Pain and Suffering in Life

My thoughts constantly stray to Brittany Meynard. Her dying will surely spark wider and more serious conversations on assisted dying, euthanasia and suicide. Many have sympathized with her and expressed admiration for her decision and action. There are those who say she had no right to do take her own life. This is indeed one issue that will need deep discussions and even deeper prayers.

I have always been taught and totally believe in the salvific nature of suffering. Suffering is not something to be desired or wished upon others. That is wrong. But when suffering does come, and it surely will, it can be channelled to something positive and edifying. I have been taught that I can bear my suffering equanimity and offer it as a reparation for my sins. Or, I can offer it for the intentions of my friends and loved ones. Or, I can bear it with courage to strengthen my own spirit. But all of that is easier said than done. I really do not know how and what I would do if one day I were to find myself in a situation like Brittany’s.

Jesus was not blind nor pollyannaish about suffering. He was a man full of love, caring and compassion. And yet, he was not blind to divisions, enmities and even betrayals. He was a man of peace and yet He was aware of the sword and its power to make people angry or afraid or vengeful or giving way to hating. He loved feasts and parties and having a good time with this friends and loved ones. And yet, He repeatedly warned His disciples that following Him meant having to deal with the cross. And in the end, it was through His suffering, His passion  and death that He came to the glory of His resurrection. That seems to be pretty straightforward but it is difficult to comprehend and see in everyday life.

The Lord is my light and my salvation.
~ Psalm 27

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.” 
Luke 14:25-26

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