Lamentation passages from the Old Testament make me uncomfortable. They are the sort of readings I like to rush through because they ask me to sit with pain and suffering. I often flee from discomfort. I respond to pain by trying to fix it. When others share their sorrows, I immediately switch into problem-solving mode.
Jeremiah shows us a different way. After suffering hunger and violence, his community seeks peace, healing, and rest from destruction. When Jeremiah laments to God, he pours out his pain, confusion, loss, and hurt. He is direct and holds nothing back. In the midst of sorrow, he faithfully turns to God for a way forward.
Being in loving solidarity with others requires that we learn to sit with them in their joys and sorrows. Embracing our Christian call to be conscientious global citizens requires that we engage with the tragedies of our world. Fostering an intimate relationship with Christ requires aligning ourselves with Jesus’ suffering and death, even as he is crucified among us today.
Ask for the grace of patient courage to sit with pain and suffering. Then, as Jeremiah did, boldly express yourself to our listening God.
—Aaron Pierre, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin province, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.