Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Learning to suffer better...

Often when I go to a Catholic mass, I come away from the sermon rolling my eyes over some of the things the presiding priest has to talk about - often it's a rant about abortion, personal morals, or something that's been beaten over our heads to death a million times over.  (I go to mass sometimes, but not for the sermons - I go to get blessed and to pray, and just to enjoy the atmosphere.)  As someone with left leaning politics, modern day Catholicism can often be diffcult to swallow.
But one priest I saw in recent months (at a queer Catholic mass, no less) had quite a good sermon on the concept of suffering.  His analogy to it being like the manure we spread on our crops was very good - it's shit, but in that shit, it can nurture and grow us as individuals.  For in that suffering we find our strength, learn who we are, and, especially in my case, can even grow closer to God.  This is an aspect of Catholicism that many don't understand and I think find very frustrating to swallow - the concept of how suffering can be good for a soul.

Suffering is something most of us seek to avoid, but it's inevitable... Buddhism of course has many things to say about it as well.  The modern age has brought about greater creature comforts for many, lessening suffering, but in some way, the "laziness" some technologies have brought us has made us fearful of suffering, and so in the end, not knowing how to suffer, we suffer even more.  The trick should be not to eliminate all suffering from life - that is impossible.  One will still grow sick and die, there will still be conflict in one's life.  One should instead seek to learn how to incorporate it into life better, and to grow from the manure that results.

I have suffered a lot of strange things in my young life, it's a pattern that has resurfaced so many times, so much that even though my life is quite good right now, I can't help but brace myself for the other shoe to drop.  In the meantime, I am trying my best to embrace any necessary suffering, adapt to it, and grow from it.  This is perhaps why a Christian path like Roman Catholicism has more appeal to me than other denominations (there are other reasons, but here's a strong example).  I can't possibly identify with conservative mainstream Catholicism, and I can't imagine they would want a person like me in their religion, knowing my desire to see LGBTQ+ people get married, have women advance in power in the church, and my pro choice stance on abortion, among other things.  But where Catholicism succeeds as a meaningful path, practice, and way of life, it seems more and more like it is the religion that works best for me.  What's right and truly relevant in the real Catholicism, what Jesus Himself would deem important, is what I focus on and adhere to.  The rest, in my opinion, is just man's law.  (I often wish I knew the ancient version of this religion, before it became too political and watered down for the masses.)

Anyway, here's some classic Depeche Mode - enjoy!

"Suffer Well" - Depeche Mode


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