Issues Affecting Family Life – Part 2

Single Women

The emphasis on a particular form of family life by the Church means that the role of single women and the contribution that they can make to society is often overlooked. It is still the case that the unmarried women are seen as somewhat odd or a failure by many, and such standards are not applied to men. Yet in practice many women find their life’s mission in single life. The emphasis in recent Church documents on the positive value of the vocation to the single life, and on the very generous contribution, which many single people make to Church and society, is to be welcomed.

Women Religious

Women religious are another group that are often overlooked in this discussion. This partly because they are seen by many, including some women, to be part of the clerical establishment who have the power in the Church. But the reality is very different. Sadly, it is the case that these women, who in many aspects have been to the forefront in the renewal of religious life as suggested by Vatican II, often suffer most from the real, if unthinking, male dominance within Church life. They find it difficult to secure salaries in Church jobs, their style of living has been overly shaped by male patterns and is still overly subject to male approval. In many quarters, because of their known loyalty, their prophetic service of Church and community is received in a way that is felt to be patronizing and taken for granted. There is wonderful opportunity here for a less fearful and less grudging welcome of gifts of women religious to the renewal of ecclesial and religious life. In this context, we welcome the discussion document for the 1994 Synod of Bishops in 1994, which recommends that female religious have a greater say in decision-making in the Church.

Issues Affecting Family Life

The Church has an important role in challenging current structures, which effectively place a disproportionate responsibility on women with respect to the maintenance and development of familial relationships. In a Lenten Pastoral Letter, the Archbishop of Dublin, Desmond Connell, in 1994 stated: “Mothers, on whose shoulders much of the responsibility of home-making has unfairly fallen, are frequently exploited by their husbands and by their children. How many men, how many teenage children, can honestly say that they carry their fair share of responsibility for the ordinary running of the home and of family life? At a time when many mothers are also bread-winners, the imposition of family and household tasks on them alone is doubly unjust.” We could say the same today for our society, in urban and rural India.

The Church could espouse more actively the co-responsibility of males for the nurturing of children and for family planning. It could encourage fathers to spend more time with their children. It could urge the state to take action against fathers who are separated from the family home and fail to pay maintenance. It could highlight the way in which women’s consciences are often overridden by what are perceived as men’s legitimate sexual needs.

Men cannot take greater responsibility in family life unless women allow them to do so. Both sexes are still too dominated by traditional stereotypes of gender roles. For example, in middle-class families it is often considered appropriate for men to have jobs that take them away from their families. In what way are we being dominated by inappropriate attitude to wealth, achievement and status? What role has the Church played in nurturing these attitudes?

New Testament and Suffering – Part II

7. The Cross of Christ:

a) St. Paul: Paul brings out the significance of the Cross of Christ which is a scandal, a folly, the weakness of God and the foolishness of God, yet is stronger and wiser than men (1 Cor 1: 17 – 2: 16). Further, in the Philippians hymn (Phil 2: 6-11) the obedience of the Cross is the reason for Christians to follow the same (Phil 2: 1-5). For Paul, Christ’s Cross and resurrection provide the norm for Christian existence by creating a new existence.

b) Mark: The Cross is the culmination of Jesus’ whole life and revelation. The structure of the Gospel is as follows: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gives us two titles. We then have the healings, exorcisms, conquest and challenges, confrontations. Then we come to the core of the Gospel, which is the Confession of Peter (Mk 8: 29) immediately followed by the Passion announcements and the failure of the disciples to understand the suffering predicted. This is followed by the passion, which as account of His suffering, which includes rejection by the people, betrayed, forsaken by all, calumniated, maltreated, and died alone (Mk 15: 34 “My God, my God…”). The key moment is the acclamation of the centurion, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” This is a final acknowledgement and decision on the Cross.
Therefore, the revelation of God in historical humanity marked the point of decision. The Cross for those called to abandon their own attempts at self-justification and self-preservation in order to follow Christ.

c) Luke: The stress is on a meek and merciful condescension of God in Christ who has come to heal, forgive and bring peace. Therefore, the Cross is not a rupture but the ultimate confirmation of Jesus’ love for all and for the Father. In the midst of His own suffering Jesus showed constant CONCERN for others: avoiding violence (Lk 22: 51); forgiving Peter (Lk 22: 11); consoling the women of Jerusalem (Lk 23: 28-31); praying for pardon (Lk 22: 34); the promise of paradise to the thief (Lk 23: 43); joining relations between Herod and Pilate (Lk 23: 12). His end, was a union with the Father, a perfect prayer (Lk 23: 46). Christ commissioned this disciples to ‘preach repentance and forgiveness in His name to all (Lk 24: 47).
There are certain common aspects in Mark and Luke: The tension between weakness and omnipresence, between humility and judgement. There are also differences: In Mark, there is the opposition – decision – abandonment of Jesus and suffering. In Luke, the picture is more of a gentle Jesus.

d) Matthew: For Matthew, the Cross is the historical point of judgment dividing the old from the new Israel. The Son of God went his way to the Cross with full awareness and authority but he did this in complete agreement with his Father’s Will, so that the Scriptures may be fulfilled (Mt 26: 39, 42, 54, 56). The Son of God predicts his future rejection (Mt 21: 33-44); he is more than the son of David (Mt 22: 41-45); and the rejection of the Son of God is self-rejection for the Jews (Mt 21: 41-44). He is the King of the Jews. These are the two titles that occur in his passion (Mt 26: 63, 68; 27: 11, 17, 22, 29, 37, 42). The Jews call innocent blood on themselves (Mt 26: 21-25; 27: 3-10). The silence of Jesus before the high priest regarding him being the Christ and the Son of God (Mt 26: 63ff) is in comparison of Psalm 22. At his death the old order is shaken; the temple veil, the earthquake, the tombs of the dead, all these anticipate the general resurrection, which is the new order.
The Cross is not the final catastrophe, but only a necessary way-station willed by God in Jesus’ authoritative progress through time. The rejection of the Jews is contrasted with the acceptance of the new People of God, the Church (Mt 21: 41-43; 8: 11ff). Peter is the rock (Mt 16: 17-19; 21: 42) is the symbol of the new authority, not the temple any more. The return of the Son of Man (Mt 16: 13-16) is to punish or reward, the rejection or the acceptance of Christ and his Church (Mt 10: 32ff; 18: 15-17; 24: 29-31; 25: 3-46).

e) John: The Cross is God’s eternal love for the world. It is the moment of judgment and for Christians it is the event of redemption.
One notes a complex theology: There is the hatred of the Jews because of his healings on the Sabbath, blasphemy of calling God Father (Jn 18: 29; 19: 12-16). In great freedom Jesus confronts his death: He predicts his betrayal, and almost urges Judas to go (Jn 13: 21-27). In the garden he confronts the soldiers (Jn 18: 3-11). He is the ‘I Am’. Behind his self-assurance stood his Father (Jn 18: 11), his unity of love ad obedience (Jn 3: 34; 5: 18; 6: 38; 8: 28; 14: 10), an ontological unity with the Father (Jn 10: 17).
As the grain dies in order to bear fruit (Jn 12: 24-27), the crucifixion is the hour of Christ’s glorification.
The lifting up and elevation of the Son of Man, which is the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and enthronement all take place in the one moment, on the Cross (Jn 14: 13; 15: 8; 17: 1-4, 24). The church founding too takes place at the same moment in the accomplishment on the Cross …“I thirst… it is consummated” (Jn 19: 25-30).
The same love of God that motivated the sending of the Son even to the Cross, that event which manifested the greatness of love (Jn 3: 16ff; 13: 1ff; 15: 13) continues in the believers who have become God’s children by faith in Christ (Jn 1: 12ff; 13: 34ff; 15: 12, 17).
The supreme manifestation of love also functions as judgement. Even as Jesus went willingly to the Cross, hatred and sin drove him to it. Therefore, through Jesus’ acceptance of the ignominy of the Cross, the ruler of this world and all his followers were condemned for preferring darkness to light (Jn 3: 18ff; 19: 39ff; 12: 31; 16: 8-11).

8. Suffering and the Mystery of God’s Presence:

Love motivates us to a concrete decision (Jn 3: 18). God sends his son, in love. The presence of Emmanuel in history is proof of this love (Mt 12: 1-6). Christ’s presence is public, for all to see and hear it is the mystery of God breaking through the crucified humanity of Christ.
Job experienced God as the mysterious, creative power dominating good and evil. Yet, the extend of God’s mastery over suffering and evil remained beyond Job. In taking flesh, Christ hid the effulgence of the Father’s glory that HE is (Mk 9: 1-8; Heb 1: 3).
Mark 15: 33-37 – The total abandonment on the cross shows God’s horror of sin which Jesus carried, he who was utterly sinless and spent his whole life doing good in full obedience to the Father’s will (Heb 4: 15; Acts 2: 22; 10: 38), experienced in his innocence an abandonment more heart rending than Job’s and more than that of the inspired author of the suffering servant songs in Deutro-Isaiah.
In a starting paradox, out of solidarity with sinful humanity, Jesus took upon himself the utmost consequence of sin, total alienation and abandonment, in order that by his unjust condemnation to death others might receive the justice of God, his very life, the life of the one who is justice (1 Cor 1: 30), and so become partakers of the divine nature (Rom 3: 22; Jn 3: 15ff). At the same time Christ reconciled the world to God, he brought peace and reconciliation to us by destroying the walls of division that the sin of Adam and Eve had originally created (Eph 2: 11-22; Gal 3: 28).
Ultimately, the divine mystery consists in love’s overflowing plenitude rendered on the cross o touch the hearts of all in order that when “Christ dwells in your hearts through faith …” (Eph 3: 17-21).
It is not a mystery of unlimited force that conquered sin and death and before which the Christian is to be humbled and silenced (as Job and Quoleth were). Rather, the mystery of self-giving love that reveals the open heart of God forces man to surrender the posture of sapiential observer and judge (1 Cor 1: 18 – 2: 16).
By loving Christ, the believer has entered the very heart of love and there in silent words before the mystery of mysteries – he understands its dimensions as those of infinite love – for God’s love – and his silence melts into grateful praise and joyful ardour of the God too vast for the human head and heart – who became man.

9. The ultimate meaning of Christian Suffering:

Through the cross of Christ, for the believer, suffering becomes an invitation to share in Christ’s redemptive love, the very life of God himself, and by offering themselves in sacrifice for God and their fellow Christians, to grow in love and contribute to the growth of the whole body of Christ.
Luke 9: 23 – This is an everyday task (Eph 2: 22ff; 4: 16; Col 2: 19).
Christians find comfort from Christ in their affliction (2 Cor 1: 3-7).
Christians rejoice after punishment for having being found worthy to suffer dishonour (Acts 5: 41).
Christians desire to share Christ’s suffering, a grace to suffer for Christ (Phil 1: 29; 3: 8-10).
Christians rejoice in the midst of tribulations (Rom 5: 3; 2 Cor 6: 8-10; Jam 1: 2-4).
This is madness in the eyes of the world. Yet, Matthew 5: 3-12, the beatitudes are being realised. The final day, sorrow will be comforted (Rev 7: 16f). In the meantime, in the joy of suffering Christians, a valid testimony to the eschatology character of Christ’s message is given and the Kingdom of God is realised anticipated already upon earth. Therefore, suffering, both Christ’s and the Christian’s have become the means of ‘manifesting God’s work’ and ‘glorifying the Son and the Father’ (Jn 9: 3; 11: 4; 12: 27b).

In conclusion, in the New Testament, suffering reflects God’s punishment only as long as we remain under his wrath by rejecting his profound mercy in Christ (Rom 1: 18 – 2: 11; Col 3: 5-17; Eph 1: 1-10). His mercy is admittedly free, for it is the burning of a love that forces us to abandon self-justification, to confess our sins and to accept salvation as a pure gift, letting him become all in us and we receive all in him.
The sufferings that come our way are revealed as invitations to love.

New Testament and Suffering – Part I

We can say the following about the notion of suffering in the New Testament.

  1. Eternal Life as reward for suffering sustained faithfully: We see this theme in John 6: 20-22: Eternal Life leads them to discount present tribulations. 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18: Suffering sustained by comparison with what was to come (Rom 8: 18). John 17: 3: With new life suffering acquires a new meaning already in the world as a result of Christ’s cross.
  2. Medicinal suffering: Suffering can bring faith to those who do not believe (The example of healing, Jn 6: 29; 9: 3, 35-38) and suffering recalls to themselves those who do believe but not act accordingly (Rev 2: 21-23; 1 Cor 11: 23-33).
  3. Suffering as a Test: Behind all suffering stands God’s infinite merciful love (Rom 2: 4; 9: 22-24). Therefore, testing was not such a dominant theme, however, in Matthew 10: 34-38, to believe meant a test. The abandonment of earthly goods in favour of Jesus (Mk 10: 17-27; Mt 19: 29). The testing of people’s hearts was meant to bring an immense reward (Mt 16: 25; 10: 39; Mk 8: 35; Lk 9: 24; Jn 12: 25).
  4. Suffering as Purification: We notice this theme in: –

Jn 15: 2, 8: Believers bearing fruit, require the pruning.

2 Cor 7: 1: Purification from every defilement, to bring holiness.

2Thess 1: 5: Christians undergo suffering to be made worthy of the Kingdom of God.

Gal 6: 12: Paul carried in his own body Christ’s wounds.

1 Cor 7: 5: Sexual abstinence to obtain freedom to pray – virginity for the Kingdom of God.

  1. Vicarious, Redemptive suffering: We notice this theme in: –

Acts 20: 23; 21: 10-14: Paul willingly took on suffering for the sake of the Gospel.

Mt 5: 10ff: Suffering persecution for His name (Lk 9: 23: carry one’s cross and follow me; Jn 15: 18-21: Suffering persecution for Him).

Rom 8: 17: To suffer with Him.

Phil 2: 5-11: To put on the mind of Christ, that is, obedience unto the Cross.

1 Cor 12: 26: What each member of Christ’s body accomplishes and suffers effects all other members.

Just as God’s being super-abounds in letting us be, finite alongside the infinite, and God’s omnipotence does not obliterate but rather creates our freedom, so also the plenitude of Christ’s redemptive suffering does not suppress the need for the suffering of Christians, but gives them a new value.

  1. Jesus’ Suffering: The purpose of His life was to give life and this involved suffering (Mt 10: 34ff; Mk 2: 17; 10: 45; Lk 19: 10). He experiences the sufferings of human life: hunger, thirst, fatigue (Mt 4: 2; 8: 24; Jn 4: 6-8; 19: 28).

He shows compassion to those in suffering (Lk 7: 15: the widow of Naim).

He shows compassion for the crowds that are hungry (Mk 6: 34; 8: 21).

He wept for Lazarus (Jn 11: 35).

He wept over the destruction of Jerusalem (Lk 19: 41-44).

The letter to the Hebrews sums up the life of Christ, as one who embraced suffering (Heb 2: 9-15; 5: 7-10).

At the temptations His obedience was tested (Mt 4: 1-11).

At the garden of Gethsemane, we witness His suffering, and His obedient love of the Father wins (Mk 14: 32-42).

Despite inner resistance (Jn 12: 27) He was determined to complete the Will of the Father.

Old Testament and Suffering

The key concept in the Old Testament is the notion of the Covenant. God makes a covenant with his people. He intervenes in history to form a people. He is their God and they are His people. He is the One God and Lord of All. The people sing His praise as the God of Creation and the Lord of History (Ps 8). The Covenant calls for an understanding of the relationship of God with His people, the relationship of the people with each other and with all of creation. This relationship is based on Justice, which is an attribute of God. The covenant involves a choice that the people need to make. They have to choose fidelity and therefore life, or infidelity and therefore death. In spite of their choice, God is a Just God and His forgiveness and mercy always prevail.

The people of Israel experience God not as an arbitrary God. This is a notion alien to the people of Israel. God’s justice involves His compassionate intervention to relieve them of their suffering (Gen 21: 17; Ex 2: 24; Ps 22: 24). But, His justice also involves the curse resulting from the people’s infidelity (Is 45: 7); responsibility for evil (Amos 3: 6); and the punishment for sinners (Jer 18: 11).

However, deeper than the mystery of iniquity and evil is the mystery of ELECTION & COVENANT.

Old Testament explanations of Suffering: –
  1. The Good are rewarded and the Evil are punished: This is the theme of the Deuteronomic history. The covenant theme is emphasised all through. Following the covenant results in blessing for the good, and rejecting the covenant results in punishment for the evil (Cf. Judges; Kings and Chronicles). The pattern is as follows: The people display infidelity, they are punished, God intervenes, the people once again return to their evil ways … it is a circle.

This is also the theme of the Prophets (Cf. Jer 31: 23-24; Ezek 18).

The same theme in the Psalm (Ps 1; 7: 10; 23: 1ff; Prov 22: 4).

The theme is as expressed as follows: Virtue is rewarded, the trespass punished.

Therefore, suffering results from SIN.

  1. The Good are rewarded and the Evil punished in the future: The simple laws of justice with immediate retribution could not hold in the presence of the prosperity of the evil and the exploitation of the poor. Therefore, the fulfilment of justice is predicted to the future. God will intervene to save His people, to vindicate justice (Cf. Ps 10; 13; 16; 26; 37). The question does remain: But when? How long must they wait?

[Evil is a certain lack, limitation or destruction of good. Human being suffer because of a good they do not share; of which they are cut off or deprived off themselves].

  1. The experienced presence of God: An answer to suffering was found in the Temple. The temple expressed the presence of God. Being in the temple was being in God’s presence. This was a cure for suffering a relief from suffering. Faith in the presence of God in the temple was a relief (Cf. Ps 13; 16: 5-11; 27: 1, 4-10; 63; 84). However, even this was not a sufficient answer. The stark reality of pain, suffering and cruelty needed better answers.
  1. Medicinal Suffering: Suffering seen here as a punishment for sin because of a loving God. Suffering is medicinal. Medicine is bitter but it cures. Suffering is good for people as God wished to cure His people from their sin and so gave them suffering so that they could turn back to Him. This is seen especially in the prophets (Cf. Amos 4: 12’ Hosea 1 – 3; 11: 8ff; Jer 31: 20; Is 63: 9ff). The sinner is chastised so that he or she returns back to God. Suffering, therefore, reveals the kindness of God calling His people to fidelity, desiring their good. But, the question emerges, what about the good receiving unmerited suffering?
  1. Suffering as Testing: The theme of Genesis 22: 1, God tested Abraham. God’s intention in testing was to do good to those tested. Challenge moulds the mettle of a person, an outcome for which one can be grateful. Lovers show their love by suffering for the beloved. God tested Israel’s fidelity to Him and His laws (Cf. Ex 16: 4; 20: 20; Deut 8: 2; Judg 2: 22). Israel too is tested in the desert but God’s testing preceded a saving intervention and however fearsome always ended with a blessing (Cf. Deut 8: 16; Ex 16: 4). Blessings were the final cause of the testing (Ps 17: 1-3; 26: 2; 139: 23). God tested so that he would save and bless. Therefore, as gold is tested in fire … Trust in the Lord (Sir 2: 1-6; Prov 17: 3). God delivers and rewards those tested (Wis 11: 9f).
  1. Purification Suffering: The image is that of the gold and silver in the furnace (Jer 6: 27-30; Ezek 22: 17-22; Zech 13: 8). The goodness of Israel is refined to God’s glory (Is 48: 10ff; Mal 3: 2ff). Generally, Purificatory suffering is linked to testing and education. But in Psalm 38, one notes that suffering at God’s hands is due to a past in that has been confessed.
  1. Job and the Mystery of God: God can write straight through crooked lines. This is the story of Joseph and his brothers. Therefore, the Jews trusted in God. The answer to Job: The presence of God on the one hand and the vast abyss between human being’s limited knowledge and strength and the supreme majesty of God. No explanation is possible. Therefore, what is called for is faith in the mystery of God. Like Job, Quoleth too in the presence of suffering of the innocent ends with faith in the mystery of God (Cf. Eccl 1: 8, 12-18; 2: 12-26; 3: 16-22; 5: 13-17; 8: 14 – 9: 4, 11).
  1. Vicarious Suffering: The notion of ‘Corporate Personality’ where an individual is a representative as well as a constitutive member of a group. Corporate Personality means: an extension beyond the present into the past and future (The Patriarch lives on in his progeny, Cf. Amos 3: 1; Deut 29: 13). This is not merely a personification, a metaphor but a reality which furthers relations, juridical or otherwise (E.g., Levirate marriage in Deut 25: 5-10). There is also a fluid transition from the individual to the group and back again (Hos 11: 11ff; Num 20: 14-21).

The issue is thus explained as follows: If all can suffer for the sins of one, therefore, all can profit from the accomplishment of one (Jer 5: 1; Gen 18: 22-23). David over Goliath gave victory to the Jews (1 Sam 17: 8ff). Jeremiah’s suffering is part and parcel of his mission: A prophet who continued to pray and protect his people.

Victorious suffering is seen clearly in Deutro-Isaiah in the suffering servant theme (Is 42: 1-4; 49: 1-6; 50: 4-20; 52: 13 – 53: 12). Here, there is a flexible oscillation between the people and the person in Deutro-Isaiah’s suffering servant.

In Zechariah 12: 10 – 13: 1, we have an example of vicarious suffering. Here, the innocent freely take on the suffering.

In 2 Maccabees 7: 32ff, we note that the martyrs, the just men are called to propitiate the wrath of God. Their reward is in the next life.

  1. Life after Death: The unrequited suffering and death of the just cry out for ‘something more’ (Is 53: 10ff). Justice and a demand for it extended beyond the grave (Wis 1 – 5). There is a bodily resurrection presupposed in Daniel 12: 2ff. In 2 Maccabees, the Jewish belief in after life is for the first time expressed. The offerings for the dead could be efficacious in freeing them from sin (2 Macc 12: 39-45).

The end of the Old Testament expresses the fidelity to God’s justice. There is importance of the individual’s destiny before God which leads to an affirmation of life after death.

In conclusion, the three themes of the Old Testament on the issue of suffering are: The Good are rewarded and the Evil are punished; Suffering can be good, medicinal and healing; and the mysterious presence of God in Suffering. The final theme will take flesh in Emmanuel, ‘God with us,’ in our suffering as Christ in His coming would save the beings of this world and the next by bestowing an eschatological and supernatural profundity upon everyday joys and sufferings.

Suffering: Meaning and Definition

Mary Ann Fatula defines suffering as, “the disruption of inner human harmony caused by physical, mental, spiritual and emotional forces experienced as isolating and threatening our very existence.”[1]

Richard Sparks presents suffering as, “one’s consciousness of life’s dark side, the human experience that all is not peaceful and harmonious in our bodies, in our souls, in our relationships, in the cosmos.”[2]

Dorothy Soelle emphasises that all suffering must have the three dimensions of physical, psychological and social affliction if it is to be suffering at all.[3]

Most commentators express the view that suffering is linked inevitably in the problem of evil (Theodicy). There is no single explanation of the origin and purpose of evil, nor is there any unanimous agreement as to the appropriate response to the suffering it entails. However, as Christians we must assert that suffering and evil are not caused by God, the author of all good, but suffering and evil are inherent in the universe and its natural processes and in the uniqueness of human freedom, in the misuse of free will that is the moral evil of sin. The reasons for and the meaning of suffering apparently inseparable from human life have been the subject of question all through history till this day.

[1] Mary Ann Fatula, “Suffering” in New Theological Dictionary, (Dublin, 1987), 990-992 at 990.

[2] Richard Sparks, “Suffering” in New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, (Collegeville, 1986), 950-953 at 950.

[3] Dorothy Soelle, Suffering, (Philadelphis, 1975), 15.


Why, Oh why? This is a cry we often hear from a person suffering, or of one who encounters suffering in some form. It is the cry perhaps of a mother whose five year old son is shot dead, or the cry of a young man dying of cancer, the cry of a young wife whose husband dies in a car crash, or the cry of thousands dying of starvation in the third world countries, or the cry of girls and women abused and made to feel less than human. It is the cry of every human person, man, woman, and child, the cry of the theologian, philosopher, scientist, or lay person, the cry of an atheist or believer. Suffering seems to force an instant cry, Why Oh Why?
For us Christians, we naturally turn to God. God is a God of love and tenderness, of justice and compassion, yet, what is His role in our suffering? We know from revelation that God is not the cause of suffering. But then, is He concerned at all? Is He a bystander watching uninterestedly, or is He a sadist enjoying watching us suffer? These questions are our attempt to find a meaning to suffering.
It is our endeavour in this study to search for a meaning to suffering and a way of coping with suffering. We thus present a brief definition of suffering, then glance at some length at the way suffering is understood in the Old Testament and then the New Testament. We then briefly look at the understanding of suffering in the tradition of the Church and in recent magisterial teaching. We the briefly look at certain contemporary theologians and how they understand and present a theology of suffering. We finally present Christ and his cross as the locus for any meaning and way of coping with suffering.
We must admit that in the final analysis suffering leaves us mystified and seems to transcend any rational answer we could possibly offer.