of heaven, and the name of that river was suffering… and I saw the boat which carries souls across the river, and the name of that boat was love. ~ St John of the Cross
... each person knows about suffering from a personal experience. Our society idolizes happiness and subtly insists that we hide our wounds. People smile and appear happy. Yet the burdens and wounded places of the human heart are not far from any one of us. Underneath those smiles all sorts of unresolved hurt manage to reside. We are all making our way across the river of suffering, and every soul benefits from being carried in the boat named love.
Each of us contains the gift of resiliency. Human beings have the power to survive and bounce back after inevitable loss, but they also are able to shape how they enter into this recovery. Depending on our responses, Suffering provides untold opportunities for inner transformation. “ Loss, ironically enough, is the catalyst of newness,” Writes Benedictine Joan Cittister. It is “ a doorway to other parts of the soul, where what lies dormant in us comes alive because alive it must.”
Week Three focuses on the reality of suffering and our stance toward it. “ God’s Compassion is total, absolute, unconditional without reservation. It is the compassion of the one who keeps going to the most forgotten corners of the world, and who can not rest as long as there are still human beings with tears in their eyes.( Henry Nouwen)
“We need a God who knows about pain..we prefer a God who prevents suffering, only that is not the God we have got. What the Cross teaches us is that God’s power is not the power to force human choices and end human pain. It is instead, the power to pick up shattered pieces and make something holy out of them- not from a distance but right up close.”( Barbara Brown Taylor) This week pick “ pickup the shattered pieces” of your experience of suffering and observe what have you learned
Reflect: - how do you continue to grow in becoming a compassionate presence because of how these sufferings have visited your life? -What most enables you to move beyond a difficult period of suffering and begin the process of healing? What spiritual practices assist you with this?