What’s your response when confronted with human heartache?
Do you’re feeling the urge to repair it? To prescribe the suitable e-book, the suitable prayers, the suitable slogan, or the suitable routine? Or possibly you crack a joke to lighten the temper; possibly you set issues in perspective with a comparability: “Properly, at the very least you’re not like ____________________.”
Fixing feels good on the time. We inform ourselves that we’re “serving to” the opposite individual – however we’re in all probability serving to ourselves. We don’t like that feeling of heartache, and we positively don’t like feeling powerless – so we again away from the abyss by making an attempt to repair it.
When Job’s pals arrived, they discovered him sitting on a pile of dung, scraping at his scabs with a shard of pottery. They sat with him for a time, however couldn’t abide his heartache for very lengthy. They shifted to analyzing and fixing and thereby deserted him in his ache. Certainly, they blamed him for it!
Giving recommendation is simple – and never practically so useful as we prefer to assume. In some circumstances, it’s our means of backing away from solidarity with the struggling individual. In others, it’s an smug means of claiming, “If solely you had been extra like me, your issues would go away.”
I’ve observed that delicate message in myself and others – each on the particular person and the collective stage. I consider Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II – an orphanage in Peru based by Fr. Joe Walijewski, a saintly priest from our diocese. I’ve been there 5 occasions, often with a gaggle of younger individuals. The thought course of at house is nearly all the time the identical – Isn’t it nice that we’re sending down a few of our youth to go and assist these poor individuals? We assume that our prosperous American methods are higher than theirs. We assume that we now have the facility, knowledge, and assets to resolve their issues. If solely they had been extra like us…
Fr. Walijewski truly noticed it the opposite means round, dreaming of a “mission in reverse.” The mission isn’t our individuals taking place to Peru. Relatively, we go to Peru in order that the youngsters there can train us what it means to be human!
And so they have taught us – each time. Amidst materials poverty, amidst authorities corruption, amidst heart-wrenching tales of loss or betrayal, we now have encountered beautiful magnificence and pleasure. It exposes our personal deeper poverty – what Mom Teresa known as “the poverty of affluence.” Each single journey I’ve witnessed the shocked realization in our youths’ faces and tears: How can youngsters possessing so little, youngsters who’ve suffered a lot, be so joyful? How can they love so tenderly and so vulnerably? How can we who possess a lot be so joyless?
Jesus invitations us to be with one another in communion – each within the agonizing sorrows of life and within the intense joys. As Paul places it, “Rejoice with those that rejoice; weep with those that weep” (Romans 12:15). That signifies that the human coronary heart of a saint is rarely removed from tears and by no means removed from laughter. Those that are probably the most open to tears are additionally probably the most able to pleasure. That’s as a result of, within the Paschal Thriller, Jesus has redeemed human heartache by investing that means into it. He invitations us, to not bypass struggling and the Cross, however to observe him via it to new and plentiful life – to observe the place the courageous Shepherd has gone earlier than.
It’s only after we face the fuller depths of our humanity – in all its magnificence and brokenness – that we are able to die with Christ and rise with him.
It’s in such human encounters that the novelty of the Resurrection breaks in. Those that be taught to abide within the midst of heartache, staying susceptible and receptive to God and others, will expertise the shock of the Resurrection and the enjoyment of the Gospel. Jesus assures us that his Father blesses those that are poor, those that grieve and mourn, those that are prepared to be susceptible, those that starvation and thirst. Going through heartache permits us to obtain the Father’s blessing. “Fixing” it closes us off and diminishes our receptivity.
Let’s face it – dealing with heartache is difficult! As the good poet T.S. Eliot put it, “Humankind can’t bear very a lot actuality.”
I believe that’s the reason, when Jesus died on Good Friday, he stated “Behold – your mom!” – not simply to John, however to each beloved disciple. Mary was typically in conditions wherein she intuitively understood that God was doing superb issues. She did in no way know the way it was going to be okay. I’m considering of the Annunciation, Jesus’ beginning in a steady, the flight into Egypt, the cryptic phrases of Simeon within the Temple, the dropping and discovering of 12-year-old Jesus in Jerusalem, his torture and execution, and the terrible watching and ready on Holy Saturday. Repeatedly, mom Mary confronted heartache. Repeatedly, she waited with expectant hope and was stunned by the marvels of the Kingdom of God.
The final time the Bible tells us about Mary is in Acts 1. Following Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, but once more she abides in uncertainty and messiness. She prays with the apostles day by day within the cenacle – 9 days in all. It took these apostles a few years and lots of failed makes an attempt, however they realized to abide and obtain. The Jewish feast of Pentecost arrives – the day to deliver first fruits of the harvest to God. In a surprising and joy-filled reversal, God provides the primary fruits to his Church within the individual of the Holy Spirit. Mary recedes, and the early Church involves beginning, set on fireplace with the Holy Spirit.
The Church is meant by God to be a group that faces heartache vulnerably, open to the Father in holy receptivity and open to one another in true communal fellowship. Relatively than making an attempt to repair or advise others in order that their story can match into the preconceived mildew of our personal story, we anticipate the Holy Spirit to point out up. We anticipate the Father’s blessing. We anticipate that the brand new lifetime of Resurrection will shock us. Fixing is simply too constrictive to permit house for God to do his work.
Do we now have the braveness to face our humanity collectively, and to abide collectively in Hope?
Picture: William Blake, Public area, by way of Wikimedia Commons.