MYSTERY OF SUFFERING

1. Origin of Suffering

Melody: God of Mercy and Compassion, Lord of life and blinding light. Truth whom creatures would refashion, Place on us the gift of sight. Truth insistent and demanding, Love resented and ignored, Life beyond all understanding, Give us peace and pardon, Lord.

Suffering has its origin at the beginning of the human race when man and woman (Adam and Eve) decided to eat from the "tree of knowledge of good and bad"(Gn. 2:17), that is, they decided to live by their own rules rather than be guided by God's Law as manifested in their consciences.

In the beginning, the human spirit had a pervasive ruling power over man's nature, but with the fall, "He [God] began to rule the organism in a more external fashion, not by the laws of the spirit, but by those of nature. Thus the organism no longer ruled by man's will, fell under the control of ordinary bio-chemical laws, and suffered whatever the inter-workings of these laws might bring about in the way of pain, senility and death." 10

2. The Suffering and Death of Christ

This is the saddest day in the history of the world, we killed the Holy One of God. God the Father did not cause the death of his Son, men did. The Son expiates the Sin of the World by his perfect obedience to the Father. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." (Lk 22:42) And, Christ's terrible sufferings reveal the profound mystery of God's love for mankind. And his mother suffered with Him:

At the Cross her station keeping

Stood the mournful mother weeping,

Close to Jesus to the Last.

3. Why must the innocent suffer?

Pain makes you think, Thought makes you wise,Wisdom makes life endurable.

1) First of all, no one is born innocent because we are all part of a race that has defied the living God.

2) This means that our struggle against temptation causes us pain.

3) Many suffer because of the evil men do against them by their greed, lust and pride (e.g. Ethnic cleansing of Kosovo by the Serbs).

4) St. Augustine points out that seeming good man must suffer because they fail to condemn the evil men do for fear of offending them.

5)Other sufferings have a wider significance in God's plan. It is allowed by God in order to reveal his power and glory. (see Jn 9:2) 11

6) Christians especially are called to suffer with the Innocent One of God, Christ, for the Redemption of the world.