Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why is Suffering a Good Thing?

It's kind of a Catholic question.

We Catholics do seem to do "suffering" with a completely un-Modern approach.  We offer up the suffering.  We accept the suffering, rather than try to eliminate it entirely from our lives.

Why?

I confess (the non-Catholic kind) that I would have been stumped to give an answer.  I mean, I do it, because it was ingrained in me at a young age.

But, why suffer?

Here's why.
Why does hatred of suffering lead to decreased respect for human life? Because refusing to suffer is refusing the totality of living. It is a rejection of life itself.
If anything is certain in this life it is that we all will, at some point, experience suffering. Accidents will happen; people will let us down; our bodies will deteriorate; our loved ones will fade. Suffering is part of human existence and we should reduce or ease it where we can, but eliminating it completely is not within our power. In fact, very often the more we reject and try to avoid suffering, the more we encounter it; as our ability to forebear any difficulty becomes decreased, the smaller and more insignificant trials begin to seem huge and intolerable.
Go read the whole thing. 

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1 comment:

Francis W. Porretto said...

That's not an argument; at most it's a rationalization.

Suffering is not entirely avoidable, granted. But that's far from an argument that avoidable suffering shouldn't be avoided. Indeed, a Christian ethic of life commands us to alleviate others' suffering to as great a degree as possible; why, then, should we embrace our own, if an alternative exists?

Statements about "the totality of life" are usually a front for a deeper and less creditable motive: the desire to induce others to conform, not to their own desires, but to the desires of others. That's the "urge to rule," and no matter from where or whom it issues, I reject it root and branch!