Saturday, October 22, 2005

Strong Enough

We read a poem by Samuel Beckett in class today:


offer it up plank it down
Golgotha was only the potegg
cancer angina it is all one to us
cough up your T.B. don't be stingy
no trifle is too trifling not even a thrombus
anything venereal is especially welcome
that old toga in the mothballs
don't be sentimental you won't be wanting it again
send it along we'll put it in the pot with the rest
with your love requited and unrequited
the things taken too late the things taken too soon
the spirit aching bullock's scrotum
you won't cure it you won't endure it
it is you it equals you any fool has to pity you
so parcel up the whole issue and send it along
the whole misery diagnosed undiagnosed misdiagnosed
get your friends to do the same we'll make use of it
we'll make sense of it we'll put it in the pot with the rest
it all boils down to blood of lamb

Beckett is mocking faith. He's being sarcastic about the way in which religious people tell you to endure suffering because something positive will come of it, as well as those who advise you to turn to God when you suffer. He's saying, "Sure, bring your cancer and all your other problems, we'll compile them all together and give them to God, ha!"

Nasty, no doubt. But it makes you think. At least, it made me think. People always do say that the purpose of suffering is to test us, to make us stronger. But what about those of us who buckle underneath the weight of it?

1 comment:

FP said...

"The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain" --- St. Padre Pio, first priest to bear the Stigmata, the visible and painful wounds of Christ Crucified.

At Padre Pio's canonization Mass in 2002, Pope John Paul II referred to that day's Gospel (Matthew 11:25-30) and said: “The Gospel image of 'yoke' evokes the many trials that the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo endured. Today we contemplate in him how sweet is the 'yoke' of Christ and indeed how light the burden are whenever someone carries these with faithful love. The life and mission of Padre Pio testify that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted with love, transform themselves into a privileged journey of holiness, which opens the person toward a greater good, known only to the Lord.”

Also, do not forget that the Cross and the Resurrection can never be separated, for the two are perpetually joined, for from the pain and sorrow of the Cross came Redemption and Eternal Life, victory over sin and death.