Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s Holy Week Pause on Radio 2

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Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor apears on Radio 2’s Chris Evans breakfast show ‘Pause for Thought’ this morning, Wednesday 16 April.

Listen to and read his Holy Week Pause for Thought reflection below:

Full Text

There once lived a man called Primo Levi, an Italian Jew who was put in that terrible place, Auschwitz, a concentration camp.  He recounts how one day he was going crazy with thirst and he saw a beautiful icicle. He reached out to grab it and suck it but he was stopped by the guard.  So Primo Levi said, Why, why? And the guard replied, Here there is no ‘why’. Quite often during my life as a priest many people have said to me, Why,why has God allowed this suffering, this tragedy, this pain? I am sure, in your own life, there have been times when you have suffered, maybe a bereavement, maybe the pain of separation from someone, difficulties with one of your children – it could be anything. I have found in my life that often the way one suffers is precisely the way you would not want to, in a way you would not expect. When people ask me why do we have to suffer, there is no easy answer. I remember sitting by the bedside of a very good and noble man who was dying.  And he said to me, What’s going to happen to me when I die? I said, I can’t give you a full answer because in some ways it is a mystery. But what I can say is this: The greatest act of every Christian is ultimately an act of faith, of trust in God who knows us, who loves us, who has a purpose for us – and an eternal destiny.

During the next few days of this week which is called Holy Week, whether you believe fully or not, especially on Good Friday, you may think of the Cross on which Jesus died; think of the words that he said, not only, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But also his words, In to your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. That act of trust in God is something we might imitate so that whatever sufferings we have to endure, we too might be able to say, I trust in you my God, in your goodness and in your love and in your purpose for me. Into your hands I commend my spirit.


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