Wednesday, March 15, 2006

where I skirt the issue and settle for a quote

From my perspective, the Judeo-Christian tradition doesn’t offer a lot answers about the source or origin of suffering. I know that oceans of ink have been spilled on this issue and there is even a type of theological inquiry - known as theodicy – that tries to unravel the “problem of pain.” I am thankful for the work my fellow sinners and saints have done in this area, but I have not found any of their answers persuasive.

However, while our rich tradition doesn’t seem to provide many solid answers, I think that it does provide us with incredible resources for persevering through our pain. In fact, if we utilize these resources - which include innumerable texts such as Job, Proverbs, the Gethsemane stories and the Apocalypse of St. John – I’m convinced that together we can persevere through the trials and travails which regularly confront us and occasionally even find a few streams in the desert.

Why am I saying this? Well, because I’m really stumbling forward right now on a path that intermittently skirts the edge of the abyss, and I need the self affirmation. Also, I thought it would be wise to provide a little context for this Henri Nouwen quote from The Inner Voice of Love *

“This is what Jesus means when he asks you to take up your cross. He encourages you to recognize and embrace your unique suffering and to trust that your way to salvation lies therein. Taking up your cross means, first of all, befriending your wounds and letting them reveal to you your own truth.

There is great pain and suffering in the world. But the pain hardest to bear is your own. Once you have taken up that cross, you will be able to see clearly the crosses that others have to bear, and you will be able to reveal to them their own ways to joy, peace and freedom.”

So there you go. Simply writing this stuff out is therapeutic for me. Thank you for taking the time to listen.

* In answer to your question ahbahsean, stick with Nouwen. I think his books are excellent, if not essential, companions for this journey.

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