Whether it be due to our own over-indulgences in abusing the varied and sundry goods of this earth, our own seemingly counless transgression sagainst God's commandments, or the providentially paternal designs of our Creator and first Benefactor, we will have our lot of suffering in this life. There is no escaping that. The question is how to benefit from it individually unto our everlasting glory and happiness in heaven.
Suffering and death are part of our debt due to original sin. Therefore, they are necessary for our good. We must suffer and, in the end, die. But, why such a debt as this? How can its acceptance be for our good? Father Remler provides fifteen reasons why we outght to embrace our trials and tribulations, be they physical or spiritual, for the priceless opportunity that every pain provides us in our vocation to gbe made comfortable to our Savior and King, Jesus Christ.
It would be hard to find a book like Father Francis Remler's that so wonderfully explains the value of penance in the light of the patient and enduring acceptance of the cross. Outside of grace, the author writes, our sins cast no shadow. They are committed in the darkness in which we chose to wallow, a darkness that will drag us into the pit of hell. Stepping our of that darkness, into the light of grace, we can come back to God, Who is drawing us to Him through a sincere confession. Once the guilt of our sins has been remitted, however, their effects remain. This is the shadow that follows us through life, because only if we are in the light of faith, living in hope and charity, can we see truly the sad effects of our sins, our shadow. The higher the light of Christ is in our lives, the more directly we let it shine upon us by our embrace of suffering, the more the shadow of past transgressions is reduced. Our goal, the will of God, is that this shadow disappear altogether.
In some sense this is a very practical book, for it has a foolproof game plan that, if followed well, will cut short dramatically our time of purgation in the next life. But, it is much more than that. This magnificent analysis of suffering, as to its cause, its value, and its ultimate effect (i.e., conformity to Christ, the Man of Sorrows) will give us more strength to bear not only our own cross, but to willingly share in the suffering Jesus endured for all men by accepting, as joyful victims, crosses vicariously borne for sinners within our own family, for our wayward firends, for the crimes of our nation, and for those dear to us who are languishing in Purgatory.