Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep" (John 16:20)

Here comes up again the ancient dilemma that makes us wonder if crying and complaining could be our predestination. And the old question follows: why, from where and what is the purpose of suffering. Paganism could not produce satisfactory answer for that question. What is the explanation of suffering given to us by Christianity? From the Holy Scriptures we know God fearing people cannot expect to live their lives free of suffering: "For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons." (Hebr 12:6-8). And what did Christ say to his followers?: "you shall lament and weep" (John 16:20). It seems suffering is part of God's plan for mankind. Then, something good must be in it, because it comes from God who is infinite goodness Himself. In this conclusion is our deepest consolation. There is a sequel in New Testament about a man born blind. The disciples asked Jesus: "Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."(John 9:2-3). Then we have perfect explanation for the old problem: "Why do we have to suffer at all?" Why this poor man was blind-born? Maybe God willed to be his Inner Light? According to God's plan, those who would witness poor man's good conduct and patience in misery could be strengthened. That others could have an ideal opportunity to show him compassion and grow in charity. Then we see that Christianity gives us a perfect explanation and sweet consolation in acceptance of our own suffering and suffering of others. In suffering we have endless opportunities to gain merits. Now we can well understand the words: "Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience. For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation" (Ecclesiasticus 2:4-5)