Suffering is part of Jesus’ mission.
His power to effect conversion stems from the fact that he is ready to endure the hatred of those he loves.
He can conquer this hatred only by a love that is all the greater, a love that is stronger than death.
Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
from The Evangelizing Parish
(magnolia bloom / Julie Cook / 2019)
Reading on and off of the back and forth tit for tat regarding Chrisitan suffering vs joy…
I have concluded that in this life we will most certainly know both.
It matters not what side of the fence you claim…both will find us eventually.
We will suffer and we will rejoice.
And we just always pray that we will rejoice a great deal more than we should ever suffer.
But both are part and parcel to living.
And as odd as it may seem…some of us are simply prone to one of the two more so than the other.
Why that is, only our Creator can say.
Yet there are lessons to be found in both of our times of joy and in our times of suffering.
It’s just that during those suffering moments, learning lessons or finding truths revealed
during such a time, is not top on the list as much as it is to simply remove the suffering.
So it came as no surprise that I was moved when reading Cardinal Schönborn’s words…
that suffering was a part of Jesus’ mission…
and the fact that he endured the hatred of those he loved..loved despite and through the
hate He knew existed…thus a ‘suffering’ of abiding love meets a wall of hate.
How many of us can do such?
To love in spite of reciprocal hate?
No easy task.
But imagine…imagine if we met the hate that stares us in the face with only
Boy…how this world could be so different.
But I’ll be the first to admit, that it seems to be our human nature to rile
against that which opposes us on such a very deep level.
It is almost instinctive to have that knee jerk eye for an eye mentality.
Hate for hate is easy is it not?
May we pray that we would rather offer love for hate.
“Helping a person in need is good in itself.
But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done.
If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty,
then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed.
This is because he will feel beholden to you.
If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully.
The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help,
but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help.
And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity
are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.”
St. John Chrysostom
But it is possible to rejoice in suffering, to find Joy in times of trouble.
That it is— hence the example Jesus has set before us!