Monday, April 6, 2015

Met Georges Khodr on Suffering

Arabic original here.

Palm Sunday

"Say to the daughter of Zion: Behold, your king comes to you lowly, riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Is this not for us to say to them that You possess nothing of power and that You have no part in politics? That You come to it so that it might kill You? Who apart from You goes to death willingly? Why did You choose death as a path to our life? Why did You volunteer for it and not conquer without death? Why did You choose to be oppressed in order to gain victory over Satan? Was it because You know that it is our constant natural state and that in it you would encounter all of humanity? Why did You have to come down for all of this misery? Is it because You know that misery is our fundamental and predominant situation? Is it because You wanted to encounter us in our sins? Is it because You know that we normally make our home there?

Who enters into a place in order to die there? Others have accepted death without seizing it by force. Was it in order to teach us that we have no life except through death, through the death of the passions and sin? I think that Your challenge to us is in Your telling us that our path to life is death. After this, we understood that Your death-- not our death-- is our resurrection. How can a person willingly go to his death? Through Your life, You teach us that our death in love is our path to the resurrection and that we must not love death, but rather the resurrection from the dead. Death is a punishment, useful only for those who have before them a path to life in God. We do not seek to suffer. This is an erroneous interpretation of the necessity of drawing near to Christ. Christianity is not the religion of pain. It is in us. We did not invent it. However through it you go there, and upwards.

Christ did not call for pain. It is in you. It comes to you and you accept it for a time, then transcend it through the joy of the resurrection coming to your heart. It is a false teaching that gives the impression that you must enjoy pain. At first you receive it, but you do this in order to transcend it and it will be accounted to you as righteousness. The situation brings it to you, but your Lord does not want it to remain. You accept it, not with patience for it but unto your Lord and through this you will end it. God does not want to make it active within you. If it comes to you, He will educate you through it. He liberates all in eternal life and spiritual experience tells us that God educates us in it through pain.

The Lord does not want pain to be active in you, but it comes. You do not welcome it, but if it comes, allow it to educate you. Why must you go through pain? Jesus did not answer this question, but when He accepted his suffering, we understood that this is what we must do.

It is not true that Christianity is the religion of pain. It is acceptance of pain about which no one consulted us because acceptance is being pleased with what comes to us after it: the consolations of the Holy Spirit. Why is the world based on the fact that resurrection-- the resurrection of each person-- is preceded by pain? I think that this is a matter of fact, but it is a matter of faith that accepting suffering in obedience to God is our path to the resurrection-- not only the resurrection to come, but also the one that takes place within us through love.

Until God raises us from the dead, we are in His grasp. Our home is the mercy of each one of us toward others. Whether we live or die, we are with Him, hoping every day for His loving kindness. Compassion surrounds us and we are consoled until He comes down.

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