Monday, March 08, 2010

Just like the Cross…

When I was young, I wanted to suffer for God. I pictured myself being the great and glorious martyr. There's something so romantic about laying down your life. I guess every young person might see themselves that way, but now I know it is mostly ego.  There is nothing glorious about any actual moment of suffering—when you're in the middle of it. You swear it's meaningless. You swear it has nothing to do with goodness or holiness or God.

The very essence of any experience of trial is that you want to get out. A lack of purpose, of meaning—is the precise suffering of suffering! When you find a pattern in your suffering, a direction, you can accept it and go with it. The great suffering, the suffering of Jesus, is when that pattern is not immediately given.  The soul can live without success, but it cannot live without meaning.

Richard Rohr, adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 86, day 94

I can so witness to the truth of Rohr’s words here. The experience of meaninglessness, the sense that almost any circumstances than the present ones would be more godly, more formative, more obviously holy to oneself and to the world, is overwhelming. Nothing, it seems, could be farther from the tragic dignity of suffering for the sake of one’s faith. The present circumstances are just a mess, bloody and tangled and degrading, “nothing to do with goodness or holiness or God.” Just like the Cross, really, when you think about it…


  1. Oh, yeah. I so get this. There can be dignity in suffering when there is meaning to it. Actually, that was the interesting thing I found about having CFS. And now that I am largely well, but still with health issues, I feel the loss and lack of that definition. Very strange indeed.

    This was so good to read, though. I do so often feel like my suffering is meaningless and pointless. Like the world's is meaningless. Surely that is at the root of so many people's pain and ennui and nihilism?

    Good post, good reminders.

  2. Thank you, Sue... I might have known you'd get it straight away. dear sister!