Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Suffering Is a Gift: Suffering Is a Marvelous Guide

Suffering is man’s constant companion, and one that will never leave our side so long as we are on the journey to Paradise. She exists to guide us along the very narrow path which leads one to Heaven. If we allow her to do her work, Suffering will guide us safely along this path and will warn us when we are straying too far. She will warn us when those we love are straying, too, so that we may help them return before it is too late.

However, if we are to allow Suffering to be our guide, we must first learn to understand her language. She speaks with groans, moans, sighs, and cries of agony. Many find her language to be too harsh to their ears and so they do not listen long enough to detect the meaning in it. Sit with Suffering for a time, though, and allow your ears to become attuned to her voice. Your life will be the better for it.

The bottle, the pill, the bedroom, the mall, the gambling hall, and the boardroom all promise to guide us to happiness yet all disappoint. They cannot lead us there, for they do not know the way. They promise to us that if we just have enough of those things, that if we indulge ourselves enough, we will be free of Suffering at last. However, these are false promises.

The harder we try to rid our lives of Suffering, the louder, larger, and stronger she becomes as she struggles desperately to guide us away from what will only lead to our destruction. If we accept Suffering as our guide, rather than pushing her away, she will help us to find the swiftest routes to our goals of joy and fulfillment, to show us where we are wounded so that we can receive healing and thus be able to walk the path faster, and to encourage us to let go of burdens that we carry so that we need not struggle so hard with the journey. She will become our most treasured friend and ally.

Suffering will not only show us the path to walk and help us to keep on it, but she will point out to us realities we would not otherwise see. Who knows better than the grieving wife what is needed for a woman who has lost her husband? The grieving wife’s suffering opens her eyes to the unique needs and problems which newly widowed women encounter and place her in a situation to be able to act as their liaison, helping them to get those needs met. Who knows better than the blind man what obstacles and challenges present themselves to one who is blind? In his encounter with Suffering, his eyes become opened to the plight of others like himself and he develops for them a tender compassion which leads him to seek solutions.

Dear brothers and sisters, I pray God may open your eyes and let you see what hidden treasures he bestows on us in the trials from which the world thinks only to flee. Shame turns into honor when we seek God's glory. Present affliction become the source of heavenly glory. To those who suffer wounds in fighting his battles God opens his arms in loving, tender friendship. That is why he (Christ) tells us that if we want to join him, we shall travel the way he took. It is surely not right that the Son of God should go his way on the path of shame while the sons of men walk the way of worldly honor: "The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant greater than his master." --from a letter by Saint John of Avila

I hope you will join us tomorrow as we explore Suffering Is an Able Assistant.

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