Aloha Friday Message – September 25, 2009 – Suffering and Service


I want to bring in a Guest Columnist today – in fact 2. Please use the links to read two excellent articles on suffering. My heart is filled with empathy, sympathy, concern, and even pain as I reflect on the sufferings some of you have described in your letters to the MBN.

So many times people will say that suffering is meaningless, or that it was punishment from God. Not so!! Faith, strength, endurance, patience, wisdom, leadership, and holiness are the fruits of suffering. For you, whom I love so deeply, I dread to see your suffering even if it means – sometime, eventually – the enrichment of your life and the betterment of the world. I need to be reminded that God prepares us for what we need to do … my friend Abraham continues to teach me that.

Think on these things, and then read the article. Please?

Thomas Merton: “The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt”

Elbert Hubbard: “If you suffer, thank God! — it is a sure sign that you are alive.”

Lesley Hazelton: “Suffering, once accepted, loses its edge, for the terror of it lessens, and what remains is generally far more manageable than we had imagined.”

St. Paul: “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4).”

Jane Roberts: “Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering”

Thomas Merton: “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another.”

To the authors: Thank you for this clearly-written article. Our prayer group receives several new requests every week to pray for people who are suffering. Part of the natural human response is “Why me?” I think what you have written here will be very helpful to those who suffer as well as those who open themselves to share in the suffering of others. Perhaps not everyone has the spiritual preparation to be like Anne Catherine Emmerich, but anyone can feel a pang in the heart for another’s pain of any kind. That intimacy, as you describe it here, is a sure connection to the reality of being created in the image of God whose intimacy with our suffering is perfect. – MBN

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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