THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING AND DEATH. Chapter 1: The Pain of Being Human. “Down but Not Out” . Pg. 6, The Story of Jenna DISCUSSION : If you were in Jenna’s shoes, how do you think you would react to the suffering? What would be your feelings? Thoughts? Your attitudes towards the future?.
Chapter 1: The Pain of Being Human
Pg. 6, The Story of Jenna
If you were in Jenna’s shoes, how do you think you would react to the suffering? What would be your feelings? Thoughts? Your attitudes towards the future?
According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, “suffering is an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience.”
What are its causes??
Ex. arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, ALS
Natural or human-caused catastrophes
Ex. Earthquakes, hurricanes, car accidents, bombings
Ex. Death of a loved one, break-up in a relationship, theft
Ex. Divorce of one’s parents, moving to a new city, starting a new school year
--Whatever its cause, suffering is real and strikes the young, old, rich, poor, the sinners and saints and people of all races.
-sharp, severe pain that has a sudden onset and lasts only a short period of time.
-long-term pain; suffering that may never be relieved
Example: Tommy touches a hot stove
-What type of pain would Tommy experience?
Central Nervous System: Consists of our brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral Nervous System:
-network of fibers known as nerves leading to individual nerve cells (neurons)
Ex: serious diseases, broken bones, cramps, migraines, etc.
Ex: abandonment, rejection, fear of failure, guilt, anger, etc.
Ex: doubting God exists, doubting that God cares and loves us, a sense of isolation and alienation from God, etc.
In groups of 4, read one of the following Scripture passages:
-Tobit 10:1-7 -Psalm 22
-Psalm 38 -Sirach 37:1-6
-Lamentations 3:1-17 -Psalm 137
List the type of suffering found in the passage. Then try to categorize each suffering as physical, psychological, or spiritual.
“They have pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:17)
PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, or SPIRITUAL?
Jewish philosopher Moses Maimondis labels suffering as EVIL.
In his classic book, The Guide for the Perplexed, he explains that suffering is caused by THREE types of evil:
Examples of Suffering:
-Oklahoma City Bombing, Holocaust, institution of slavery in America,
Such suffering has Psychological causes.
Neurosis- an unhealthy mental condition in which one is trapped within an endlessly recurring pattern of emotional suffering—anxiety, obsession, self-centeredness, paranoia, fatalism, etc.
In a small group, look through a recent newspaper or news magazine. Find THREE examples of suffering caused by:
(a)the natural limitations of being human
(b) evils caused by others
(c) evils caused by oneself
Explain the article and how it describes each evil.
Many people throughout history have had such thoughts;
In the Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden is described as a paradise—a heaven on earth in which people walk and talk with God.
In Buddhist religion, blissful state they call nirvana—state of perfect happiness, in which there is no suffering or death.
A number of philosophers have described their vision of utopia—a perfect, or ideal society.
Problem with this thinking? It assumes we can only be happy if there is no sadness, pain, or death.
If we are willing to suffer to reach a goal, then, (1) the goal must be truly worthwhile
(2) we must really want to attain it
A certain amount of suffering seems to be necessary for the strengthening of human character.
It contributes to our self-esteem and our sense of accomplishment and helps us to be generous, show compassion, display courage, and be determined.
Ironically, we use the same word to describe suffering and love.
--Passion (Latin “to suffer”)-means to experience intense, driving, overwhelming emotion and feeling.
Loving people also suffer when their loved ones suffer. So to suffer with others is to show Compassion.
The mystery of love is intimately tied up with the mystery of suffering. Just as love makes us more alive; suffering and death makes us more “human.”
Faith- a theological virtue that enables us to believe that God exists and loves us.
- enables us to have a personal relationship with God and to live by gospel values, despite situations of suffering and pain.
In groups of 4, look up each of the Scripture passages listed on the page that refer to the suffering of Jesus.
Categorize each example of suffering as PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, or SPIRITUAL.
Put all answers on one sheet of paper and turn in at the end of class.
“He suffered from fatigue” (John 4:6)
Because Jesus truly suffered the pain of being human, there are THREE things we can believe:
Suffering does not separate us from God. God cares about our suffering.
God does not let us face our suffering alone.
Suffering is not the end.
People who bounce back fast and get on with their lives are said to have resilience.
Resilience- the ability to handle whatever life deals us.
- resilient people thrive despite the problems they are having.
Take the quiz.
Circle the answers that honestly reflect you.
After completion of the quiz, you will receive a score for each question…
24-37 points—means that you are thriving under pressure.
13-23 points—means that you are holding steady
5-12 points—means that you may be at your bursting point
Please respond in your notebooks.