Dr. Hahn's talk providential, because it was further confirmation and expansion upon topics that I have been discussing heavily with a few household sisters. My household is Sacrifice of Love, so the whole realm of Christ's Passion and sacrifice is the core and heart of our commitments, formation, and lives. An important distinction must be made, which I think Dr. Hahn phrased quite beautifully in his talk: Anyone can suffer, and everyone does suffer. But as Catholics, we sustain the joy, hope, love, and reality of Christ's triumph over death in the Resurrection; we can suffer with great love. Suffering with this great love then transforms our actions into sacrifices. 

Tips for Sacrificing, not Suffering: (and I'm continually learning, and am by no means an authority on this)

*Sacrifice with purpose. Many of the great saints talked about how doing a small action with great love can save souls. Are you stuck at a traffic light? Offer it up lovingly for souls in Purgatory.

*Sacrifice with joy. We don't have to constantly be happy when we're going through intense sacrificing. Mary wasn't all happy-go-lucky at Calvary. But, we are called to sustain joy at all times, holding onto God's goodness, with full trust in Him. For example, "I'm having a rough day today, but I'm offering it all to the Lord, for He is good!" is a lot better than, "I'm having a rough day, and I don't know how it'll ever get better." Joy brings the fire and love of God to others, and when we have joy in our sacrificing, we can draw so many people to Him!

*Sacrifice with others. Seriously, having accountability and community as you sacrifice is a wonderful thing! I'm glancing down at my TEC cross right now, remembering how much I continue to learn through that ministry. In TEC, I found a community--a family--of people who sacrifice for each other all the time. In household, it's very similar. But in the Catholic Church, we are a mega-huge family, and we can ALL sacrifice for each other! All the time! 

*Cast yourself into the Ultimate Sacrifice, the Eucharist. We can all deepen our devotion and love of our Eucharistic Lord more and more. He is the Sacrifice of Love, giving His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity freely to us each day! How many people go through the motions at Mass (I know I have!)? How many people don't make daily Mass a priority? Seriously, get to one or two extra Masses during the week, and deepen your devotion to the Eucharist, and you have beautiful transformations in your life.

May the Joy of Christ Fill Your Hearts!