Friday, November 11, 2011

Beauty in the Suffering Caused by Love

Pope Benedict has said often that there can be no love without suffering. If one loves, one must suffer, be it, for example, the suffering caused by loss of the other or by having to come out of the safety of our shells, vulnerable to infidelity or injury done by the one we love or by love not being returned. If we did not love, none of these things would matter, but because we do love, or at least seek to love, instead of the joy we want, we get pain.
In the end, even the “yes” to love is a source of suffering, because love always requires expropriations of my “I,” in which I allow myself to be pruned and wounded. Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love. . . .

[Yet,] in all human suffering we are joined by One who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God's compassionate love — and so the star of hope rises. (Spe Salvi 38, 39)
To love is to suffer. But we are not alone in that suffering. Pope Benedict also says that there can be, paradoxically, a kind of beauty in the ugliness of that suffering, as Luciano Pavarotti demonstrates below. And because there can be beauty in the pain of love, there is again hope -- hope that it is not all pain, not all anguish, but that the suffering can be transcended and transformed.
In [marital] crises, in bearing the moment in which it seems that no more can be borne, new doors and a new beauty of love truly open. A beauty consisting of harmony alone is not true beauty. Something is missing, it becomes insufficient. True beauty also needs contrast. Darkness and light complement each other. Even a grape, in order to ripen, does not only need the sun but also the rain, not only the day but also the night. . . .

We must put up with and transcend this suffering. Only in this way is life enriched. I believe that the fact the Lord bears the stigmata for eternity has a symbolic value. As an expression of the atrocity of suffering and death, today the stigmata are seals of Christ's victory, of the full beauty of his victory and his love for us. We must accept, both as priests and as married persons, the need to put up with the crises of otherness, of the other, the crisis in which it seems that it is no longer possible to stay together.

Husbands and wives must learn to move ahead together, also for love of the children, and thus be newly acquainted with one another, love one another anew with a love far deeper and far truer. So it is that on a long journey, with its suffering, love truly matures. (Pope Benedict, Meeting with the priests of the Italian Diocese of Albano, August 31, 2006)
It is not only in "Per la gloria d'adorarvi" that Luciano Pavarotti makes the suffering born of love sound beautiful. There is also Pagliacci.

In this famous scene, Canio, who plays a clown in a traveling troupe of players, has just learned that his wife Nedda, whom he dearly loves, no longer loves him, if she ever did, but loves another instead. But despite his suffering, it is necessary to go on. The show goes on. The people want their laughs. Life goes on. Regardless of what has been said before about love, even with tears streaming down his face because his heart is tragically broken, even though his love is smashed on the rocks, life demands that he go and play the clown.

Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio, non so più quel che dico, e quel che faccio!
Eppur è d'uopo, sforzati!
Bah! Sei tu forse un uom? Tu se' Pagliaccio!

(Act! While in delirium, I no longer know what I say, or what I do!
And yet it's necessary... make an effort!
Bah! Are you not a man? You are a clown!)

Vesti la giubba, e la faccia infarina.
La gente paga, e rider vuole qua.
E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina,
ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà!
Tramuta in lazzi lo spasmo ed il pianto
in una smorfia il singhiozzo e 'l dolor, Ah!

(Put on your costume, powder your face.
The people pay to be here, and they want to laugh.
And if Harlequin shall steal your Columbina,
laugh, clown, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
your pain and sobbing into a funny face – Ah!)

Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto!
Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!

(Laugh, clown, at your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!)

1 comment:

Othello said...

Be careful in using Pagliacci as an example.

His anguish and jealousy leads Canio to an insane rage, while Tonio's resentment at Nedda spurning his advances by laughing at him leads to a desire for malicious revenge, both leading to death.