As a church, we need to reclaim the understanding that adversity can be redemptive and transforming. The so-called "prosperity gospel" promotes the false doctrine that if we just do everything right and believe correctly and think positively that our life will be smooth and successful:
And here's something else:
The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
I read a lot of Jean Vanier when I was in the convent. His understanding of what makes community work is unsurpassed.
When we begin to believe that there is greater joy in working with and for others, rather than just for ourselves, then our society will truly become a place of celebration.
-- Jean Vanier
This painting is of Gibran's mother standing in front of a relief that depicts a wounded lioness. He said this about it: "This is a portrait of my mother's soul. The soul is there, the simple majesty."