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The Mystery of Suffering

These are quotes from Job and the Mystery of Suffering by Richard Rohr.
When suffering comes to you (and sooner or later it comes to everyone), don’t search for any special method of prayer. Just be.

Just sit and accept your cross: accept it totally in the depth of your being. How terribly anguishing, but terribly powerful this method of prayer is. There are many different experiences of suffering, but whatever yours is, don’t try to escape it. Don’t fight it. Just sit with your cross.

Rohr says, To be human means to be imperfect and in process. Grace brings us out of the question of why we are suffering to the amazing recognition, “My life is not about me.” This is the great and saving revelation that comes only from the whirlwind, and we are never ready for it…………We are a continuation of the incarnation, a continuation of the passion and resurrection-we extend the whole life of Christ.

In another chapter Rohr says: I believe that the opposite of subjectivity is not objectivity, but otherness. It is an openness to the other-as other-that frees us for creativity and originality in our response. It is always an encounter with otherness that changes me. If I am not open to beyond-me, I’m in trouble. Without the other, we are trapped inside a perpetual hall of mirrors that only validates and deepens my existing world views. The central theme of the bible is to call people to encounters with otherness: the alien, the sinner, the Samaritan, the Gentile, the hidden and denied self, angels unaware. We need practice in moving outside our comfort zones. It is never a natural response…………

The fruit of the biblical revelation depends more than anything else on having a Lord……..
Allowing God to be our Lord is not something we can do as easily as believing this, doing that…….It is always a process of a lifetime, a movement toward union that will always feel like a loss of self-importance and autonomy……..My experience is that, apart from suffering, failure, humiliation, and pain, none of us will naturally let go of our self-sufficiency. We will think that our story is about us. It isn’t.

Job can be seen as the “pruning” of the branch of it’s pretense of autonomy and all the burden that goes with it-self-validation and self-criticism. Freedom is when you know that neither of them matters. My significance comes from who-I-am-in-God, who-I-am-as-part-of-a-much-larger-whole………..God is carrying me, both the good and the bad parts. There seem to be only two ways that we know this experientially: prayer and suffering.