On Giants' Shoulders

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Suffering In Silence

Jesus talked about not letting the right hand know what the left hand was doing. We're not supposed to be parading our works before men, and I suspect that we aren't supposed to be parading our suffering either. The saints certainly didn't. Sometimes in an era when complaining about your lot in life seems to be the major content of blogs, tweets, Facebook statuses etc. it's hard not to join in. It's hard to not complain about things when everyone else is, particularly when your own particular complaints seem more worthy of notice to you than some of what is being yammered about. It's hard to watch people with more than you have complaining about how they don't have enough of this or that, or how their brand new house had to have the contractors come back and redo something, and how inconvenient that was. It's not ever easy to not compare and it's very easy to begin to feel very sorry for yourself that you don't even have what they don't even appreciate.

This week we've watched someone in the public eye refuse to take the course of Padre Pio and suffer in silence. Whether he was falsely accused is something none of us know, but the course of action he's choosing to take is more in line with a current secular attitude than it is with the life of the saints.

Silent suffering isn't popular these days. A couple of weeks ago I was at confession and a dear friend from the parish emerged from the confessional. I'd been dealing with a whole lot of lack of faith myself, and feeling very much like my prayers weren't getting any further than the ceiling. When I saw her, however, I was really ashamed of myself, because she's had a lot more unanswered prayers and heartaches in the past decade than I have. Not everyone knows about a lot of them, and I suspect there are probably some I don't know about either. She doesn't complain. My kids say she's a saint, and I think they're probably right in that assessment. I've watched her have to give up her home, have her kids turn away from the faith, her husband get his hours cut back while she was out of work do to surgery, etc., etc. Yet she keeps on trusting and she's faithful to the Sacraments.

If I have to have a role model who isn't already canonized, I think she's a good one. She's certainly a better one than some of the celebrity Christians who find submission to authority to be too painful a thing to suffer.