Crisis: The Cross complete absurdity


#1

For a long time I have accepted Christ’s suffering as meritous and redemptive, and I thought I had a good handle on the concept of uniting our own sufferings with His. I once even gave advice to a young woman at a crossroads before she was about to become a comtemplative nun on how and why to suffer for God with joy and love…

But lately, as my life has become more complicated, and as I “suffer” a little more, all that I had for insight is falling apart. I don’t see why God uses the Cross of Christ to redeem us. I see suffering as completely evil and I don’t understand how God could desire it as a means to salvation.

Needless to say, this new lack of comprehension for me has caused a breakdown in my own spirituality. One needs to find a way to intergrate the suffering that comes one’s way everyday. I don’t feel at peace with God. I feel I can’t offer my suffering to Him. I don’t feel I can head the call to “take up my own cross.” I have no means with which to rationalize with myself. My faith is very blind at this point, and I only accept suffering when it is preferrable to sin.

Does anyone have any useful words at solving the absurdity of the central teaching of Jesus through his life and words about the Cross?


#2

What do you think is absurd about it? It proves the humility and love of God that he would allow himself to be put to death by his own creation,and to forgive them while they were doing it,and to offer men eternal life through his death.


#3

I guess you don’t understand. I just suddenly became apparent to me that thinking suffering was somehow meaningful is the result of indoctrination. I think a clear mind would say rather that innocent suffering makes no sense at all. And the simple equation “Jesus’ death = the possibility of eternal life for all” doesn’t make sense. Suffering is not some kind of currency.


#4

My prayers for you - have you read Salvifici Doloris by John Paul 2? It may help. Also a book by Fr Benedict Groeschel - ‘Arise From Darkness: What to do when Life Doesn’t Make Sense’.


#5

I will read it. Thanks. I respect John Paul II a lot.


#6

#7

Well, I’m glad it works for you.


#8

‘We have nothing to boast of only the Cross of Christ Jesus’ This is what St Paul says and it is true. The Cross is true joy.

You might like to read this article I read earlier on today:

desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByDate/1483_Boasting_Only_in_the_Cross/ I don’t know if it is a Catholic site, but I do know it speaks well of the Mystery of the Cross. This one is definitely Catholic: rc.net/wcc/cross.htm

I will keep you in the Living Prayer of my life because this is a short amount of time you will spend in this dryness where your faith is tried; if your faith weren’t tried would it be faith? No it would not. To see the work of the Cross requires faith. Don’t worry all people have doubts, it will pass. Your doubts are more concerned with suffering than the work of Jesus and your love for Him. You are suffering and you have lost all romantic notion about suffering; it is no longer an attractive notion for you and now you are questioning God’s wisdom. This is precisely when you should go to the Cross of Jesus and pray before it and cling to it.

I will pray for you at this time.

Persevere and pray.:slight_smile:


#9

hi jeannette! how are you feeling these days? i mean… i guess the thread itself indicates a certain angst… but i hope you’re feeling generally stable.

it’s striking to me that you use the word absurd; it brings to mind albert camus and the myth of sisyphus, where he explores the general absurdity life. i haven’t read it, and i’m given to understand that it’s not good reading for a person who’s having trouble with faith and emotional well-being. but it’s good to know that other folks have been dealing with the same philosophical question throughout the modern age.

to me, the important part is that christ lived on earth as a human being, and experienced the maximum of suffering, as much as anyone and more than most. he even suffered that terrible feeling that god had abandoned him (even though we know that the father was with him and in him at all times). by remembering his suffering, we can know that we’re not alone, that god himself has been down here in the thick of it with us. he knows and he understands.

even jesus lost his faith, however briefly. yours will come back in time.


#10

[quote=emily47017;2521701
]

Jesus did not lose His faith in His Father at any time. You are thinking of the words ‘My God, my God why have you forsaken Me’ This is not a loss of faith but akin to the Dark Night where a soul endures without sensing the Presence of God and as Jesus is God at the precise moment He was sufffering so deeply in His Humanty and Divinity that He did not perceive even His own Divinity, nor the Presence of His Father nor the Consolation of the Holy Spirit. It was not a loss of faith by Jesus.
[/quote]


#11

You write well. I find this “testing” idea of yours kind of insulting, though.

I am compelled to believe every word you say because I still have faith in and love Him. But my faith has a blindness in it. Suffering remains a mystery to me. (And one owes obedience to Christ whether He suffered or not.)


#12

I don’t mean to insult you Jeanette as you say in your post. Everyone’s faith is tested, God Himself will do this to all of His Children. Mine is curently tested. ‘I will try you in the furnace’, but the thing is when we are tried in the furnace God removes the dross. Indeed I have alot of dross that needs removing from me.

Sometimes when I write I am aware it sounds like a lecture and it is the case I am lecturing myself because I know I am lacking. Everytime I write about the faith in any way shape or form I am firstly addressing myself because I know I lack a great deal and am a sinner.

‘What I desire with the will I do not carry out’

In my Living Prayer of life.:slight_smile:


#13

To strip us of this world and to become relient on God only. Tim


#14

That begs the question, why did He put us in this world at all?


#15

But lately, as my life has become more complicated, and as I “suffer” a little more, all that I had for insight is falling apart.

It sounds like the heaviness of your cross alienates you from your belief.
I understand. In times of trial, fear and anxiety could weary us, the evil one could attack us. But deep down, you still believe; otherwise, you wouldn’t come here to seek support, you would just let your faith go.

I am sorry for your plight. I thought about you after reading your post and went out for errands. I prayed for you. I hope you will continue to pray for yourself, ask for God’s mercy and help. I used to have question about redemptive suffering.
How does our suffering united with the suffering of Christ become redemptive for someone else?

Here is a simple answer I got from my spiritual director:
When we offer up our suffering and unite them with the Cross, we are honoring and glorifying God. By honoring and glorifying God, lots of grace are gained. God can use that grace for another person who needs it. Offering up our suffering is just like praying for someone else. When we pray for someone, that person gets benefit. When we offer up our suffering, the grace we gained from honoring God could be used to benefit another.

It makes lot of sense to me. I hope it does to you too.

In times of trial, if we don’t cling to God, who else can we turn to?

God bless! In my prayers.


#16

Tell us why it doesn’t work for you. And what is the “cross” you are bearing?


#17

this is how I see the Cross.
just my personal opinion.
the Cross vertical beam is the approach to Heaven or the Divine and the Cross horizontal beam is Humanity. Jesus meets us in the middle. At some point in our lives we have to make a complete change of direction and start walking with Jesus. But the point where Jesus meets us is at our Humanity --and Humanity suffers. Jesus did not have to suffer, but He chose to suffer with us, for us. He took our suffering so it would not be ours alone anymore and because He can carry it perfectly and lighten the yoke on us because He gives us hope of a time without suffering as we walk together away from Humanity and toward Divinity.
Whether you walk with Jesus or not you will still suffer. It is your choice to suffer alone or to accept His suffering as yours and give yours to Him. The suffering is the same with or without Him, except without Him there is no hope.
sorry if I got too abstract. I see my pain in abstract terms sometimes.


#18

it seems to me two different ways of thinking about the same thing. maybe you’re using a more specific definition of faith than i am…


#19

But lately, as my life has become more complicated, and as I “suffer” a little more, all that I had for insight is falling apart. I don’t see why God uses the Cross of Christ to redeem us. I see suffering as completely evil and I don’t understand how God could desire it as a means to salvation.

Jeanette, I am wondering if your confusion centers more around the origin of suffering itself. God did not desire for us to suffer. That was not part of His original plan for humankind. As Catholics, we believe we were created by God to know, love, and worship Him. For this to be accomplished, He granted us the free will to choose to give back His love. Unfortunately, as we all know, our first parents opted instead to elevate themselves to the status of “gods” and hence, suffering entered the world. God, in His infinite mercy, has allowed us a way to bring merit and value from suffering. He sent His Son to show us the way this is done. In Christ’s incarnation, He suffered along with all humanity and illustrated how the greatest good could be extracted from the greatest evil.

That begs the question, why did He put us in this world at all?

From the Baltimore Catechism:

****3. Why did God make us? ****
God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.
**56. What happened to Adam and Eve on account of their sin? **
On account of their sin Adam and Eve lost sanctifying grace, the right to heaven, and their special gifts; they became subject to death, to suffering, and to a strong inclination to evil, and they were driven from the Garden of Paradise.

**60. What are the chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin? **
The chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin are: death, suffering, ignorance, and a strong inclination to sin.

Does that help at all?


#20

Well, I went to confession today to confess suicidal thoughts. I have a mental disorder called schizoaffective disorder with which I was diagnosed two years ago while trying to complete my master’s in theology. I have $48.000 in debt and high psychiatric medical insurance and mediations to pay for. And right now I am working as a cashier at a grocery store, living with my parents, unable to support myself. I also have insomnia which has kept me from getting a better job. And I am such a painfully reserved person that I don’t know what kind of job in teaching or ministry I could really get with my degree. The good things in my life now are my faith and my family… but my faith could be helping me a lot more than it is. Spending most of my waking hours doing something I find meaningless is no way for a person to live. Those are the crosses I am bearing. I face a life of emptiness, intellectual stagnation, financial dilemmas and boredom.

I just have a problem with seeing suffering as something like money, especially when it shouldn’t be there in the first place. Like God is the “suffering banker.” I can understand suffering as a consequence for someone doing something wrong. But I don’t see how suffering, which is an evil, can earn you things for yourself and other people. It’s an internal, individual experience of evil.

Sometimes it just seems like we humans started out suffering from the very beginning through evolution and Jesus came down to share that suffering with us… And then ask us to suffer more in imitation of Him. Why do love and life have to be all about suffering?

None of my questions really help me in the everyday. I could have solidarity with Jesus in my suffering, but then think something like it was wicked for him to come down and make suffering the way to Life in imitation of Him when He really shouldn’t have had to suffer at all. Then I try proving my love in spite of suffering, and after a while get to thinking that I can love just as well without suffering at all. It all just seems so unnecessary. Vain. Suffering really has no meaning. Only love has meaning.

I just want to have some way of living through suffering without thinking that I am only being slowly diminished and that it would be better not to live at all than to live a sorry meaningless life. Maybe I’m just so obsessed with my suffering that I can’t see anything else in life. Or maybe I really am suffering that much and suffering is somehow my vocation. I can’t tell anymore. But I need to make something better out of what I’ve got going on now spiritualitywise.

I don’t want to dismiss all of my suffering so that it may not be put to good use just because I don’t understand the process. So I am a slave of Mary but truly without understanding. But I would just like to forget about suffering or deal with it without seeing it as my destiny in life.

Anyway, I’m rambling. It’s just like asking Why is there evil in the world? God doesn’t always say why He just transforms it. But I’m not sure I like the transformation of something that shouldn’t be there in the first place. That’s all. That was hard for me to say.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.