New Orbis book presents stories, poems and meditations on how suffering can lead to healing


The Way of Suffering: Readings for an Enlightened Life begins with a story from a young friend of mine, Therese Borchard, who writes:

“I had suffered a nervous breakdown. The suffering was unbearable. My husband rushed me to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“Fear consumed me.

“Until I saw Jesus.

“In the lobby was a 10½-foot-tall marble statue of Jesus, his arms extended toward those in desperate need of healing.

“The inscription, written in capital letters on the pedestal, read: ’Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

“I stood in front of Jesus for a while, tempted to touch his robe like the hemorrhaging woman who got her miracle in the Gospels of Mark and Luke.

“She had bled for 12 years, ‘had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and she was no better’ (Mark 5:26). Just by touching the hem of Jesus’ cloak, this ailing woman was healed of her disease, because her faith was so great.

“ ‘I believe, Jesus,’ I said to the statue, imagining myself touching the hem of Jesus’ real robe, ‘I believe.’

“And I wept at his feet.”

This moving experience of faith meeting fear is followed by more than 60 other true stories, poems, quotes and meditations on how suffering—mental, emotional, physical—can bring us to a turning point that leads to spiritual healing.

Contributors from many faith traditions include writers you may already trust, like Henri Nouwen, Anne Lamott, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dorothy Day, Richard Rohr, Joyce Rupp, Pope Francis and many others whom you will surely appreciate once you meet them in their stories.

Among the many short quotes sprinkled throughout the book, my favorites are from Jesus:

“In this world you shall have trials and tribulations, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Jesus showered compassion on everyone who suffered, and he promised that we, too, could do what he did: helping those who are in pain and even rising above our own sufferings (John 14:12).

The Way of Suffering: Readings for an Enlightened Life is the fourth in a series of books that include The Way of Gratitude, The Way of Kindness and The Way of Forgiveness.

You might want to read The Way of Suffering first because it begins at the very beginning, with our broken world.

As the late Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen sang:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

The Way of Suffering and its companion volumes encourage us to trust in God, be patient, forgiving, grateful and kind, to ourselves as well as to others.

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