Suffering – Part I

based on Letter of St. Paul of the Cross to Mother Mary Crucified

by Msgr. Bernard Powers

                                    Friday…… Cross…. Passion… Suffering

Love brings the heart to the Lover
for love has the power
            to attract…
            to enflame…
            to create desire…
            to long to be with…

The heart is called to love the Suffering, Crucified Christ,
thus the heart that loves
            must learn  and develop a way of dealing with suffering,
            for suffering is a way
            into the Mystery of the Crucified Lover.
            Pope John Paul II says:
            “Suffering unleashes the love in the human heart.”
Suffering is a great mystery,
great faith is required, even demanded…. pure and naked faith.    (12)

Jesus said:
“Believe in me!”
If the soul is to know the meaning of suffering,
or perhaps I should say,
if a person is going to know how to deal with suffering
in a life-giving way,….in the way of love,
she must have faith…naked faith, pure faith  (8)…dark faith (8)
            and “remain with suffering  in the sacred silence of faith.”    (20)

Paul of the Cross does not so say so much about the
meaning of suffering in these Letter to Mother Mary Crucified.
He spend great energy in instructing the soul
on how to live with suffering,
how to love in suffering,
how to grow in holiness through suffering.. 

The medical field looks for the cause of suffering,
and it should. Even in personal life or community life
one should look for the cause of suffering
and make an effort to correct it.
            However in all situations St Paul says
            that we should “accept all suffering as coming
            from the hand of the Beloved…  the Supreme Lord.    (36)
                        Oh, how blessed the soul would be
                        to accept sufferings with this attitude
                        and this faith.
            We believe in Divine Providence and we believe that God’s
            presence and graces are there for us
            in the suffering experiences of life.

            Ours is to accept suffering
            with the disposition of Jesus: “Not my will, by Thy will be done.”
            If we accept suffering as coming from the hand of the Beloved,
            with  humility, resignation, abandonment, surrender…
            we are giving ourselves into the transforming love of the Crucified Christ.

            Yes, the soul is to see suffering
            as coming from the hand of the Beloved
            and surrender.
                        To surrender is to be ready
                        and to be ready is to say “yes” to the Beloved
                        who is present.
                                    What was your attitude on the day of profession
                                     when the Cross was placed on your shoulder?.

No one can deny that suffering is hard… trying… agonizing… painful…
energy draining,  time consuming…
Saint Paul advises : “Suffer and be silent.” (33)- (15-16)

This is not a stoic silence,
but a silence of self of self-surrender,
a silence of dying to self.

Paul says: “Don’t complain and show no resentment.” ( 33)
            Sometimes we quickly want to complain….
            especially in an unjust suffering.
            At times this complaining can be a call to self attentiveness.
            We complain to get the attention of another.
            We complain for self pity.
            We complain because we want others to feel sorry for us.
                        All is self interest.
                        There could be various reasons for complaining when we suffer,
                        but Paul of the Cross calls us to “suffer in detachment.”  (29)

                        What wonderful advice Paul gives:
                        “accept every suffering as coming directly from the
                        sole loving hand of the Supreme Lord,
                        who can only will the best for you.”  (36)