Let's get back to that topic of suffering, shall we? My husband discovered a book entitled "Benedictus - Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI", put out by Ignatius Press and Magnificat. He reads each day's meditation when he gets up in the morning and I know that if it is sitting on my desk in the kitchen when I get up that I, too, should read it. One day last week there was an entry on the value of suffering. This one was actually easy to understand, it wasn't too lofty or written with too much of the "Pope speak" that I cannot usually understand. In it the Pope tells us that pain is a part of being human and that if we want to get rid of suffering, we must get rid of love since there can't be love without suffering. If you haven't guessed, I have a hard time seeing suffering for the blessing it really is. I don't think I am alone, as I can't really say that I have met anyone who seems to joyfully embrace suffering. The one person I can think of who came close was my grandmother, who had a plethora of health problems all her life, but never complained about any of them. Her response to "How are you, Grandma?" was always, "I can't complain." I obviously did not get that gene!
Since the Pope can speak much more eloquently than I can, I would like to quote the last half of his meditation on this topic, as it is full of wisdom.
"...Suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish...If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we then also understand why it is so important to learn how to suffer - and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life. He would be left with an existential emptiness, which could then only be combined with bitterness, with rejection, and no longer with any inner acceptance or progress toward maturity."
Now there is something to think about. How blessed we are to have a Church that can see the value of suffering.