Amazon.com Widgets

Only posts tagged with: Suffering | Display all

Ann Schmalstieg

An artist’s approach to beauty

Jul. 25, 2013, at 2:13pm

Editor's note: Ann Schmalstieg is an artist whose work we discovered when she signed on as a member of the Personalist Project some months ago. We were so moved by it—especially the way she seems to capture beauty in suffering—that we asked her to consider posting about it here. You can find more at her website.

Holding together

Katie invited me to write about my artwork in a guest post some time ago, and I must admit, I was a bit hesitant. Part of the reason why I paint is because words often fall short, so writing is not my preferred mode of expression. Yet, there is value in sharing clearly defined thoughts, not only for viewers of my art, but also for other artists who are working out their own

continue reading

Katie van Schaijik

Alice von Hildebrand on love and suffering

Jun. 17, 2013, at 1:43pm

Alice von HIldebrand began visiting and speaking at Franciscan University when I was a junior there, in 1986. Her wise and witty words, uttered in that inimitable voice, spoke to my spirit at an unfamiliar depth and with a soul-unifying power.  Up till then, my experience had been that intellectual things were sometimes  interesting, but they didn't touch my heart. They didn't really rouse me; they didn't reach my self.  And emotional things, while absorbing in their drama and immediacy, lacked substance; they seemed rather unreliable and immature—dead-endish. Looking back, I see I was sort of stuck.

By her witness, the dilemma was resolved. The kind of truth that came to me through her

continue reading

Devra Torres

Gaudete Sunday by the Waters of Babylon

Dec. 16, 2012, at 9:12pm

Sometimes a piece of writing seems all set to go.  You’ve wrestled it into shape: you’re not altogether satisfied, but it’s probably good enough, and anyway, the deadline is here.

But you keep sensing the very inconvenient need to file it away, start again from scratch, and address something else altogether.

That happened when our friend, Peter, died—I realized how pointless it was to try to write anything but a tribute to him.   Something similar happened today.

Here it is, Gaudete Sunday.  That means we’re commanded to rejoice.  Not just encouraged, but commanded (gaudete: plural imperative). 

That seems surprising, because sometimes the Good News is presented in a deformed state, and

continue reading

Michael Healy

Misery and Genuine Hope

May. 21, 2012, at 10:21am

A fourth option for dealing with the miseries and pains of life is that of genuine hope.  How does this differ from mere optimism?  How does is compare to pessimism?  Well, it is an attempt to face the evils of life realistically while not succumbing to them as the last word (vs. pessimism); but, in order to do so, hope must break the bounds of just this world of space and time (vs. mere optimism) where “death comes as the end.”  Hope must find a genuine foundation on which to acknowledge misery without despair, but rather with a realistic possibility of breaking through to genuine happiness. 

That true foundation is ultimately the power and goodness of God; therefore, hope is based on

continue reading

Michael Healy

Misery and Pessimism

May. 13, 2012, at 6:58pm

Pessimism is an attempt at an “honest” solution to the problem of the miseries of life.  It tries to face squarely the reality of evil, pain, death, change, catastrophe, etc., and then offers a way to shield oneself from these inevitable facts of life by steeling oneself against them, not letting oneself be touched by them, by showing an enduring toughness and self-sufficiency in accepting them.  It espouses only a negative definition of happiness, relief from misery, without any positive components.  The problem with all this “realism” and “honesty” is the underlying assumption that evil, pain, and misery ultimately win out in life and in being.  But is this true?  Is it honest?  Is it

continue reading

Michael Healy

Misery and Earthly Optimism

May. 7, 2012, at 11:18am

Another way of trying to deal with the miseries of life involves an attitude that may be termed “earthly optimism.”  It some ways it is a more formalized type of escapism, but now developed into theory of life, either on a popular or on a more sophisticated intellectual level. 

On the popular level, we might term this a “Pollyanna” attitude, though I don’t mean thereby to make a judgment about Disney’s 1960 movie of the same name.  (Like every other red-blooded American 10-to-15-year-old male of my generation, I fell deeply in love with Hayley Mills after seeing that movie, rivaling even my devotion to Annette Funicello.  So I do not mean to tread on anyone’s sacred memories here!) 

continue reading

Michael Healy

Misery and Escapism

Apr. 29, 2012, at 4:18pm

One technique for handling life’s pains and miseries is simply to run from them, to try to distract oneself from the dark side of life and thus not really face the problem. This is, admittedly, not really even an attempt at a “solution” or an answer, but it can allow the individual to go on functioning day-to-day in practical terms.

This can be done with drugs or alcohol, trying to blot out the pain or threat and blissfully overcome it with the aid of artificial stimulants. Another version of this would be trying to “drown one’s sorrows” in the face a particular source of unhappiness or a general weariness or disgust with life. This is often the theme of country songs, e.g. Hank William’s

continue reading

Katie van Schaijik

Poland

Apr. 10, 2010, at 11:50am

Is there another country whose sufferings compare with Poland’s over the last centuries? No doubt there are some whose sufferings have been as bad or worse in terms of loss of life, and by other measures too. But I refer to the marked spiritual dimension to her particular sufferings. They seem almost personal—almost as if they were deliberately directed at her identity as a nation. And they are imposed on her from without, not self-inflicted, as in Russia or Rwanda.
I am thinking of the partitions, the Nazi occupation, swiftly followed by the Soviet occupation; the Warsaw uprising and its aftermath, Auschwitz, the Katyn Forest Massacre, and now the terrible, terrible news today.

Why? Who can fathom it?
I am clinging to the insight of the greatest son of Poland in our time: the purpose of suffering is to unleash love.

Stay informed

Reading circles

Lectures

Latest comments

  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Searching for community
  • By: Stellatum
  • Re: Juan Antonio and the Personalist Manager
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Juan Antonio and the Personalist Manager
  • By: Sapperdepitjes
  • Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation
  • By: David Madeley
  • Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation
  • By: David Madeley

Latest active posts