29 November 2010

The Power of Suffering to Comfort and Heal the World

In his book The Divine Pity, a study on the social implication of the Beatitudes, Fr. Gerald Vann O.P. gives a beautiful summmation of the Beatitude, Blessed are they that mourn, on the power of suffering to comfort and heal the world,
that whatever suffering and sorrow may come to you, and whenever it come, it can be used, and ought to be used, in the power and in the company of Christ for the healing and the comforting of the world as a whole; and in that suffering of the sorrow of the world as a whole you can find your understanding and your heart immeasurably enlarged, enlarged indeed to something remotely approaching the fullness of the stature of Christ.

And in order to be among those that mourn it is necessary to start by
making sure that you are temperate in your attitude toward creatures: that you are reverent towards men and women and animals and inanimate things. You must not be sentimental: you must not make reverence synonymous with fear or softness or blindness. There is an order in created things, and the less are meant to serve the greater, and to serve them according to their nature. [And here comes a note for PETA] It is not reverence but irreverence to treat your pets as though they were beings of a superior order: it is a failure to respect their nature. It is not reverence but irreverence to refuse from mistaken humanitarianism to punish a disobedient child. But you can be reverent to the nature and personality of the child you are punishing, though it is very different reverence from the reverence the child owes to you.

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