“The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact . . “

“. . that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering but a supernatural use for it.”

~Simone Weil

Lent is a perfect time to contemplate the uses and worth of suffering. For it is something that unifies us in this life. Suffering knows no distinction between people. It spares no one and can make us bitter or beautiful. We can learn more for an hour of suffering than a year of pleasure. It humbles us and if we let it can humanize us. It is our very salvation.

Let suffering be to us like a bitter medicine to cure the ills of self-interest, pride and indifference. It can free us from our attachment to the world and its transitory joys to greater ones that come from a source deeper than anything in this world can reach. Suffering teaches us to depend on things that are more solid and real than anything this passing life can offer us. Creatures in all their forms and comforts are but fleeting shadows and the real marrow of being is revealed through the painful process of sorrow and pain.

“If I never can lose, I never can win”.

~Darren Stevens Bewitched

It’s in our losses we recognize our gains. We are refined like gold in large ways but the day is filled with these moments. If we use them well to change us into something golden and genuine we can learn to ease another’s suffering and better manage our own. We know not the wisdom of failure, betrayal, illness and death in our limited view. We do know that suffering is certain in every life and to waste it or ill-use it is a crime against self.

Suffering can be embittering, it can make us feel superior and self-satisfied or completely annihilate our confidence in ourselves and mankind. Hope can be imperceptible and loneliness crushing. To make suffering benefit us we must see the purpose and grace in it. Even beauty. Being pruned is painful but it is the only way we can have real and lasting growth spiritually and be fully human.

Christ is our model in this and all things. Naked He was nailed to a cross, blood and bone exposed, all of His human frailty before His enemies. He poured out His loved to and for them. As He does for us even when we too join the crowd mocking His divinity and rejoicing in His pain. He loves us still and still cries with us and still holds us near Him. He suffered willingly out of love and because of that same love He saved the whole world.


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