A day hardly goes by where we do not see great tragedy which finds its locus in unchecked mental illness: suicide, abuse, neglect. In every story, we find a suffering soul, someone who has been so unlucky or ignored that it makes sense to all why they did what they did, but how can this be? Of course, these great evils have always been with us, but why are they so much more prevalent, now? Why are so many more people depressed than ever before? Hardly anyone could disagree that more people are depressed than ever before, in history.
Some might say that this rise can be attributed to a greater awareness of depression, loss of stigma, and wider definition, and that may be some of it. It would be truly, willful blindness, to ignore the fact that, with the rise of atheism and secularism, more people feel life is meaningless and purposeless. After all, when all of life is a quest to gain as much pleasure as possible before taking the “big dirt nap”, who wouldn’t get a little defeated sometimes?
Man has forgotten the power of redemptive suffering, and thusly, he has succumbed to the lie of meaningless suffering. No suffering need ever be meaningless, as it can be united with Christ’s passion.
We never seek to cause suffering, but we can use unavoidable suffering for good. I can take the great pain that I feel from the recent loss of my grandfather, and offer it, that God might use it for some good, that He might use it to soften someone’s heart. I may never know of the good that is done in a specific way, but with my faith in the goodness of God, I know that he has done something merciful and just with my offering.
I juxtaposed the experience of the recent death of my grandfather, with my experience of the death of my mother while I was an atheist. I remember being saddened and hardened. This great injustice had come into my life, and it all meant nothing. The only good that would come from this was nothing, so far as I could see. I became very interiorly despaired and soon, depressed. How could I not? I was suffering the loss of my mother, who I expected I would never see again, and the suffering was for nothing!
The experience this time, grieving has been infinitely more peaceful. My pain has been eased knowing that my grandfather awaits me, along with my mother. They are not gone. If anything they are closer to me than ever via the communion of saints. My pain at his loss, I offer for God’s will in my life and the life of my children. I know it all can be utilized and nothing is for naught. I need never despair again!
The loss of redemptive suffering is great, for that is a key component of the Good News! Unite your suffering with Christ’s, today. Now! Offer it for God’s will, and He will never disappoint. He is a Father who cannot be outdone in generosity.