“We must regard love as suffering” – BC Catholic
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
First reading: Isa 53: 10-11
Second reading: Hey 4: 14-16
Gospel reading: Mk 10: 35-45
This Sunday’s Readings speak of suffering, in particular suffering which is the consequence of sin and, paradoxically, is the remedy for sin.
As CS Lewis shows, suffering “is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet” (The pain problem). We can therefore expect to find him integrated into the world that God gives us to enter into love with him.
“We must think of love as of suffering,” said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. To say Yes to love is to risk suffering, for “to love is to be dependent on something that can perhaps be taken away from me”. To say no to love is to decide that instead of “taking this risk”, seeing “my limited self-determination” or “depending on something I cannot control”, I would rather “not have love”.
In love, the Pope says: “I can’t just stay myself; I always have to get lost, have my rough edges removed, let myself be “hurt”.
(Paradoxically, he adds, losing myself means discovery myself, out of love, “precisely with the risk of suffering,” brings me back to myself and makes me what I should be.)
“Love anything, and your heart will certainly be twisted and maybe broken,” Lewis says. “If you want to make sure you keep it intact, you don’t have to give your heart to anyone, not even an animal. Wrap it up neatly with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid entanglement; lock it up securely in the coffin or the coffin of your selfishness.
“But in this coffin – safe, dark, still, airless – that will change. He will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irrecoverable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and disturbances of love is Hell.
Even in hell, one does not escape suffering, because there a created being “is obliged by someone stronger than him to be what he does not consent to be, that is to say dependent on God. », Says Father Raniero Cantalamessa,« and his eternal torment is that he can neither get rid of God nor of himself.
Now, the love to which God calls us – love between the Persons of the Holy Trinity – does not only mean losing myself, but giving myself: to make “this total gift of self that the three divine Persons make to themselves”, says Pope Saint John Paul II.
“Gift of self” is an expression that the Pope has used on several occasions. This involves an exchange of people, not just goods. For example, Pope Saint Paul VI said: “Whoever truly loves his marriage partner loves not only for what he receives, but for the partner himself, rejoicing in being able to enrich his partner with the gift of him- same.
We have good reason to love God for his gifts, but he wants us to love him for himself, put him before all his other gifts and even suffer their loss out of love for him.
However, we are like children who cannot see the giver because we are distracted by his gifts. God, therefore, treats us as his children. Our suffering is his “discipline”. We submit to the discipline of our earthly parents; how much more must we submit to his!
It is difficult for us to be deprived of the goods for which we have worked. But God knows they won’t satisfy us, and if we don’t learn to prefer it, we’ll be miserable. And so it troubles us, warns us of a deficiency that will one day have to be discovered, says Lewis.
No one can escape suffering, because it is linked to our human limits and, above all, to moral evil, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Christian Science asserts that evil is not real; Buddhism teaches that we can simply refuse to experience it; but Christians believe that God is working on it.
Father Hawkswell teaches again Catholic Faith in Plain Language in written form and YouTube at beholdvancouver.org/catholic-faith-course. Session 5, available on YouTube from October 17, is “What is the Catholic Church? “