May 4, 2009

Solidarity, Not Magic

God's response to the "problem of evil," to the intense and widespread suffering of the world, is not magical intervention but self-emptying solidarity.

To me this is part of the central message of Christianity, of the Incarnation and the Cross, but it's a revelation that is easily missed in our human addiction to control and aversion to letting go.

But to accept and internalize the difference is necessary for both the health of our prayer and our efforts to serve our suffering brothers and sisters.


Anonymous said...

So sorry to burden you with my apparent ignorance. I can understand suffering brought upon oneself as a consequence of poor choices. Ultimately the person we are today is the result of the choices we made in our life. But where is the solidarity in the suffering of the innocent? What do you tell the battered child whose father beats them senseless and then quotes the fourth commandment? What do you tell Silda Spitzer whose husband's infidelities made national news? What do you tell the pregnant woman whose spouse perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks? What do you tell the orphaned child as a result of war? That God loves them? These people did not choose to suffer as Jesus accepted suffering and death. It was the Father's WILL that Jesus should suffer and die. Is it also the Father's WILL that the innocent should suffer? Where is the solidarity in that?

Brother Charles said...

Dear Anonymous: Thanks for the comment and your honesty.

It could never be God's will that any of the people you mention suffer so much; each has their flourishing and happiness stolen from them unfairly by the evil, sins and bad choices of others.

The good news of our faith is that God has com-passion, and suffers with them in Christ crucified.

But the Resurrection reveals that the suffering we inflict on each other is not the end of the story, and that new life and redemption are possible, should we also wish to accept our call to go to those who suffer, share their burdens, and together allow the Risen Jesus to show us the path of reconciliation, healing, and new life.