“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”

THE CHRISTIAN IN THE FACE OF PAIN

Authors

  • Stuart P. Chalmers St.Mary’s and Diocese of Aberdeen

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.v3i1.3

Keywords:

pain, suffering, Christian, theodicy, chaplaincy, prayer

Abstract

A traditional approach to pain and the Christian is a theology of the cross. In this article I aim to re-examine this approach and to look at the dangers of short-circuiting its theology. The experience of pain will be considered in the light of the cross with the help of Psalm 22 and other scriptural texts. There are a number of stages or reactions on a Christian’s journey of suffering or way of the cross. I will adopt Adolphe Gesché’s framework as a starting point in analysing the process of attribution of religious meaning to suffering, revising it in the light of more recent writings and personal reflections. Thus the following framework will be offered as an interpretative key to the pain-filled “why?”: pro Deo (a plea on behalf of God), contra Deum (against God), ad Deum (an appeal to God) and cum Deo (with God).

Author Biography

Stuart P. Chalmers, St.Mary’s and Diocese of Aberdeen

Stuart Chalmers is Parish Priest at St.Mary’s, Stonehaven, R.C. Diocese of Aberdeen., part-time R.C. Chaplain to Kincardine Community Hospital, Stonehaven.

References

BROWN R.E. 1994, The Death of the Messiah, From Gethsemane to the Grave, Vol. II, Geoffrey Chapman: London.

DEPOOTERE K. 1990 You have Striven with God (Gen. 32:28): A Pastoral-Theological Reflection on the Image of God and Suffering”, in God and Human Suffering, Lambrecht J. and Collins R.F., Peeters Press: Louvain.

GESCHÉ A. Topiques de la question du mal in Revue Théologique de Louvain 17 (1986) 393-418.

KÜBLER-ROSS E. 1969 On Death and Dying, Routledge: London/ New York.

SELLING J. A. Moral Questioning and Human Suffering in God and Human Suffering, J. Lambrecht and R. F. Collins, Peeters Press: Louvain.

STINISSEN W. 1999, The Gift of Spiritual Direction: On Spiritual Guidance and Care of the Soul, Redemptorist Publications, USA.

VAN DER POEL C.J. Sharing the Journey: Spiritual Assessment and Pastoral Response to Persons with Incurable Illnesses, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, USA.

ZURHEIDE J.R. 1997 When Faith is Tested: Pastoral Responses to Suffering and Tragic Death, Fortress Press: Minneapolis, USA.

Published

2013-06-11

How to Cite

Chalmers, S. (2013). “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”: THE CHRISTIAN IN THE FACE OF PAIN. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 3–8. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.v3i1.3