Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Obscure suffering

It is difficult being food for others. The sacred act of his life being broken bread and spilt wine was the way the God-man gave food to others. We too are bread to be broken, shared and eaten by those around us. It speaks of a special kind of social suffering. What has always concerned me is the suffering that has no apparent meaning. The husband who collapses in an epileptic fit leaving himself defenseless to robbers, the stroke that strikes a 29-year-old woman, the hurricane that flattens the shack of a beggar. Irrational unconnected events of suffering that bring untold unexplainable misery.

There must be means through which all the suffering of our lives connect with the meaningful suffering of Christ. Could I take my obscure suffering and somehow find in this the opportunity for it to be an offering of love? If so, then it would be the suffering of the cross, the sign of God’s love in the world. Then any suffering, no matter how obscure or petty could be the suffering that breaks us like bread for the nurturing of others, all suffering now obedient to love. Our bruises becoming the shared bread that breaks with the taste of the God-man’s feast. Our witness, our heart exposed for all. There is something empowering about these kind of people – something deeply spiritual. E.J.Farrell wrote, “No one in this world can escape suffering, but not all suffering is the cross. Suffering cannot be avoided, but one can escape the cross.”

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