**I’m going to start this blog by saying if you or someone you are close is going through a crisis, this may not be the one for you to read. Or, if you do, please read to the end, so that what I am saying may not sound like I am making light of your journey. My Rosary prayer intention today is for all who are suffering, especially those in New Zealand…God bless you.
I was doing my Lenten study, Thy Will Be Done, and it talked about the difference between evil and suffering. It’s not something I had ever thought about…separating the two. When you are in the midst of suffering, it can be perceived as an act of evil. And you may very well be right. But first, let me tell you how they distinguished the two.
God may have willed for me great suffering, but it doesn’t mean He willed evil. Evil is an issue of morality. Only humans can be moral. For example, if a lion were to attack me, it would cause me great suffering, maybe even death. But the lion is not evil. It may be tragic but that in itself does not constitute evil. A lion isn’t good or evil. Neither is the weather, but the results can be devastating.
Evil and suffering are very distinct matters, that may exist at the same time. Let’s take Christ’s cross. It was God’s will that Christ be crucified, for the sake of salvation. The crucifixion is the worst evil that could ever be…crucifying the sinless, Son of God. By Jesus, freely accepting God’s will, death on the cross, the result brought about salvation. Those who persecuted him and killed him acted in an evil way. The reason they killed him was an evil and sinful act. But Jesus’ suffering not evil.
Suffering is painful. Period. If God’s will for me to suffer, even for some greater good that I cannot see, doesn’t take the pain of it away. Last year at this time, I was looking for help with my neck and radiating pain and numbness. It had grown increasingly worse over the previous ten years to the point of becoming debilitating. During that time, I tried to get doctors to look away from my migraine issues to the issues of my neck…with no avail.
The first orthopedic surgeon referred me to a specialist. When the specialist looked at my x-rays and MRI results, he said, “If you had only come to me ten years ago, I might have been able to help you.” Really??? But, he did refer me to an amazing specialist at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and as of today, five weeks out from my surgery, I am only suffering pain from the procedure itself…and it is mild in comparison.
Was it God’s plan for me to suffer? I don’t know. I do know good things that came from it. First, I spend a lot of nights sitting up and praying for others. It distracted my mind from my pain and lifted others up to God is always a good thing.
Second, I learned how to “marry” my pain with Christ’s. I remember sitting at church one night, praying the Rosary, and noticing how much pressure must have been on Christ’s shoulders and neck. In that moment, it was as though my pain and his were joined. It changed the way I looked at my pain and while I’m grateful that that pain has been cured, I’m more grateful for the blessing I received in that moment. A blessing I continue to receive, especially when I’m praying the Rosary.
Tonight, as I pray to God for those who are suffering, I’m careful pray that His will be done in each individual circumstance. That above all, His presence will be felt, and peace may come into those hearts and that their suffering may be married to Christ’s own passion.
We are at Christ’s disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything you do is all right. We must say, “I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.” And this…is our strength, and this is the joy of the Lord.
-Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta