In the news coming out of Haiti, one of the things that keeps jumping out to me is the report that the Haitian people are not despairing.  One reporter relayed the story of the people shining their shoes in the morning, surrounded by rubble.  Another said he was shocked by the high spirits and the resilience of  people.  The papal nuncio told a moving story of sitting with a man who was trapped, only his head visible, the nuncio unable to do anything to free him — and the man asked him to pray with him.  He did not curse God, he did not despair — he prayed.

I think there’s an obvious answer to this phenomenon.  These people are Catholic.  No other religion has an answer to suffering.  No other religion understands that we must unite our sufferings to the sufferings of Christ on the cross and thus “work out our salvation in fear and trembling,” in the words of St. Paul.  Not that the sacrifice on Christ was not enough to save us; but that the sufferings in this life, our response to the evil and deficiencies of the world, can be united with the sufferings of our Savior, and thus make the sacrifice of the cross our sacrifice.

We aren’t masochists, and the destruction and sufferings in Haiti are truly horrendous.  But let us learn from their spirits, and unite our sufferings with theirs and with Christ’s.

They are in need of our help and our prayers.  One of the deacons from my parish is going down this week on a medical mission — he’s an R.N., so he’s going down to help the medical team, but he’s also going down to help with funerals.  So many are being buried without the funeral rites of the Church.

Pray!  And, if possible, support: http://crs.org/

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