of the HEART
Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J
Table of Contents
Now we will consider one of the most powerful and the most effective forms of prayer, the prayer of suffering. Yes, the prayer of suffering.
The opportunity for this form of prayer comes to everyone sooner or later. Suffering is an inevitable fact of human life. We enter the world in the pain of another and the leave the world in our own pain. And in between the entrance and the exit there is more of the same.
When it comes do not look for any special kind of prayer. Do not try to run away. Just sit and accept it. Accept it totally in the depth of your being. You do not have to say anything or do anything. God knows your mind, your heart, your feeling, your pain. Do not think that you are wasting time and should be doing something worthwhile. Nothing is more worthwhile than this. This is the will of God for me right now.
We think that we are the architects of our sanctity. We think we form ourselves but it is life that forms us. Suffering takes off chips that we would never attack. The Lord told Jeremiah one day to go down to the potter’s house and there I will give you a message. There was the potter working at the wheel molding the clay. And the Lord said, “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.” (Jer. 18:6)
Suffering is creative; it will tear away your mask, knock you off your pedestal, shatter your pride, and make you meek and humble of heart. It will give you a new and greater capacity for love, compassion, and understanding. Some of the most beautiful people I have known are people who have suffered greatly.
Suffering is a time of growth, maturity and purification. It frees us from addiction to religious experience, consolations, and dependence on certain prayers and pious practices. It makes us appreciate so many wonderful things we have taken for granted. And it gives us intimations of mortality. And as the years go on these intimations of mortality become more frequent and much more convincing. And we realize that we do not have here a lasting city.
Suffering is a blessing. You will notice that in all of the testimonies, the witnesses that people give that it all started with a crisis, when they had reached the end of their capacity. They felt that they couldn’t go on. But they did go on through the power beyond their limits. The Prodigal Son did not come to his senses until he found himself sitting in a pig sty, far from home, friendless, penniless and hungry. Then he had that wonderful reception by his father.
Suffering is a blessing. But it is not necessarily a blessing. The same heat that hardens bricks melts butter. “One ship drives East and another drives West on the self same winds that blow. It is the set of the sails and not the gales that tell them the way to go.”
It is the acceptance of suffering that changes suffering to sacrifice. The essence of Christianity is love. And the language of love is sacrifice. It costs to be a lover. “If anyone will come after me let him pick up his cross daily and follow me.” Be a disciple of the Lord. Clutch your crucifix. And learn that his yoke is sweet and his burden light.
So when the opportunity presents
itself, as it most certainly will, speak this language of love in the
prayer of suffering and be a true disciple of Jesus. And let the Divine
Potter mold you into the unique person He created you to be.
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