LOVE IN SUFFERING
As the Gospel message is incisive and has the ability to shake consciences even to making people or groups who live satisfied in error uncomfortable, it is normal that this generates opposition, including violence. Persecution is nothing new in Christianity. Looking at its history gives the impression that it is inevitable for those who desire to live the radical nature of the Gospel, as its authentic witnesses. Persecution can come as a physical attack, including attempts on life (against Fr. Claret we know of fourteen); other times it comes in more subtle forms such as depriving someone of their good name, of peace, even their most basic rights, ‘making life impossible’ for them.
The Christian response is not merely passive resignation but rather courage and fortitude in the conviction that with suffering we follow more visibly the footsteps of Jesus and that the non-violence is the only way of offering a different model, truly constructive and humanizing, finishing with the inclination to revenge. At times the positive fruit takes time to become evident, it grows slowly.
Unfortunately, both in the religious world as in civil society, history has failed in understanding this. Christians, followers of a man who was persecuted and killed, are called to offer humanity this alternative way out. The noblest form to endure suffering is without doubt that of Christian compassion and mercy for those who inflict it. The person keeps his dignity and, like the persecuted Jesus, can offer to the Father his transformed being. ‘Into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Lk. 23:46) was the last, and perhaps the most beautiful personal prayer of the persecuted Jesus to his welcoming Father.
Are you threatened or disheartened by persecutions or the troubles you meet in your daily life? Do you know how to respond with compassion and love?