The ‘blessing’ of pain. Blessed ‘whys’

17 June 2016
[Previous Publication:]

Christ Himself sanctified this on the cross: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ God, why have you done this to me? What did I do to you? Am I not your Son’. The same question as mine and one which also went unanswered. At least it seemed to. But events provided the answer.

Many such ‘whys’ came out of the mouth of Job the Much-Suffered and from the stylus of wounded David, two men whose tragic loss of their children marked their passage through history and who are often presented to us as unique models of faith, fortitude and patience.

We address this question to God, we ask it of ourselves, we repeat it to people we feel are especially fond of us. We ask it mainly to express what’s inside us but while also expecting the gentle brush of a response. But who can give an answer? Even if people know, how can they tell us?

Basil the Great says to a grieving father that pain makes people so sensitive that they’re like an eye that can’t stand the weight even of a feather. Even the gentlest of touches increases the pain of the person who’s hurt. Even the most tactful comparison is unbearable. Anything said as a reasonable argument is too much to handle. Only tears, a common bewilderment, silence and inner prayer can relieve the pain, illumine the darkness or beget the slightest hope.


Pain begets truth, empathy and common feelings.

Pain doesn’t only awaken us but also begets love in those around us. They try to put themselves in our place. At a time when they themselves are feeling safe, they try to share our feelings, which are most unwelcome to them. And they do. Pain begets patience in us, but at the same time, also begets a bond of love with our friends. Pain begets the truth. The fellow-feeling of other people plants it in our hearts. It’s here that the answer is discreetly hidden.

In this way consolation is born in the heart, and the sweetness and relief which it brings are much more intense, as experiences, than the weight of the pain

(To be continued)

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