Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


Graciously grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful: that we, who cannot exist without Thee, may be enabled to live according to Thy will.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wisdom

God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.

- Aeschylus Agamemnon

[Probably as good an answer as I will find for my friend's question about why God allows suffering -- the same answer that Elihu gives to Job.]

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A Catholic college student posted her own thoughts on suffering recently here. I need to spend more time myself thinking about the redemptive value of suffering.

A good way to start would be by reading David Greenstock's Comfort for the Sick and Dying. I read this some years ago and remember it as a book that lived up to its name. My mother read it while she was dying and was so inspired she bought several to give to friends and family.

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I couldn't find the translation of Agamemnon from which the quote was taken, but I did find two other versions of the play online. Here is how they render the wisdom quote:

'Tis Zeus alone who shows the perfect way
Of knowledge: He hath ruled,
Men shall learn wisdom, by affliction schooled.

In visions of the night, like dropping rain,
Descend the many memories of pain
Before the spirit's sight: through tears and dole
Comes wisdom o'er the unwilling soul-
A boon, I wot, of all Divinity,
That holds its sacred throne in strength, above the sky!

(Translated by E. D. A. Morshead)


For Jove doth teach men wisdom, sternly wins
To virtue by the tutoring of their sins,
Yea! drops of torturing recollection chill
The sleeper’s heart, ’gainst man’s rebellious will
Jove works the wise remorse:
Dread Powers, on awful seats enthroned, compel
Our hearts with gracious force.

(Translated by John Stuart Blackie)

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