We humans know suffering.
Who, in their heart of hearts, has not at one time or another thrown this verse—or something like it—heavenward: “Out of the depths I cry to Thee, O Lord”? Who has not demanded to know why an all-loving, all-powerful God would allow disease, slavery, war, and betrayal torment His beloved creatures? Agnostics’ and anti-theists’ prayers must be a litany of laments, spoken consciously or subconsciously to He Who appears to be a silent God. And further, what’s worse than experiencing physical pain? Being forced to passively watch as someone you love suffers physically or otherwise. In my simplistic language and limited knowledge, I offer you hope. This hope pours from the pierced hands, feet, brow and side of our Saviour, and from the pierced heart and soul of our Blessed Mother, Mary.
Good News: We know the diagnosis and we have the cure.
The inflammation of ego was caused not by the bad apple but by the pair on the ground. The consequence of our parents’ sin was death, decay and the ability to make royal mistakes and evil decisions.
What was God to do, seeing His innocent children brutalized and His ignorant children as brutes? All He could do was robe Himself in human flesh, entrusting Himself to the weak hands that He fashioned. The God who is too often accused of being above human suffering endured every kind of human suffering possible. God suffers with us, God suffers for us, God suffers in us, and God suffers around us. God suffers so that we don’t have to bear the weight of our own mistakes. God suffers so we may be comforted.
Why, then, do we still have war and terror and evil and death on earth? Because God wants to teach us how to be like Him. It’s easy, as Jesus points out, to love people who are nice to you. It is hard to love people who give you no reason to love them. It is easy to trust God when things are going A-OK. It is hard to trust God in times of spiritual or emotional darkness. God offers us these trials that we may grow in humility and trust. And He never leaves us to fight on our own.
Whenever I’m sick, my mum says that she wishes she could take all of my sickness away even if that means she gets it in my place. Knowing that she didn’t exactly have the power to do that, she opted for the next best thing: compassion which literally means “to suffer with”. Jesus’ mother knew that her Son’s torture and death was the will of the Father. Maybe she didn’t understand the full weight of what it meant, but she trusted. She trusted so fully that she listened to her Son as He gasped for breath, feeling His flesh being torn. She heard the slam of the Cross as He fell on the Via Dolorosa. She felt the tiny hallowed hands of her baby boy being punctured by blunt nails. She heard His cry like that of a nightmare-stricken boy: “Daddy! Why have You forsaken me?!” We suffer, He suffers, she suffers. It’s amazing how much beauty can come from so much pain.
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