-Benedict XVI, Way of the Cross
Suffering is an ugly thing: contorted trembling limbs, bodily fluids leaking from every whichwhere (gross!), wan faces with dulled over eyes - unpleasant to look at, uncomfortable to be near, hideous to experience.
The euthanasia movement is firmly established within U.S. - it used to be that if you asked someone about euthanasia they would, hesitantly, say they were against. The inverse is now true, at least in the SF Bay Area.
If someone is in excruciating pain or suffering from a terminal illness or from an illness that would slowly and agonizingly rip their mind or body away from them, why don't we allow them to die with some modicum of dignity - quietly slipping away into the dusky eternity?
We're so overcome at the idea of suffering that we hand someone a loaded gun and sentimentally sniffle into our handkerchiefs about it being a merciful thing to do.
Where were you when I needed a ride to the doctor?
Where were you when I was hungry and couldn't cook for myself or find the energy to even order delivery?
Where were you when I was crying and scared as the test results came back?
Were you there?
To have real compassion is not to allow people to think that their lives are worthless. The way to do that is to be with them in the darkness as bearers of Christ's light. When we feel loved by others, we want to stay with them even though we are in pain.
The Passion is not something to remotely contemplate once a year as a Gloriously Sorrowful Thing that opened the Gates of Heaven and aren't we all turrible sinners and whatnot -- and then be done with it because - BAM! EASTER! Rejoicing for 50 days!
The Passion is a template to follow in our daily lives: the example of Christ, of the women, and of Simon (reluctant though he was). Do not let others be alone. Christ came to us and "...was made flesh precisely to be able to suffer with us and to be with us in our suffering." And we, like Him, are to go out to others and be with them in theirs.