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Redemptive Suffering: The Mystery of Merit

Fr. Bartunek writes:

Dear Father John, I was just listening to a radio show about redemptive suffering – they were saying that our suffering can have value if we “offer it up.” Is there any more to this (uniting our sufferings to Jesus’) than just saying the words? CatherineOfSienaGiovanniBattistaTiepolo096A: Before getting to the heart of this question, we have to peek at the presupposition. It has to do with a theological concept called merit. Part I: The Mystery of Merit Merit is the right to a reward. Someone who gains merit deserves a reward from others; they have earned something of value through their own efforts; someone else owes them a recompense as a result of what they have done. A worker merits his wages; a football player whose performance launches his team to victory merits recognition as the most valuable player; soldiers who risk their lives for their country merit respect, and also social security when their time of active duty is up.
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