April 25, 2014

what is found in suffering

     Ram Dass was an eastern mystic yet his approach to suffering differs little from the late Pope John Paul II who also includes a mystic element as well as the road to grace.
Human suffering evokes compassion; it also evokes respect, and in it own way it intimidates.  For in suffering is contained the greatness of a specific mystery.  This special respect for every form of human suffering must be set at the beginning...we dare to touch what appears in every man so intangible: for man, in his suffering, remains an intangible mystery....suffering seems almost inexpressible and not transferable, perhaps at the same time nothing else requires as much as does suffering....and that therefore basic question must asked about it and the answers sought.  It is evident that it is not a question here merely of giving a description of suffering.
This, to me, seems at least an honest answer, if not one of the most honest answers I've seen from biblical scholars, ministers, or even the Bible itself (I find the story of Job absolutely reprehensible).  John Paul concedes the importance and universality of human suffering in the same breath as acknowledging that it is a mystery.  If there is an absolute understanding of suffering, he is willing to admit that meaning lies shrouded in mystery.  And despite that impenetrable shroud, we must still pry to find what it means to us.

No comments: