St. Francis Embracing the Leper (detail) by Lawrence Zink, reprinted from Francis, The Journey and the Dream,   
© 1988, Murray Bodo, OFM, St. Anthony Messenger (Franciscan Media), p. 13. Used with permission.   

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

Transformative Suffering

Transforming Our Pain

Sunday, April 6, 2014

All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. Great religion shows you what to do with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust. If only we could see these “wounds” as the way through, as Jesus did, then they would become “sacred wounds” and not something to deny, disguise, or export to others.

If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become negative or bitter. Indeed, there are bitter people everywhere. As they go through life, the hurts, disappointments, betrayals, abandonments, the burden of their own sinfulness and brokenness all pile up, and they do not know where to put it. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.

Exporting our unresolved hurt is almost the underlying storyline of human history. Biblical revelation is about transforming history and individuals, so that we don’t just keep handing the pain on to the next generation. Unless we can find a meaning for human suffering, that God is somehow in it, and can even use it for good, humanity is in major trouble.


Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, pp. 25-26
and Job and the Mystery of Suffering, pp. 90-91

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