C.S. Lewis’s insights into the nature of pain and joy are the same as what I have discovered to be true, only he says it so much better!
I have written about the Catholic tendency to focus on suffering, labelling this faulty spirituality as the ‘False Martyr Complex“. It is a matter of Christians ” Playing the Scapegoat” and “Stealing Christ’s Job” ; even though our bodies might be in pain or we might be enduring emotional pain or difficult circumstances we still can live in joy in our deepest core, in our spirits.
The truth is that
Christ’s love surrounds us yet also dwells within us.
Nothing can separate our deepest self from His love and joy
He carried all the burden of everyone’s physical and psychological pain
when He died to heal us and save us.
Christ is the only scapegoat.
Our suffering is not redemptive in and of itself because it does not save us or anyone else.
Christ is the only Saviour.
Our suffering is redemptive only when it is united to Christ
From C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
I think we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to ‘rejoice’ as much as by anything else.
after the first shock,
is a cheerful virtue.
God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself
The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love”, and look on things as if man were the centre of them.
Man is not the centre.
God does not exist for the sake of man.
Man does not exist for his own sake.
“Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest “well pleased.
Published by melanie jean juneau
Melanie Jean Juneau serves as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Stand. She is a mother of nine children who has edited her kid's university term papers for over a decade. She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, a columnist at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC, author of Echoes of the Divine and Oopsy Daisy, and coauthor of Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood.
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11 thoughts on “Joy in Pain”
Melanie this is wonderful, so deep and profound. He was a deep thinker and yet extremely practical. “Man is not the centre…”. It sounds similar to the homily that I heard at Mass tonight.
lucky man; you heard a deep sermon
Yes it was. This is my first Lent, and it is truly amazing. I’m praising God and full of joy.
C.S. Lewis – Joy in Pain
Hello Melanie, I am so blessed to have found your Blog – I hope you may help me find understanding that only God may know. I love children – I married and raised 2 wonderful boys and God spoke once when I was anxious about their well being and that He watch over them – He said “THEY ARE MY CHILDREN FIRST – YOU NEEDN’T HAVE TO ASK” Then this great peace came over me and after that I never was concerned I just knew they were in God’s care. Then when they were 12 & 14 I explained to them they were God’s Children and in God’s Family I am their Sister in Christ and was Blessed by being chosen to be their Mother to teach as God wants and to bring up so that they will follow all their years. And just as like a knife – they were cut from me – to their father who was abusive and I divorced. Now was a time of testing and faith in my mothering and releasing them unto God’s Care.
But the pain – being taken so abruptly and the situation was so rude. Their step-mother is from Pakistan and didn’t want them just child support and servants.
Now after 5 years – my oldest is following the path we joked when he was a baby – “our little Priest” and the youngest doesn’t talk to me – but loves me intensely but cannot talk to me. There is brainwashing – lies that their father will never admit the truth to.
I have spoken to my Priests – counseling and others and all have told me I am suffering for Christ. God once told me when I asked ‘why are you punishing me’ and He replied – “I AM NOT PUNISHING YOU – YOU ARE PUNISHING YOURSELF – YOU CHOSE THIS MAN NOT I” and so He has care of my children but – why do I feel so unloved. I feel the fluttering of the Holy Spirit and as i have always prayed to be an instrument of God’s Work – the Holy Spirit works/speaks through me.
It is hard to go to Church – the pouring out of emotion of my own and others around me makes it so hard to sit and not cry. Of course the Priest are leery of me thinking I am crazy and it is between God and I. But I have known since a child God was near and experienced a miracle at first when i was 5 years old. The forest caught fire and I prayed reverently with a Childlike faith, and as all the neighbors watched the fire go down hill with the wind – before the fire dept. got there I shouted out to GOD to put out the fire and suddenly the winds turned and grabbed every leaf that was burning and blew it up on the road. They all were in disbelief – and the fire dept. wondered were was the fire. We all stomped on the leaves and I first felt the butterflies in my heart – I call the Holy Spirit when God is happy.
I am struggling with how to go on – I would like to resolve with my children. Being able to love them and forgive my ex for the pain and lies but I leave that with God upon judgement day. My name is JOY – I feel close to Mother Mary in that I feel the suffering of losing my sons to God’s purpose and She comforts me.
I had a nervous breakdown when my 25 year career was outsourced to India – shortly after my father died – then I lost my home and custody of my children and was homeless for 4 years. And now I am on disability and owe my ex $20,000 in past due child support I am paying out of ssdi while he is a Sr. Engineer earning $100,000/yr. I know God is with me I just don’t know what God wants from me – the Priests say “just be nice”. I have suffered enough – just be nice to everyone I meet, and I am.
I hope you receive some words of wisdom to share with me.
I wish you many days of love and blessings with your family and children. God Bless You! ❤
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I can relate to you COMPLETELY. The irony about sufferring is that we have to suffer first to get that our sufferring is useless. I will email you personally shortly but if you read a couple of my posts on scapegoats, you will have some background on what God has taught me through suffering
Thank you – Bless You! I honestly live up to my name! But this is the trick of Satan I must fight – and of course he uses children to torment me. But I did come upon a quote last week “If you love your children more than you do ME, you are undeserving.” and has helped me realize what am I asking for God’s Love or my Children’s. Thank you – I hoped with your Loving Heart you would understand. And my son has given me a prayer rope to pray on when Satan torments me. 🙂
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I am so lost
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I am emailing you- joy is within your reach
thank you – after the nervous breakdown my brain gets confused
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emailing in 10 minutes