About the benefits of suffering

Good Friday thoughts about the unavoidable antecedents of a new life
Nyomtatóbarát változatNyomtatóbarát változat

 

1. Corona virus: a chance to change. Our welfare society lives in an irreconcilable conflict with suffering. In our time there is no room for suffering. Some years ago the "snowflake behavior" appeared that implies increased vulnerability and a lack of tolerating opposing opinions. As I wrote in my previous essay, we would like to get everything at once: we are unable to bear the ‘suffering’ of even waiting. All these have been "directly hit" by the corona virus epidemic and (I hope with all my heart that) have been sunk by it. It would be very unfortunate to return to where we were after such a global learning process. We could become more trained to tolerate changes than we have been earlier. We may become more cohesive than we have been. We may become more understanding than earlier. Are we doing so? That is The question of this year. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. About the benefits of suffering. Reading this title the Reader may think that I have gone crazy. Isn’t there enough suffering here? Yes, there is. Even so. It is important to see suffering from another point of view than before. Suffering is not a leftover of ancient history surviving today that modern man can exterminate completely. The proper answer is not shaping our environment to meet our demands. The proper answer is reforming ourselves. The corona virus epidemic forces us to recognize this. Change always causes suffering. Suffering is such a state of being, in which complex systems are not in a resource-rich but in a resource-poor status. Resource-poorness educates to select. It teaches to distinguish between valuable and valueless. Only suffering educates to appreciate the good. We become defenseless without suffering. We have to practice how to stay alive – if we want to survive in the future... That is exactly what we are doing now. We are conducting global survival exercises right now. Suffering is a prayer. A prayer that manifests Jesus Christ’s redeeming mercy in the world and with this it contributes to the world’s purification. A suffering man awakens this mercy in the souls around him which are open to good. This is how a sufferer helps these souls get closer to Jesus with his silent service. All of us, let’s feel this call. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

   

3. The necessity of resurrection. When I was kneeling at the Golgotha in November, 2019, and after that when I was embracing the resurrected Jesus’ tomb, I clearly understood that there is no resurrection without crucifixion. Jesus’ resurrection’s world explosion that took place in a split of a second was the consequence of the slow crucifixion full of suffering. It is necessary to get through the narrow gate to see the entire Universe opening up. Our birth, life and death are all these very same analogies. We cannot omit suffering from our lives if we want to receive peace. Our Lord asks us to take up His cross every day (Lucas 9:22-25). So we should not protest – if it is here now. And let’s wait for the Easter Dawn, first with increasing hope, then with certainty emerging from this. Because the dawn of resurrection WILL COME after suffering. Because it has been consummated. Amen. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


 

1. Corona virus: a chance to change

 

Our welfare society lives in an irreconcilable conflict with suffering. In our time there is no room for suffering. Far be it from me to want those disastrous eras back, in which suffering, caused to others, was one of the main characteristics of humanity. I feel intense grief and sincere compassion towards the victims, the ill and the threatened, and also the mourning and worried relatives in the raging epidemic today. However, I need to note that the self-enforced vicious circles of human welfare’s "development" have taken us (but not the lacking billions of people!) to negate suffering to such an extent, where the alarm bell has already started to ring. Because of our suffering-phobia, we interpret the definition of health ("Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."  – WHO) as something that includes the maximum obtainable welfare in "total well-being", where we do not let a tiny bit of space to suffering. Suffering is often conceived in religions as a punishment for original sin. According to the approach of this century, suffering becomes The Devil itself, the Genuine Evil that should be completely exterminated from people’s lives. (This "ausradieren" behavior did not lead to anything good in the past either...) Some years ago the "snowflake behavior" appeared that implies increased vulnerability and a lack of tolerating opposing opinions. As I wrote in my previous essay, we would like to get everything at once: we are unable to bear the ‘suffering’ of even waiting. All these have been "directly hit" by the corona virus epidemic and (I hope with all my heart that) have been sunk by it. It would be very unfortunate to return to where we were after such a global learning process. We could become more trained to tolerate changes than we have been earlier. We may become more cohesive than we have been. We may become more understanding than earlier. Are we doing so? That is The question of this year.

 


 

2. About the benefits of suffering

 

Reading this title the Reader may think that I have gone crazy. Isn’t there enough suffering here? Yes, there is. Even so. It is important to see suffering from another point of view than before. Suffering is not a leftover of ancient history surviving today that modern man (together with the remnant of nature surrounding him...) can exterminate completely. The proper answer is not shaping our environment to meet our demands. The proper answer is reforming ourselves. The corona virus epidemic forces us to recognize this. Change always causes suffering. Suffering is such a state of being, in which complex systems are not in a resource-rich but in a resource-poor status. The unlimited inflow of resources into our lives prevents us to make a difference between them. What for? If this car of mine is useless, there surely will be another one. This partner of mine is useless, there surely will be another one. If this God is useless, I will surely create another one... Swamped by the numerous opportunities, we cannot make a difference among them because there is not enough time and information-processing capacity for that. Resource-poorness educates to select. It teaches to distinguish between valuable and valueless. Only suffering educates to appreciate the good. We become defenseless without suffering. We have to practice how to stay alive – if we want to survive in the future... That is exactly what we are doing now. We are conducting global survival exercises right now. Those who have not suffered enough yet cannot assess the depth of suffering either. They do not feel compassion and they are able to cause suffering to others without reservations and limits. We are becoming enriched in mercy – I hope – right now.

 

Although the epidemic has created a real Lenten period (as Lenten’s essence is that we should give up on something and experience at least the anteroom of suffering), with these thoughts above my intensions were far from becoming a warrior of a "suffering culture". I feel deep sympathy with the misery of millions and the difficult situation of hundreds of millions or even billions. The totality of life needs to be total both in the depth of suffering and joy, too. Let me quote Teilhard de Chardin, who wrote as follows: "Dear Sister Marguerite-Marie, while I, dedicated to the positive forces of the universe, was wandering over the continents and the seas, passionately absorbed in watching all the hues of the earth rise, you, motionless, prostrate, you were silently transforming, at the depths of your being, the darkest shadows of the world into light. In the eyes of the Creator, tell me, which of us two will have played the better role?" Suffering is a prayer. A prayer that manifests Jesus Christ’s redeeming mercy in the world and with this it contributes to the world’s purification. A suffering man awakens this mercy in the souls around him which are open to good. This is how a sufferer helps these souls get closer to Jesus with his silent service. All of us, let’s feel this call.

 


 

3. The necessity of resurrection

 

"knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience trial; and trial hope; and hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us." (Romans 5:3b-5)

 

 

   

(The painting of Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim altar, Hans Holbein’s painting "The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb", and Salvador Dali’s painting "The Ascension of Christ" depict Jesus’ hand symbolizing Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the resurrection of Easter. Please observe how the finger of the dead body of Jesus points on us in the middle painting and how the very same nailed hand of the left gets filled with power in Dali’s right painting showing the ascension. This gives us hope. The nailed hand always gets always filled with power, because this is the Will of the Father.)

 

When I was kneeling on Golgotha in November, 2019, and after that when I was embracing the resurrected Jesus’ tomb, I clearly understood that there is no resurrection without crucifixion. Jesus’ resurrection’s world explosion that took place in a split of a second was the consequence of the slow crucifixion full of suffering. It is necessary to get through the narrow gate to see the entire Universe opening up. Our birth, life and death are all these very same analogies. We cannot omit suffering from our lives if we want to receive peace. Our Lord asks us to take up His cross every day (Lucas 9:22-25). So we should not protest – if it is here now. And let’s wait for the Easter Dawn, first with increasing hope, then with certainty emerging from this. Because the dawn of resurrection WILL COME after suffering. Because it has been consummated. Amen.

 

 

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