I confess I hate suffering with fierce passion and spend perhaps too much effort avoiding it. I know this is probably not holy but I don’t know any way out of it. Is hating and avoiding suffering a sin? Its selfishness yes, but at what point does selfishness become idolatry? Some words of encouragement would be welcome.
I think the right balance is that we do not seek suffering, but when we do suffer we unite our suffering with Christ’s and continue on in faith and not despair.
Another way to think about is never to avoid the Cross…we should welcome both joys and sufferings, BECAUSE they give us an opportunity to draw closer to Christ.
If we re always distancing ourselves…or preferring to distance ourselves from the Cross…we’re actually distancing ourselves from Christ.
Many saints because of their lively interior life developed a love for the Cross…but it was because of the close union with Christ.
No one likes suffering. Our Lord Himself said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” But He also said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”
It’s okay to take an aspirin, use air conditioning, have a wool scarf, etc. But we must not use this liberty as an excuse always to pamper ourselves. If we live lives of luxury, we run the risk of losing our souls. Neither must we go to the opposite extreme and kill ourselves with austerities, judging everyone else who does not. As said above, it’s a matter of balance.
Maybe part of the trick is to think less of ourselves. Concentrating on our own discomforts is a manifestation of pride, because it is self-focused. It may be a good idea to get in the habit of ignoring or offering up minor inconveniences, and perhaps moving on to less minor ones, keeping the balance mentioned above.
Actually I’d rather unite my suffering with an aspirin and get rid of it!:shrug:
Matthew 26:39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me …
This might give you some encouragement, peace and part of your answer. Why only part?
Well, this might give us inspiration (or pause) but to complete even this same verse we are
reminded that Jesus who seemed to have similar sentiments, continued on to say:
… yet, not as I will, but as you will."
I think that’s fine except that you might also consider uniting that aspirin with the suffering of others.
As a former Protestant, I have problems wrapping my head around “redemptive suffering.” Especially the tradition I was part of that said "if (you) are suffering then you have some kind of sin or you don’t have enough faith or something like that.
Well, Jews are likewise not much into redemptive suffering. But they do believe in trying to alleviate the suffering of others and not always focusing on one’s own suffering, as Catholics and Protestants believe.
Besides, you’re Catholic now!
Thanks for the reminder and maybe a little kick in the pants, too!:shrug: