WHY O LORD
Author CARLO CARRETTO
None of Carlo Carretto’s books are long. Maybe a hundred pages or so. Always, they are packed with substance. They remain available second hand and some new copies are still available. He was very much ‘flavour of the month,’ especially in Roman Catholic circles, back in the 1970’s and 80’s. Understandably so, he always has something worthwhile to say. He was involved in the Roman Catholic youth movement in Italy, he then withdrew to North Africa (and other places) becoming attached to the Little Brothers of Jesus, a small order started by Charles De Foucault. An order devoted to prayer and contemplation and work among the poor of the community. Although a Roman Catholic from first to last, scarcely is there anything in his books that speak of Mary as Queen of heaven and he is never afraid to castigate Roman Catholicism in those matters he sees as denying the Lord Jesus in the things He taught. This particular book is an attempt to write on the inner meaning of suffering and all the more powerful because he was no stranger to apparently meaningless suffering himself and worked among the suffering. To Carretto the secret of suffering can be found in the fact that God is the crucified God. God is beautiful and immense, He is in the memory of the world, He is near, never far from His creation, utterly involved and never more so than in the suffering and death of the Cross of Calvary. Carretto writes in a staccato kind of way, some of his sentences are riveting. He says what he means and means what he says. This is no theoretician, no scholastic theologian but a man wrestling with the most serious question that human beings have ever to consider. He is certain that suffering is sent by God, he does not discount the devil, the enemies, but is sure that no one can know God without suffering. The pursuit of pleasure, the settled apparent contentment evident in one third of the world’s population must be broken into by suffering, all must taste suffering in some form or other in order to ‘get real’ and know God. This is the kind of book to have on your shelf and return to from time to time, a chapter here, a chapter there, he feeds where few have fed, at pastures that appear like desert but he finds a rich store of truth for the soul there and shares it liberally with those who will take time to read. A book to make us stop grumbling and complaining and shock us into some measure of the reality of what it means to be a Christian.