Arvo Pärt: De Profundis
Samuel Barber: “The Crucifixion”

The Call from the Cross

People react to suffering in different ways. But in general it can be said that almost always the individual enters suffering with a typically human protest and with the question "why". He asks the meaning of his suffering and seeks an answer to this question on the human level. Certainly he often puts this question to God, and to Christ. Furthermore, he cannot help noticing that the one to whom he puts the question is himself suffering and wishes to answer him from the Cross, from the heart of his own suffering. Nevertheless, it often takes time, even a long time, for this answer to begin to be interiorly perceived. For Christ does not answer directly and he does not answer in the abstract this human questioning about the meaning of suffering. Man hears Christ's saving answer as he himself gradually becomes a sharer in the sufferings of Christ.

The answer which comes through this sharing, by way of the interior encounter with the Master, is in itself something more than the mere abstract answer to the question about the meaning of suffering. For it is above all a call.

—John Paul II, On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering

I think there are very severe limits on how far we can get in trying to answer the question of suffering in any sort of abstract way—I could even say in any way that begins with the word "because." Because anything we put after that word will be inadequate. But Christ—God—answers “from the heart of his own suffering.” And not with an explanation, but a call. So we are faced not with a test of our intelligence, our philosophical strength, but with a choice, the choice to hear, or not to hear. There is also of course the choice to follow, or not to follow, but the choice to hear comes first. It is not a question of intelligence or learning, but of the heart’s choice.

I've been participating in a Facebook group praying a novena for the late pope's beatification. I think I've only missed one day, which is better than average for me with a novena. The person who organized the group includes a meditation from John Paul's writings every day, and the above is taken from one of them. It seemed especially appropriate for Good Friday. See you Saturday.


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Today is the fifth anniversary of JPII's death, and the first day of the Divine Mercy novena, too -- appropriate, since John Paul the Great did so much to spread the message of the Divine Mercy.

It's also my fifth wedding anniversary. I've always taken JPII to be a special patron because we married on the day that he was born into eternal life.

I had totally forgotten about this being the anniversary of JPII's death. I think you're right to take that as significant for you. Congratulations on your anniversary.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend gave me a book by Piers Paul Reid to read. Even after reading the first part of the book, I hadn't looked at the name which is, The Death of a Pope. And purely by coincidence, I ended up reading the part wherein John Paul II dies yesterday. If it hadn't been for that novena, I don't think I would have even realized that I was reading about his death on the day of his death.



My father has been praying to him to to intercede for my mother, who has Parkinson's. I wish I had known about this novena, or that it had occurred to me to make a novena leading up to his feast day, so to speak.

Oh, and also, Pope JPII died on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday that year, which seems mystically appropriate.

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