“In order to perceive the true answer to the “why” of suffering, we must look to the revelation of divine love, the ultimate source of the meaning of everything that exists. Love is also the richest source of the meaning of suffering, which always remains a mystery: We are conscious of the insufficiency and inadequacy of our explanations. Christ causes us to enter into the mystery and to discover the “why” of suffering, as far as we are capable of grasping the sublimity of divine love. In order to discover the profound meaning of suffering . . . we must above all accept the light of revelation. . . . Love is also the fullest source of the answer to the question of the meaning of suffering. This answer has been given by God to man in the cross of Jesus Christ. (Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering) 13)
This morning as I was pondering over what will be my reading selection for Lent, which to me is a spiritually stretching period, I began to reflect over times in life I’ve experienced loss and grief but all the while God was there with me. Whether it was going through heartbreaks, losing my sight or my cousin to suicide, greater goods were able to come out of those situations. In our imperfect world of hurt and pain, I am saddened at the times of loss, but am blessed for the times of growing spiritually stronger, and intellectually wiser.
I often wonder what is my purpose in life? Why do we go through difficulties? As a child I learned our purpose is to live to love and serve the Lord with our mind, hearts and souls, however, I believe it goes a bit deeper. If it weren’t for being totally blind, I would not have met so many authentic friends who are spread out all over the country and are both blind and sighted. For me, my time in Iowa at the Orientation Center was one of those transformational turning points. I accepted blindness and made it a small part of who I was rather than this all-consuming tragedy. Rather than being fearful of walking by myself, dreading getting lost or as we said in travel class misplaced, through the difficult drop-off to which I did return back to the center, I would have not gained assurance in my abilities. Very little compares to the first time I figured out a travel route, crossed a complicated intersection, made a nam nam meal from scratch or when being totally blind did not cross my mind. This is why we go through difficulties. They mold us into who we are if we allow them. For me, I believe they are also God’s way of pushing us out of our comfort zone.
Nothing hurts more than a major loss. Maybe it was the ending of a significant romantic relationship or the unexpected death of a loved one—the stabbing pain is there and at first seems to never subside. I remember one particular loss where I literally was on my knees crying for God to take this pain away. It felt so awful, but looking back it profoundly changed me. It’s interesting how life is full of choices; we can choose to let go and allow God to do His work, or we can cling tightly to our wants which can prevent a greater good from coming about.
When I reflect over the suffering Christ went through, my little bumps in life will never compare. Beaten by soldiers, imprisoned, scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, forced to carry the cross, and finally dying by crucifixion was the greatest suffering ever.
Through pain we still have many reasons to live, to grow, to unite our sufferings with the cross, to grow closer to God, and most importantly to love.
“For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians (1:19-21).
Until next time,