(Source: "Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas", pp. 57-59, 1937 Imp.)
CHRIST UNDERWENT EVERY KIND OF SUFFERING
"Every kind of suffering." The things men suffer
may be understood in two ways. By "kind" we may
mean a particular, individual suffering, and in this
sense there was no reason why Christ should suffer
every kind of suffering, for many kinds of suffering
are contrary the one to the other, as for example, to
be burnt and to be drowned. We are of course
speaking of Our Lord as suffering from causes
outside himself, for to suffer the suffering effected
by internal causes, such as bodily sickness, would
not have become him. But if by "kind" we mean
the class, then Our Lord did suffer by every kind
of suffering, as we can show in three ways:
1. By considering the men through whom he
suffered. For he suffered something at the hands
of Gentiles and of Jews, of men and even of women
as the story of the servant girl who accused
St. Peter goes to show. He suffered, again, at
the hands of rulers, of their ministers, and of the
people, as was prophesied, Why have the Gentiles
raged; and the people devised vain things? The
kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together
against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).
He suffered, too, from his friends, the men
he knew best, for Peter denied him and Judas
2. If we consider the things through which
suffering is possible. Christ suffered in the friends
who deserted him, and in his good name through
the blasphemies uttered against him. He suffered
in the respect, in the glory, due to him through
the derision and contempt bestowed upon him.
He suffered in things, for he was stripped even of
his clothing; in his soul, through sadness, through
weariness and through fear; in his body through
wounds and the scourging.
3. If we consider what he underwent in his
parts. His head suffered through the
crown of piercing thorns, his hands and feet through
the nails driven through them, his face from the
blows and the defiling spittle, and his whole body
through the scourging.
He suffered in every sense of his body. Touch
afflicted by the scourging and the nailing,
taste by the vinegar and gall, smell by the stench
of corpses as he hung on the cross in that place of
the dead which is called Calvary. His hearing was
torn with the voices of mockers and blasphemers,
and he saw the tears of his mother and of the
disciple whom he loved. If we only consider the
amount of suffering required, it is true that one
suffering alone, the least indeed of all, would have
sufficed to redeem the human race from all its
sins. But if we look at the fitness of the matter,
it had to be that Christ should suffer in all the
kinds of sufferings.
(3 46 5.)
Blessed be St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles!
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