Silence and Acceptance

In one of Simone Weil’s essays she speaks of “the pains and humiliations of poverty.” Of course, we are all poor…yet must of us have no idea of real poverty, the kind of cruel, chronic poverty that imprisons so much of humanity. Weil says we are not a “naturalized citizen” in the company of the truly poor. Commenting on Simone Weil’s essay, Dorothy Day said we are “always foreigners to the poor.” Both Weil and Day felt it was imperative for us, in humility, to renounce all compensations for our ministry to the poor in order, I suspect, to be truly one with them and never to act as if we were better then them. Jesus came as a servant, lording nothing over anyone, wielding only the power of love…and we can not do otherwise.

Living in the slums of Haiti, I came to see, feel and understand more deeply “the pains and humiliations of poverty.” We do all we can to ignore or trivialize the widespread pain that so many people experience on a daily basis. But pain is part of human life. Moments of suffering, moments of loneliness, moments of failure, moments of disappointments and unfaithfulness are part of the human experience, part of human reality. Try as we might, there is no avoiding these difficult moments. For reasons unknown to us, God wants us, at times, to participate in suffering. It is in suffering that we grow and mature. Suffering helps us focus on the Cross of Christ in order to prepare for the risen grace of Easter.

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