Friday, February 29, 2008
"all the poets they studied rules of verse; those ladies, they rolled their eyes"
Something suitably and strangely cool for this leap day, a Velvet Underground classic elegantly redone by that marvelous group- Cowboy Junkies. This, dear friends and fellow mortals, is our Friday traditio for 29 February.
On a relevant note for a Friday of Lent, it bears reminding that suffering has no intrinsic value. According to Catholic and psychologist Sidney Callahan, as summarized by Dr. David Loxterkamp, "pain, grief, hunger, depression, and loneliness. . . . are not sent by God to test our faith or punish us, to grab our attention or to perfect us. Nor should we - on the secular side - buy the self- help agenda that assigns blame for illness to toxic anger, irresponsible diet, or neglect of our third chakra." Rather, according to Loxterkamp, Callahan's "argument is a theological one, and follows the thinking of Karl Rahner."
In other words, [s]uffering does not arise from God, but from what is 'not God.' It stems from the malicious use of free choice, or from accidents that occur in a natural world still evolving toward perfection." Suffering, Callahan insists, "cannot, of itself, either calibrate our self-worth or make us better people" (Commonweal, 29 Feb 2008, vol. CXXXV, No. 4, pg. 28).
All of this gets back to Dr. Cynthia Crysdale's thesis in her remarkable book Embracing Travail: Retrieving the Cross Today, a thesis about which I have written and spoken. It is sloppily (can sloppy be used as an adverb?) summarized in St. Mary Magdalene: First Witness of the Resurrection, there is even more on this in another post: Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene.