Suffering. A personally relevant subject that has admittingly been compulsively occupying my mind as of late. I've learned in new ways there are degrees of suffering that, if it weren't for faith in the Revelation of a divine, eternal reward vs. a black, eternal punishment, would lead one to despair.
I mean if a car swerved on the highway and hit someone's car, making it flip, severing their spinal cord, leaving them bedridden, paralyzed, and in constant spastic pain for the test of their life (btw this sort of thing happens all the time), and the victim was a secularist (ie your average American), from tpohe point of view of today's values, what would be the point of their life?
My wife sadly sees these kind of patients often in the hospital. Miserable and lost.
Faith is a gift, much more than an intellectual achievment, and so few people have this gift. Without it, people are sitting ducks. In an instant, an act of nature can turn someone's life upside down.
There is a long member of Suscipe Domine traditional Catholic forum named Chestertonian whose illness and physical suffering makes that of the Elephant man look like a case of the flu.
Ches, as we call him, has mitochondrial disease. He is bedridden, almost completely paralyzed, can't breath, cant speak, can't eat. He has all sorts of tormenting kinds of pain. He's in his 30s, sick like this for several years, and could still live another decade with ever worsening symptoms. He is constantly in a state of struggle going back and forth between his home, hospital, and nursing home, having surgery after surgery, and procedure after procedure.
And Ches is a devoted traditional Catholic, husband, former teacher, and father of two young boys.
I confess I am too weak to simply accept these stark realities without questioning or rather becoming bewildered about God's ways.
Right now out there is someone who suffers very little. God gave them excellent health, properity, success, and a rich family and social life. They may even be close to God yet live a nice, long, healthy life devoid of tragedy.
Then there's someone out there whose one of the most suffering souls on Earth. Imagine a blind, deaf, mute, retarded, quadriplegic little girl, who has never been taught about God or the hereafter, sold into a dark underworld of prostitution, to be raped over and over, day after day, for decades. In some sick pagan corner of Asia, I could imagine a victim like this.
Suffering is a mystery. All we know is suffering is in reparation for our sins, gains us merit for salvation and a higher reward in heaven, and to help convert sinners.
That's it. That's all we know. We suffer. And by Gods grace we are saved.