Suffering is the necessary feeling of evil. If we don’t feel evil we stand antiseptically apart from it, numb. We can’t understand evil by thinking about it. The sin of much of our world is that we stand apart from pain; we buy our way out of the pain of being human.
Jesus did not numb himself or withhold from pain. Suffering is the necessary pain so that we know evil, so that we can name evil and confront it. Otherwise we somehow dance through this world and never really feel what is happening.
Brothers and sisters, the irony is not that God should feel so fiercely; it’s that his creatures feel so feebly. If there is nothing in your life to cry about, if there is nothing in your life to complain about, if there is nothing in your life to yell about, you must be out of touch. We must all feel and know the pain of humanity. The free space that God leads us into is to feel the full spectrum, from great exaltation and joy, to the pain of mourning and dying and suffering. It’s called the Paschal Mystery.
The totally free person is one who can feel all of it and not be afraid of any of it.
Fr Richard Rohr, from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 209, day 218