But sin does spiritual and psychic damage, which is why both RCs and Orthodox have ascesis like fasting The way we have understood the workings of suffering in our lives, is as an ascetic practice to repair spiritual damage, accepting what providence allows, with a spirit of submission to the will of God and uniting ourselves with the sufferings of Christ.
(And asking God to release actual graces to help us through our times of trial, in a spirit of gracious acceptance.)
And additionally we view sufferings as a means to bring our flesh into submission to the spirit and as a fast offering to God on behalf of other souls, along with prayer for them that He would release graces to bring about conversion, healing, and reconciliation in their lives.Quote from Thomas
The Roman Catholic teaching of Reparation is not an Eastern Orthodox belief taught by the Eastern Fathers of the Church. Once again its basis is found in the teachings of Blessed Agustine and not the Eastern Fathers. Reparation is deemed as unnecessary as the death of Jesus resolved all need to make further reparation.
I understand that Augustine may have been the one to expound on this principle, but its basis is not
in Augustine, it is in the writings of Paul:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, on behalf of His body which is the church, Col. 1:24
I do not understand why the Eastern Fathers of the church did not expound on this, since it is a theme that is repeated over and over again in the letters as well as the Gospels.
But we cannot ignore the Scriptures, especially when experience has taught us that if we are interceding on behalf of any soul, there will be an accompanying suffering. When someone tells me of a particular suffering they are going through, I always ask them, "And who are you praying for right now that needs a greater abundance of God's grace?"
What we teach, is that Christ was in no way lacking in His afflictions, but because of His desire that we should be co-laborers with Him, He most graciously left a gap for us to fill with our sufferings,
as a proof of our love for Him, for what spouse does not pour herself out to help the one she loves in his work?
This does not compromise the fullness and completion of His work in the incarnation and passion, nor does it excuse us from denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Him to Calvary, as a co-redemptive act, on behalf of souls.
For we are God's co-workers; you are God's field,...
10 I Cor 3:9
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death, Philippians 3:10
if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. Romans 8:17
6 Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation:
or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation:
or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation,
which worketh the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.
7 That our hope for you may be steadfast:
knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation. II Cor 1
13 But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. I Peter 4
St. Seraphim said that the goal of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit.
But to what end? So that we can be about the business of God, laboring in His vineyard.
If the purpose of life is to know, to love and to serve God, and for His purposes after completing many years of seminary training, He allows you to fall into a debilitating illness, even though you were trained and ready to go to a foreign land and sacrifice yourself for Him, out of pure love, what are we to conclude?
Does your life count for nothing now that you cannot go on your mission?
Or Has God in His inscrutable plan made a different decision, asking you to forgo your own will and graciously accept this illness as providential, and to trust that He will derive from it the same benefits or perhaps even more, than if you were involved in active ministry in the mission field, even to martyrdom.
I do not believe that the sacrificial suffering of a soul for others is merely a concept to comfort a Catholic in their sufferings, but the real and viable spiritual dynamic Paul talks about, that we are filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ on behalf of His body
, and that it is constantly at work everyday in Orthodox and Catholic alike, and that we have yet to discover how truly pervasive it is.
And I would hope that just because Augustine was perhaps the first to expound on this dynamic, and it has found footing in the RCC, that if it has truth and merit
, that would not stop the Orthodox from embracing it as Paul did.