Father Timothy Radcliffe OP argues that a spirituality of suffering should not seek to explain what the person is enduring. First we must be with them, as Mary and the beloved disciple were with Jesus on the cross. Our prayers, like the psalms, give voice to the anger and distress we may feel when in pain and so overthrow our feeling of isolation. The Christian life has the dynamism of a drama, which carries us beyond the tyranny of the present moment of suffering towards relief and healing. Thus we may be able to rest in the pain and discover God there. The sick and suffering offer us special gifts and hope.
Timothy Radcliffe OP was born in London in 1945. He joined the English Province of the Dominican Order in 1965, and was ordained a priest in 1971.
He studied at Blackfriars and at St John’s College, Oxford, and in Paris. From 1974-1976 he was a chaplain to the University of London before returning to Oxford, where he taught scripture and doctrine for twelve years.
Besides teaching and preaching, he was involved in the Peace movement and in ministry to people with AIDS. He was Prior of Oxford from 1982 – 88, when he was elected Provincial of the English Province. He was President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors.
In 1992 he was elected Master of the Order, finishing his term in 2001. He was Chancellor of the Angelicum University in Rome, S.Tomas in Manila, the École Biblique in Jerusalem and the Theology Faculty at Freiburg, Germany.
He is now an itinerant preacher and lecturer, based at Blackfriars, Oxford. He spends two thirds of the year travelling, and is a Trustee of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. He sits on the Theological Commission of Caritas Internationalis.