Last week edition, no doubt, left us in the dark as we were unable to answer the great question of why even after the death of Christ, we are still suffering in pains, agony and death. Towards the conclusion of the edition, it offered us the opportunity to reflect in spite of the sufferings if there could be a difference between the suffering of old without Jesus, and sufferings of the new covenant with and in Jesus. YES THERE IS AN ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE from the point of view of analogy, when one is agonizing, but is sure to pass from that agony to a nearby joy, eg. a woman in labour, suffering terrible pains now but hoping strongly that soon it will be over as the arrival of a bouncing new babe in her arm. That agony is an instrumental one. When one dies in order to live, just like when a grain of corn dies in order to germinate, such a death is in fact not death, but a transformation channel. It is an instrumental bridge that transports one from one realm of existence to a higher one.
Lending credence to the above analogy, I wish to express the certainty that in suffering, pains, agony and death have not been physically obliterated. Neither in intensity nor in volume. Some even argue that suffering arising out of wars, conflicts, disease and natural disasters, instead of diminishing have increased. But these evils have been really symbolically transformed. They have received a new orientation and a new significance in Christ, suffering has now been given a new meaning, religiously deified to something supernatural, to something other-worldly. Put technically, its ontological import has been essentially transfigured.
For more clarifications, on occasion of painful deaths, those who have no faith weep and weep, as if death were the end of it all. They cry as if death is an ultimate end. And so, they suffer meaninglessly and live superficially. Whereas, those whose faith have been firmly planted like a rock in the middle of a turbulent sea, and sealed with the suffering, agony and death of Jesus, should suffer but optimistically, hopefully and salvifically.
Above all, Christ’s redemptive suffering transfigured all suffering from the negative to the positive, from pessimism to optimism, from earth roundedness to heavenly-blissfulness, from pain to Joy, from sorrow to happiness, and from purely-human to humanly-divine in Christ. The meaning of suffering its essence, goal, characteristics, fruits and consequence are radically changed. We suffer now, not for its own sake, but following Christ’s example, for the sake of something most noble, for highest life. We suffer not merely punitively, but configuratively in a lible rational fashion. It is a suffering but will also lead us into a new life, a better life, a blissful one that never knows any suffering. Besides, when this suffering is embraced with love, it could be very palliative as we shall see in next edition of December series