Sunday, August 22, 2010

Understanding Human Suffering: The Germaine Cousin Paradox

As Christians we struggle with the understanding of suffering. We love the glory of the resurrection and we are delighted by the wonder of the transfiguration, but we struggle with the implications of the Holy Cross. The life of Saint Germaine Cousin, a Catholic saint whose life is virtually unknown, [click here to view the short produced by Our Lady's Tears Productions], is a paradox that leaves us restless for we have trouble understanding how an all loving God could allow an innocent child to suffer. We are appalled and silenced in the face of such a mystery. I would like to engage the reader to share how such suffering could be allowed. To give some fuel for discussion, I would like to quote Fr William of Saint Thierry, a 12th Century Cisterian abbot, theologian and mystic, who rightly discerned what hindered the human spirit from understanding these mysteries, that only angels seem to contemplate joyfully. “The unclean soul, the impure conscience, the proud mind, and curious conceit are rightly kept at a distance from the quest of the divine sacraments and mysteries. For the spirit of discernment flees anything false and will not dwell in a body subject to sin. Wisdom will not enter into an ill-disposed soul” [Fr William of Saint Thierry † 1148; Cistercian Abbot].

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