Youth-Day Bulletin Focuses on Suffering

Encourages Praying the Way of the Cross

SYDNEY, Australia, MARCH 21, 2007 ( Praying the Way of the Cross is one way to face the mystery of suffering, says the coordinator of the 2008 World Youth Day.

This month’s edition of ePilgrimage starts with a “Message of Hope” written by Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney on the topic of suffering.

“Part of the reason the Way of the Cross has such an effect is, I think, that in the face of the mystery of suffering no words, no answers suffice; as in married love, so too in suffering, sometimes body language speaks louder and better than words,” the bishop writes.

The monthly ePilgrimage newsletter is a tool to prepare for the international World Youth Day to be held in July 2008 in Sydney.

“We all get moments when we wonder whether God cares about us,” Bishop Fisher writes to youth. “Where is God when children die? Or loved ones? Where was God at Auschwitz?”

The 47-year-old bishop noted that in every generation, persons consider the theme of evil: “We often feel as the Mother of Jesus and the other women and the teenaged John no doubt felt at the foot of the cross: We gape with mute incomprehension and stunned impotence before the mystery of suffering.”

Finding comfort

The prelate says the Way of the Cross brings comfort in the midst of suffering and pain.

“The Way of the Cross demonstrates the depth of God’s saving love, for there he enters fully into all that human beings suffer,” Bishop Fisher writes. “Where was God on Good Friday when Jesus needed him? He was there, hanging on the cross. He went down into the tomb. And in doing so he joins with every suffering person on their cross.

“He goes to the grave with all those we’ve loved and lost to death and he pledges the compassion of God even to the dead. God walks the Way of the Cross with each of us through our loneliness and pain, right to the end.”

He explained that the traditional prayer helps us “conclude, as Christians must conclude, that evil is no act of God; that no innocent person suffers by God’s active will; that even what God permits so as to allow us freedom costs God greatly; that suffering and death are NOT the last word.”

March’s ePilgrimage also offers a reflection on the mystery of human suffering; an article from Father Peter Williams, liturgical director for the upcoming youth day, on the history of the Way of the Cross; and excerpts from Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter “Salvifici Doloris.”

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