Today I’m over at the National Catholic Register with a book review of Fr. Livio Franzaga’s “Wrath of God.”
Trying to get back on the writing horse of submitting every week and writing every day.
This morning, an online friend reached out, broken by circumstances long endured. It felt hard to offer comfort when the friend does not allow for the reality of anything beyond now. How do witness the meaning of suffering in a suffering world without God, articulated as God, is difficult. My friend knows I believe, but it wasn’t a time to discuss what I believe, but to offer as much comfort as possible in a veiled manner.
Everyone has moments when all they can do is howl. Suffering isn’t something we were ever meant to endure –and life is absolutely hard because suffering is a fundamental reality of existence. My husband sometimes expresses it this way, “It’s a bad plan.” –meaning all of this that isn’t lovely, all of this that hurts or requires us to struggle.
(The bad part of this reality is the result of a warping of God’s good plan by one who only wishes us ill. However God, being God, can even bend suffering towards our becoming more who we are called to be, and isn’t above using all of time to make it happen). –thoughts that reflect the reality but could not be written.
The redemptive component of suffering is hope, perseverance and courage. When we go on, even after we’ve screamed at the universe, with loving others, with offering kindness to a stiff necked world that seems to not recognize any injury or hurt but its own, we are in our own way, participating in the healing of the world.
My grandfather told my dad when he was despairing over his first born being two pounds and eleven ounces and needing a tracheostomy, “Sooner or later, we all find ourselves at the foot of the cross, bawling like a baby.” He’d lost a son. He also had another son who suffered from perpetual mental illness. He’d been at the foot of that cross.
My schizophrenic uncle got everyone up in the house and made them pray the rosary when they took me back for the surgery that would save my life. “Pray for Baby Sherry” he taped on every bathroom mirror in an age before post-its.
Even now, that story moves me –it shows two fathers and a whole family’s love, even if I suspect some grumbled when their crazy brother woke them up. It reveals the reality of love –that it strengthens and heals long past the day it is offered, because suffering is temporary. Love is eternal and echoes out beyond all pain.
The suffering is still a colossal pain in the butt though.
My friend’s pain goes on, as does the howl. So I will ask all, to pray to the Blessed Mother to intercede for my friend. Put a mental post-it on your bathroom mirror so you remember when you brush your teeth, because the collective witness of faith unseen by all but the One who is love and sees all, will ease some of the pain, some of the ache the world has caused my friend, even if my friend does not yet know it.
Hail Mary, full of grace…