Posted by: wordofthevine | May 3, 2013

The Meaning of Human Suffering!

 Keeping an eternal perspective!

Keeping an eternal perspective!

Today in Iowa we have cold rain. The grass is green. The flowers are up, but it is forty degrees and raining. Life is a mix of possibilities but we just don’t feel them yet. I, too, like the weather, see both the growing potential of good inside me and the weight of my humanity. I’m the parent of six kids; I mean 4 young adults and two teenagers. Everyday there is one with something that needs prayers. I have to choose to offer their needs to God in prayer and not let my own sensitivity bring me down to worry. My own compassion needs to draw me to greater availability to others and greater capacity to make a difference in their lives. Melancholy can divert me.  It’s deep thoughts like these that make me seem in another world when I’m grocery shopping. I had the experience one time of running into another persons cart as I pondered the meaning of man.

How do I make sense of our human situation, which often involves suffering, in the light of  the Redemption wrought by Jesus?  Bl. John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris, or the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering offers us the key. He says that we have to see our lives in a supernatural way and get rid of the sense that suffering is useless. We need to discover the saving value of uniting our suffering to the suffering of Jesus, “for it is the irreplaceable mediator and author of the good things in the world.” He doesn’t say we seek suffering but we need to learn the moment by moment offering of our pain to Jesus for “suffering more than anything else makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption.”  What a mouthful!

We do this by wrestling with ourselves. Catch the moment, even when you don’t feel like it. In the midst of the moment, choose to glance towards God. Realize that he notices and is gazing back at you and that he’s moved, himself, by your suffering. Discipline your mind to see the needs of others and not just the blaring situation in your own situation. Take the leap of faith to believe for this moment that a loving God is allowing you to love others when it costs you something. Suffering releases our deepest capacity to love others.

I’m thinking of this now when I step out into the cold rain to pick up my Mom for lunch. Christ’s love can strengthen us to brave the elements of our concrete lives. When we get to heaven, we will see the power of these simple human choices………..to love, to be available and to be faithful in the moment. ~ Mary


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