Wednesday, June 9, 2010

1 Corinthians 1:20-23 Suffering

1 Corinthians 1:20-23
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

The two simple reactions to pain and loss:
One is a protest – This is outrageous – How dare God arranges this so that I have to suffer.
That protest is important. Man is asking for fulfilment.
I experience only the loss. It is not right. That is only the penultimate word.

The ultimate word ought to be an expression of hope.

Is there someone, somewhere who can take this pain, who can carry it, absorb it and somehow dissolve it in the fire of His love, which is much greater, which masters the pain. In Christ we have that.

Who God is, is precisely as Jesus shows Himself to be. He really is God. He really is man. Docetism was a heresy that was dealt with early on where they say God was pretending to be man.

We emphasise that we have to look to Christ and to Christ on the Cross to get to the core of this mystery that God is love. What does that Cross teach us?

One thing is clear is that if it hadn’t been for the Cross then the truth that God is love would remain unfounded, unconvincing.

How do you know God is love if He isn’t prepared to prove it?

To dramatise it by His own suffering love, His own willingness to descend into the brokenness of the human condition. Looking at this crucified God, you can’t help but explain this is what love means. Here is the embodiment of love.

Suffering with, entering deeply into my own pain.

Whatever descent I have – depression or pain or whatever, has already been included, contained within the infinite descent of Christ.
He blazes the trail through this forest of pain.

So I could never accost God and say “Look, you didn’t understand my pain and it somehow exceeded what you had to endure”

How does He taking His own pain involve my pain?

What He does not assume He will not redeem!

This is the ancient patristic refrain. If He assumes my life, my death then He includes both in His own life and death.

His humanity somehow encompasses mine. So by looking to Him, I have more than an example on how to suffer and die.
I have a source of efficacious grace which enables me to triumph, not just to endure, not just to simply submit but to become victorious in the face of suffering.

I have Easter.

Source: Regis Martin – “Franciscan University Presents”

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