Daniel Lord on Suffering

Andy Otto has a fine piece in America about his experiences as a hospital chaplain.  He quotes the Jesuit spiritual writer Daniel Lord, SJ, on suffering: “Perhaps sorrow is not the horrible evil that men have thought it. Perhaps it has some beautiful and deep significance that can be read only by eyes that have looked into the blood-red sun behind Calvary’s hill.” Writes Otto:

“Reeling broken into the arms of God,” writes Father Lord, signals a thirst deep within us that arises frequently from an experience of pain. It is the “I-know-not-what” of St. John of the Cross for which we ache. There is a deep need to fill the emptiness created in sorrow and brokenness. It may begin with a loved one’s embrace or word, but it ends with the mystery of God.


  1. This is such a beautiful piece. “Reeling broken into the arms of God”…… Are we not all wounded healers? Suffering brings us to places where we would rather not go but therein lies the mystery of God and grace.
    Thank you for this reminder.

  2. “The grace of suffering is often found in vulnerability…the Lord depends on us to be vulnerable and broken so that we may become empty enough to be filled with grace.” In my experience it is then in our woundedness that our Lord is able to use us to bring comfort to others who are suffering. Thank you, Jim, for sharing this.


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