TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
THE EUCHARIST AND SUFFERING.
"The day before He suffered, Jesus took bread.'— Canon of the Mass.
YOU suffer, O Christian soul! Suppose for a moment that the religion of Jesus Christ has not flashed its torch before your eyes. Here is before you a cruel enigma, of which the solution will always escape you — suffering. Man suffers! Why does he suffer? Why, this creature of a day, is he the plaything of pain ? " Why doth evil put forth its power against a leaf that is carried away with the wind, and why pursueth it a dry straw? Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.
Who cometh forth like a flower, and is destroyed, and fleeth as a shadow; who is soon consumed as rottenness, and as a garment that is moth-eaten." (Job xiii. and xiv.) In this admirable description, the holy man Job does not exaggerate the bitter conditions of human existence. But why does God impose them upon man?
The infidel has no reply, or, rather, he answers by despair and blasphemy. Religion alone does not keep silence. It neither despairs nor blasphemes. It first explains suffering to us. It then teaches us how to suffer well.