A touching story shared by guest blogger, Michelle Arnold Paine :
In the evening of February 27, 2015, I received a text message from my dear brother in Christ Alessandro: his sister Elisa had delivered her baby, was in surgery and they were not sure she would survive. He was asking me to spread the request for prayer to our network of American friends, those who have been students or faculty for the Gordon College in Orvieto program over nearly 20 years. Quickly I emailed and called several faculty and former Orvieto students to ask for their prayers. A few hours later another text – the hemorrhage that had begun during the birthing process was continuing and she was fighting for her life.
Through the night I was up several times nursing my own five-week-old baby, and that night checked my phone frequently. The next day, Saturday, we found out… read the rest of Elisa’s story on Reconciled To You
All rights reserved, Michelle Arnold Paine, 2016
Rather than giving up chocolate, only to devour the solid chocolate Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up drinking alcohol, only to pop the cork on the Champagne this Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up television, only to sit in front of the TV all day Easter Sunday watching your shows on demand, seek virtue this Lent.
So many times, year after year, we temporarily give up something we love as a sacrifice for Lent in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. I suggest taking a different and possibly more… Read more…
|Self Portrait with a Friend by Rafael.|
In the middle of Lent, I received an email from a new reader I’ll call Jill. Jill shared with me her years of darkness in her personal and spiritual life. My heart went out to her. I wanted to do something for her, more than just writing an encouraging answer. So I thought about it and prayed about it. Then I had an insight.
Here, in part, is how I replied:
“I explore these questions [about God and suffering] a lot in my book. I will give you a brief version here. Rabbi Kushner, writing in When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said that we shouldn’t ask why when we suffer. Instead, we should ask, What now? How am I to react?
Finding meaning in our suffering“Similarly, Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning wrote, “Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way in the moment that it finds a meaning.” He found that in the concentration camp, those who were able to survive and be psychologically sound found a purpose in their suffering. For Frankl himself, that purpose was to rewrite the manuscript of his book on helping his psychiatric patients find meaning in life. The Nazis had destroyed his manuscript when he was stripped of his possessions at the camp. So over the years he rewrote the manuscript, partly in his head and partly on any strips of paper he could find. He had the will to survive so he could publish his work…
“My question for your situation then was, How can your suffering become purposeful? Some people would counsel you to offer up your suffering. But if you are unable to complete even small projects because your darkness has sapped all your energy, offering it up may just be beyond your strength. What then?
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.