To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.
— Deepak Chopra

We should not be afraid of suffering. We should be afraid of only one thing, and that is not knowing how to deal with our suffering. Handling our suffering is an art.
— Thich Nhat Hahn

You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.
— Rumi

This multidimensional collection of true stories, poems, and essays explores the challenges, blessings, difficulties, and mysteries of suffering. It is part of an Orbis Book series; we have already recommended to you The Way of Kindness, The Way of Forgiveness, and The Way of Gratitude.

This wonderful amalgamation of material stirs the mind, body, and soul as it presents the different ways human beings deal with the pain, the emotions, and the lessons of loss, anguish, and dread.

We have been reviewing books by and edited by Michael Leach going way back to when he was president and publisher of the Crossroad/Continuum Publishing Group followed by his work as executive editor at Orbis Books and his present position as publisher emeritus of Orbis Books. Leach's Catholicism is a rich mix of devotion, social justce, humor, storytelling and everyday spirituality.

These qualities animate diverse meditations here by

  • James Martin on "Why Is There Suffering?"
  • Victor M. Parachin on "Changing Our Relationships to Pain"
  • Pico Iyer on "The Value of Suffering"
  • Dorothee Soelle on "God on the Gallows"
  • Thich Nhat Hanh on "Why We Shouldn't Be Afraid of Suffering
  • Ellen Bass's poem "The Thing Is"
  • Eckhart Tolle on "Spiritual Awakening and Intense Suffering"
  • Pema Chodron on "Transforming the Heart of Suffering"
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin on "The Meaning of Suffering"
  • Henri J. M. Nouwen on "Your Heart Will Be Broken, and Yet . . ."
  • Naomi Shihab Nye's poem "Jerusalem"
  • Joyce Rupp on "Compassion Is Stronger than Loathing"
  • Joseph Grizone on "The End of Suffering"

Interstitials, appropriately called "Sparks," provide a wonderful collection of short quotes about suffering.

Also lending their editorial gifts to The Way of Sufferinng are James T. Keane, Senior Editor at America, and Doris Goodnough, Permissions Coordinator at Orbis Books.