04 April 2019, The Tablet

Don’t shy away from suffering

Food for the Lenten journey

Don’t shy away from suffering

© Eamonn McCabe


In the fifth of our series in which writers recommend a book they turn to in bleak moments, our contributor chooses the autobiography of one of the Medjugorje visionaries, Mirjana Soldo’s My Heart Will Triumph

Buddhists believe that a true spiritual awakening generally necessitates an awareness of the human journey from beauty to terror to knowledge. As a Catholic, I translate these three words as desire, suffering and transcendence. When you love something (anything) you always risk the possibility of losing it. So desire (love) invariably leads to the likelihood of suffering. Accepting this fact, and – better still – finding your peace with it, brings enlightenment.

Only by suffering can we actually learn to eliminate suffering. I guess it’s a tough lesson – but it’s a good one. If you seek joy from outside of yourself, then you will experience pain (OK, I fully admit, sometimes it’s worth it). If you find ways to counter the ego, to reduce your desire (sense of entitlement, self-pity, ambition etc.), then you quickly realise that your true peace and your true joy lie within.

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