Today is Good Friday, and I feel well enough to go to church. Good Friday is a good time to remember that suffering is part of every human life.
Simone Weil, whom I will talk about at the Majówka (May holiday) retreat in two weeks, wrote a lot about suffering, and the indelible mark that comes from some kinds of suffering which she called "affliction." Weil actively sought suffering, so as to be more fully in solidarity with those who suffer privation: hunger, sleeplessness, discomfort, harsh physical labour, the humiliations of early 20th century factory work, the dangers of war.
Weil took things too far--one of her biographers talks of her spiritual anorexia, and Weil's fasting practices almost certainly made her physically anorexic. I am reminded of St. Ignatius of Loyola and how his early disciplines permanently damaged his health, leading to his veto of his Jesuits doing any such things themselves. But she, the compassionate daughter of a rich doctor, reminds me of how God Himself took on humanity and shared human suffering.
The Son of God chose suffering out of love for us--it is an awesome thought. And his sinless mother suffered, too. Any Catholic who does their best to be good and to live a pure life and yet suffers terribly would do well to remember all the sufferings of Our Lady. We can say (or beg, rather, as in the Dies Irae) that it our redemption was the reason for Jesus's suffering (so let it not be in vain!), but did Our Lady sign up for her suffering? Not exactly but--"let it be to me according to Thy will." And what could be worse than seeing, before your own eyes, your Son scourged and crucified, left to die in the hot sun?
Back from church. This post looks very unfinished but....zzzzzz....