Merton on Suffering

Suffering, therefore, must make sense to us not as a vague universal necessity, but as something demanded by our own personal destiny. When I see my trials not as the collision of my life with a blind machine called fate, but as the sacramental gift of Christ’s love, given to me by God the Father along with my identity and my very name, then I can consecrate them and myself with them to God. For then I really that my suffering is not my own. It is the Passion of Christ, stretching out its tendrils into my life in order to bear rich clusters of grapes, making my soul dizzy with the wine of Christ’s love, and pouring that wine as strong as fire upon the whole world.

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island.

I am continuing to learn that the most intense seasons and occasions of devastation that have occurred in my life were brought about by my attempts to either avoid suffering, or to misuse it/suffer badly.

On the flip side, I am grateful for the reality of the fruit that suffering, rightly born, produces. What’s more, it’s not just in my life, but it overflows into the lives of the people around me.