Reflection on Spirituality of Suffering

This week, October 4 to October 8, Father Ferruccio Brambillasca, PIME Regional Superior in Japan, is visiting the Euntes community to speak on Spirituality of Suffering. Father Ferruccio’s Doctoral dissertation is on “The Indian Theology of the Cross – A possible Foundation for a Theology of Religions”. As part of his presentation he showed the Japanese movie “Silence”.

Fr. Ferruccio Brambillasca, PIME

What follows is the reflection Evar Ortega, a PIME aspirant attending the course, offered during Mass on October 5. The Gospel reading was from Luke 10: 38- 42.

Yesterday afternoon, after Fr. Yao’s cup table tennis tournament, I bought a few bottles of energy drink in the nearby store. A man who happened to watch me going out from the Euntes gate asked me: ‘Why did you buy energy drink?’ I replied: ‘This will serve to energize us for the whole week since we have just begun our learning and sharing on suffering; we watched the movie “Silence” and it is about suffering’. He smiled and said: ‘Suffering of men and women varies according to their age’. ‘Ahh!!!’ – I replied with astonishment – ‘How about seminarians, brothers, sisters and priests?’ He hurriedly replied: ‘All the more’.

For young people, suffering is usually taking place at the emotional level. We are so sensitive. Young people experience suffering when they try to balance life as the heart and mind compete and contest with each other. Usually the heart wins, but it beats faster than the generator.

For the middle aged people, their suffering usually takes place when they become worried and anxious about so many things, that even sometimes they don’t know why they are worried and anxious. They work overtime because they want to be credited, recognized, approved or seeking for approval for what they have done; they want to be somebody wherever they are.

In today’s gospel I keep on searching the age of Martha but unfortunately I didn’t find. However, I am very much sure that she was not young but she was at the middle age. She complained to Jesus: ‘Look at me I am so burdened with work while my sister is just listening and sitting pretty’. Jesus admonishes her by saying:’ Martha, you are so worried about so many things’.

Every time I experience suffering I realize that it is because I am loaded and even overloaded with so many worries and anxieties. That happens when I experience lot of fears, insecurities, self- centeredness, narrow-mindedness, pride, arrogance; basically it is a matter of lack of faith.

This reminds me of a wise saying that goes like this: ‘Worries are like a rocking chair…it gives me something to do, but it won’t get anywhere!’.