A CAUSE TO SUFFER
Fleeing from suffering is instinctive; we seek relief for any pain. What do we do in the face of unjust suffering? Sometimes we seek the easy painkiller, “It may be God´s will”. Thus we can degrade the faith converting it into an opium of the people (K. Marx).
Today Claret provides us with a guide for our behaviour before unjust suffering. Will it help us? The archbishop in Santiago de Cuba, perceived a lot of suffering, but he resigned himself to doing good; he created institutions aiming at alleviating pain. As an older man he himself was a victim of horrible persecutions. And he taught himself to suffer them with:
Silence. Certainly we should not remain silent. We cannot just cross our arms in the face of evil. But it is good to be in silence before acting. Only thus we shall avoid the wrong and revengeful reaction that would aggravate the situation. Silence helps us to contemplate not only on one´s own dignity but also on the dignity of the aggressor. Jesus only said, “if I have spoken wrongly, point it out; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me? (Jn 18:23).
Patience. Nothing happens all of a sudden. And it is not easy to face everything. I will need serenity, clarity to act reasonably. And acting with wisdom and style…..
Prayer. All must be looked at with the eyes of God and from the overall plan. He does not want suffering, but if he does wish, that when it comes, it contributes to our good. In prayer we will see God in the sufferings and we act with our mind placed in Him.
Hope. The temptation of bitterness, hopelessness, resentment or sometimes the analgesics of “evil” resignation or conformism lie in wait for us. The hope leads us to act differently by seeing –like St. Stephen- “the heavens opened” and final triumph of good.
What are my experiences regarding my own or that of others’ unjust sufferings? How do I react to them? Can such situations dominate me o am I master of them? What am I to learn? Lord, give me the grace of “a style of life” in defence of the innocent.