There is an interesting conversation between St. Vincent and St. Louise which I read many years back in a book about St. Vincent. The topic of conversation was,” why God allows sufferings in our life?”. Vincent tells to Louise, that “God can be compared to a sculptor who makes a beautiful statue out of a stone by chiseling it”. He compares the sufferings and trials of life to this action of chiseling. The purpose is to make something beautiful from us. But Louise tells to Vincent that “at time the stones do break while it is being chiseled”. To this Vincent replies that “such stones never will become statutes”.
St. Vincent’s view of suffering is the same in line with what St. James in his letter says about purpose of trials and testing in our life. “Testing of faith produces endurance and endurance leads us to be complete and mature, lacking in nothing” (Jas 1:2-4).
Victor Frankl in his famous book, “Will to Meaning” speaks about finding meaning in suffering. According to him, if there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Many people are disappointed when they see that things didn’t turn out in their life as they expected. To them he says; it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.
Bible presents Job as the prototype of the man who struggles to find meaning for the suffering. The words of “wise” men could not help him and he wanted to speak with God face to face. So he says to his friends; Look, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God (Job13:1-3).
When he turns to God, he realizes the truth, that there are many things which human mind cannot grasp. Job when he realized this he humbles himself before God and said; I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know (Job 42:3)
It is our faith in Jesus alone will give us the full meaning of suffering in our life. In Jesus our suffering and death has a meaning. So to face trials and sufferings of life we need to fix our eyes on Jesu and his cross, as he during his life -journey on earth “fixed his eyes to Jerusalem”; which was his place of suffering, death and resurrection.
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania, where he still is today.
Tags: Binoy Puthusery