Tag: suffering

all which occur here

Traherne on the opinions of philosophers concerning happiness:

..they were so blind in the knowledge of it, and so different in their apprehensions. All which opinions fall in here, as all rivers fall into the sea, and agree together. Some placed happiness in riches, and some in honour, some in pleasure, and some in the contempt of all riches, honor, and pleasure; some in wisdom and some in firm stability of mind, some in empire and some in, love. Some in bare and naked contentment, some in contemplation, and some in action; some in rest and some in sufferings, and some in victory and triumph.

All which occur here [in the Christian life], for here is victory and triumph over our lusts, that we might live the life of clear reason, in the fruition of all riches, honours, and pleasures, which are by wisdom to be seen, and by love to be enjoyed in the highest empire, with great contentation, in solitude alone, in communion with all, by action and contemplation, attaining it by sufferings, and resting in the possession, with perfect victory and triumph over the world and evil men, or sin, death and hell, maugre all the oppositions of men and devils.

Someone acknowledging the completely baffling question of what the disposition of the Christian is ultimately meant to be, and how the tradition overwhelms the initiate with seemingly exclusive answers and directives, insurmountable tensions and incompatibilities.

And not only acknowledge but offer an answer! Christianity has it ALL he reckons, the whole panoply.

But this forces the question of time and season and saintly-distinctness, because if its all on the table, how any given saint is being called to live to God at any given time becomes in some sense a completely opaque thing from the outside? A knight of faith dynamic.

And hence how one is called to obey Christ, to follow your own pilgrimage in any season or age, is a discerned, mysterious, and limitedly formulaic thing.


Freddie deBoer:

When one group of people in society feels unheard for so long, in time they form a crusade, and the object of that crusade is the most human of all demands: feel our pain. It is natural to want the world to understand our suffering as something different, something deeper, something special. The cacophony of our political lives stems in no small part from the ceaselessly multiplying number of groups that ask that their suffering be seen as something transcendent and unique. The trouble, of course, is that we’re all suffering, and in fact to suffer is the least special, most ordinary thing any person can do.

The late Ram Dass once wrote to grieving parents, “something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves.” I do not know what it’s like to love as God loves. But I do know what it’s like to suffer, and then to suffer more, and at last to feel something die inside me. The note of uplift at the end of The Deep Places, uncertain but real, is a record of Douthat’s willingness to let that something die inside of him too, in order to move on. That’s a thing of beauty.