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The school of suffering


A solitary poplar tree standing alone in a vast plain is a sight. It made its timid appearance on earth, almost by chance, and has been rocked by the winds. The storms have buffeted its branches without pity. In order not to fall, its roots have reached deep down, digging in firmly into the clayey soil. Now the poplar has become so firm that no hurricane can bend it. People admire its elegance on the plain.


Whoever has not suffered is like a bamboo cane: such a person has no substance and knows nothing. Great suffering is like a storm that devastates and ravages a vast region; once the trial is over, the landscape is radiant with calm and serenity.

With a vital logic, Paul works through the links of a golden chain: “We... boast in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us “(Rom 5:3-5).


But the answer is not an abstract and philosophical consideration about suffering, but a peremptory order: “Come, take up your cross and follow me” (Mk 8:34). In the course of that inner journey with the suffering Christ, the rebellion melts away, the Christian takes his cross, surrenders himself and worships. As he discovers the salvific meaning of pain and the mystery of the cross, he is visited by peace and joy. At that moment, pain and death are conquered. This is the most effective way of eliminating suffering.


Extracted from the book “From Suffering to Peace” by Father Ignacio Larrañaga

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