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Logos Journal

Logos Journal: The Meaning of Suffering

Posted by Liz Kelly, Managing Editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Center for Catholic Studies
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The topic has long preoccupied the heart of man: the meaning of human suffering. In this issue of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, philosopher Peter J. Colosi offers a thoughtful reflection on the work of John Paul II on the meaning of suffering as informed by the writings of phenomenologist, Max Scheler.
Colosi identifies an “inextricable link between suffering and love…almost like a mountain and a valley, such that if the suffering were to vanish, so necessarily would the love.” He draws heavily upon John Paul’s notion, taken from the apostolic letter, Salvifici doloris, that one of the primary purposes of suffering in the world is, paradoxically, to create an opportunity to “unleash love.”
He poses three foundational questions concerning suffering:
1. What is the origin of suffering?
2. What is the metaphysical status of suffering?
3. Given the reality of suffering, what is its inner meaning, how does it relate to the other aspects of our lives, and what should our response to it be?
The article concentrates primarily on John Paul’s response to the third question.
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