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Pain: The Way to Wisdom

Only the one who suffered showed compassion on the suffering. A Samaritan: a despised man, a suffering man. To the question, who is my neighbor? Jesus responded: Love is not a theory but a movement of the heart; and only the heart of the one who has suffered is moved; and it is moved because in some way his own pain is revived in the presence of others’ suffering. This is one of the positive fruits which suffering bears in those who suffer.

As we have said earlier, it is from this sensitivity and openness, from this understanding and inclination towards the suffering that the precious word “misericordia” (mercy), indicating a shuddering and a sensitivity of the heart, has its origin. This is precisely the point. Before moving the arms, it is necessary that there be a movement of the heart, a disinterested self-giving, an inclination of the whole being as in the case of the Samaritan. Whoever is familiar with suffering cannot afford the luxury of passing on by.

So therefore, naturally, we are saying that suffering produces in all of humanity a grand movement of the Pasch (Easter), it draws people away from egocentric positions and towards others who are afflicted as though in a general crusade of solidarity. It is for this reason that the Second Vatican Council will also affirm that the Christian will not be able to find fullness except through the giving of self to others.

From the book “The Art of Being Happy” by Father Ignacio Larrañaga


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