By Mary Sayad
The above unfinished question is designed to raise your eyebrows, grab your attention and invite you or should I say "entice you' to continue reading?
However you may describe it, human nature is frequently fickle and if we've never had physical ailments, we foolishly believe that we're invincible and are above illness or injury. Understandably, this is commonly attributable to our younger generation.
Illnesses and injuries come in all sizes and shapes and at one time or another each of us learns to respect what was taken for granted when all was well. Sometimes emotional pain outweighs its physical counterpart. Whatever the cause, pain is an all out undesirable sensation that quickly sends us to the doctor or the pharmacy to seek relief and healing.
Anybody in the mood for pain? Why does it exist and what is its purpose? Physical pain tells us that a physical part of us needs repairing. Emotional pain is oftentimes a problematical indication of a deep seated human conflict dealing with past offenses or feelings of guilt. Overcoming emotional pain sometimes lasts a lifetime. Physical chronic pain is difficult to treat and this also frequently lasts a lifetime. Yes friends, there is a rich array of pain, be it temporary or permanent that each one of us needs to cope with and come to terms with at some point of our earthly existence.
The strain is enormous. It wears down endurance. It saps vitality.
For emotional problems, if you sit down regularly, preferably daily with pen and paper and outline your thoughts and fears regarding emotional pain, it is possible to speed the process of resolving some hidden guilt, hurt or need.
Regarding chronic physical pain, a change of lifestyle may be required. In addition, combining pain medications with a variety of professionally planned therapeutic exercises often help to alleviate and control pain.
Whatever your situation, attitude is of utmost importance. In addition, cultivating a sense of humor always promotes healing and tolerance. When you combine faith and hope, maintain a prayerful attitude and keep a cheerful demeanor, you will attain a more conducive environment towards achieving health and a sense of well being. Remember, self discipline is key to recovery. Be patient because it takes time to change old habits.
Is it a test to endure pain? I wish there was a "one size fits all" answer to this question. Although the question is simple, the answer is more complex. However, when we genuinely apply certain principles, we may be able to grasp the purpose of pain.
St Augustine said, "To live happily is not to live according to reason, for that would be to live according to human standard. To live happily is to live according to the mind of God."
Clearly, St. Augustine's insight was inspired. While most of us don't naturally experience these insights, the more we study the Holy Bible and begin to understand Christ's teachings, his Apostles and the Old Testament Prophets, the more we will develop a mind in conformity with truth principles.
Jesus Christ's Passion was a tremendous scene of agony, humiliation and suffering. I don't believe that any average human being could have endured such torture, loss of blood and pain and still climb the hill to Golgatha bearing that heavy cross on His shoulders. The heart of His Blessed Mother, was torn with grief beyond description. It is very difficult for me as a mother to envision her witnessing her son's horrific torture and Crucifixion. Our Blessed Mother is the vessel of love and a sublime model.
Hebrews 12: 2, 3 ……. let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith. For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross, heedless of its shame and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Remember how he endured the opposition of sinners; in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
Discipline builds character. Perhaps our pain is the human element that supplies us with patience, understanding and tolerance. Perhaps this pain fills us with empathy and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ ultimately drawing us nearer and dearer to fulfilling our mission in life.
Colossians 1:10-12, Then you will lead a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way. You will multiply good works of every sort and grow in the knowledge of God. By the might of his glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come, giving thanks to the Father for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light.
And then perhaps, after we withstand the test of time and stamina, we realize that someone-else's pain was greater than ours and the purpose of our pain was to extend a helping hand, a listening ear or to offer the comfort of a heartfelt word to our neighbor in their hour of grief and need.
Your companion in prayer,
O Divine Physician, Thou Who hast always loved to console and heal the sick body and mind, give me patience to bear this suffering in reparation for the sufferings which I and others have inflicted on Thy Crucified Body. By Thy Power, relieve the sharpness of my pain and exhaustion but above all, kind Jesus, heal the wounds of my soul. Even though I find it hard to pray, yet shall I ever say, "Thy Will be done."