“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
THE CHRISTIAN IN THE FACE OF PAIN
Keywords:pain, suffering, Christian, theodicy, chaplaincy, prayer
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).
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