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Research Paper


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“Consider it pure joy whenever you go through any sort of trial. Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance. Let endurance come to its perfection so that you may be fully mature and lacking in nothing.” (Jam 1: 2-4). The Book of James speaks tough words that seem the opposite of our societal notions concerning suffering. At first, such a claim seems outrageous, not grounded in reality, and provides no real solace to those suffering. It leads one to question: why must human beings suffer, did not Jesus suffer once and for all? Humankind has asked such questions when it comes to the nature of suffering. The Hebrew nation guided by Yahweh formed the theological foundation for Christians to follow, but were unable to answer these questions. Theologians across the centuries have argued back and forth over the nature, value, and mystery of suffering. Modern theologians attempt to repress the very value of suffering. Similarly, American culture seems set on repressing all suffering and pain, whether psychological or physical. While some modern scientists cite the value of human suffering, others are far more seemingly on a quest to eradicate it. The historical Catholic perspective - yielding such devotions as the Mater Dolorosa, the Holy Wounds of Jesus, and the Sorrowful Mysteries - is no coincidence, for suffering is part of God’s plan for humanity. Only by looking at biological and theological models that seek to understand and value suffering can one see it as a God-given gift that leads to pure joy."

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