I spoke the other week about a Third Way of contemplating suffering in the World. It can be easy to shut ourselves off from the outside world. But if we do this, we run the risk of ignoring the suffering of the world and cries of the poor.
I know I can go to either extreme. I stopped watching the British news during lockdown. I was frustrated by the rhetoric of politicians, who were pretending to be in control of the evolving crisis.
The problem with switching off the news is that it makes us ignorant of reality. Instead, I’ve tried to watch the news in Castilian Spanish, Catalan and German to keep me in the loop, but have noted at times that I even avoided doing that.
I know I can be very cynical about the media. Some outlets are attention stealing, sensationalist and try to spread disinformation. It’s important to highlight stories of individuals and groups that are spreading love, kindness and striving for peace and justice. But I don’t agree with the attitude that only “positive news” should be shown.
The challenge is to hold the two in tension. We need to be conscious of the Great Suffering in the world. It’s in this collective awareness, that we come to see those around the world as our sisters and brothers. We all have our crosses to carry and it is an awareness of global suffering that can move us to communion with others.
We can strive to make the world a better place, by reducing suffering and performing acts of justice and mercy for those around us.
HT to Rod for this idea.