Friday, January 24, 2014

Sufferings of Christ

“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith [but] they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

I'm not sure I agree that anxieties or worries are never sins.  I believe they certainly can be.  However, Lewis' point is essential.  I believe we can be bent on the idea that life should be happy all the time, so reluctant to truly and fully feel our soul's reaction to this world (for whatever reason), that we buy into the idea that every negative emotion is somehow a vice or hangup or sin.  What we fail to recognize is that, though Jesus did not experience such things self-destructively, the man who so ardently spoke of Joy and walked with peace is also known as the "man of sorrows." Could it be that in reality these things are not mutually exclusive but rather integrated parts of a complete whole?

We want everything to be explicable, and we believe it ought to be (we are used to the idea that the human race is smart enough to know the answer eventually). We want life to be cookie-cutter like a movie.  But it never will be.  Has it ever dawned on us that the natural and normal reaction to a world that rejects is pain, sorrow, and even anger, and that because of love?  Could it be that the complexity of our emotional reactions to the things that go on in this world is above our grasp and ability to intellectualize?  And could it be that this is how it should be and that we should do much more listening rather than "fixing"?  As we take this world as it is and allow our souls to grieve it we not only free ourselves to simultaneously experience love and joy but also partake of the sufferings of Christ in this world.  We literally know, and share in, and drink of the sufferings that Christ Himself felt as He walked this earth and still feels.

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