PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, February 16, 2018

 

On sickness

Sickness is often seen in a negative light. It is blamed too much as the bad guy. But sickness can be viewed from an opposite angle.

In the spiritual realm, it can be viewed as having a lot of benefits. This is counter-intuitive, it is true, for after all, we are not made for sickness. We naturally want to avoid it at all cost, as we naturally avoid pain and suffering at all cost. It is a lot easier to view sickness as God's punishment because it seems more logical. When we get sick, a lot of us (maybe those of us who grew up with punishing parents) instinctively review what we have done prior to this 'karma' of illness.

But Catholic/Christian thought tells us that God is not a punisher; hell was created "as a contingency measure," to quote a theologian, meaning hell, and by extension earthly suffering, is not in the original plan of God.

It is us who punish ourselves for choosing actions that result in bad consequences. It is safe to assume that it is not enjoyable for God to see us fall ill and in pain.

But we all get sick anyway, and that is to say God allows it anyway, in his desire to give us freedom or for some other reason according to His ineffable wisdom. And it is at this point where we are driven to ask certain questions. If God is good, then why does He allow -- not cause, take note -- sickness? Could it be that sickness has benefits?

We are then driven to speculate on the answers. One of which is: Maybe it is His way of forcing us to take a breather and take stock of our life, to think of what is essential, like the reality of mortality and what goes beyond that. In short, maybe it is His way of trying to say, "Calm down, slow down, you are not God, you have physical limitations."

Sickness slaps us in the face with the truthiness of the cliche, "Health is wealth."

Sickness gives us life lessons we will never have a chance to learn in a state of physical wellness. Too bad the lessons are not free but painful to have.

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