On Suffering

When it’s my time to go, this is the priest I prefer.

My mother is the unwilling president of the CCW at her hometown parish. Recently, she had to attend a dinner for a visiting priest. She was not impressed. Her own mother, my grandmother, was in the last weeks of her life. My mom could only take comfort in knowing that Grandma was not suffering, thanks to anti-anxiety medications and pain killers, and that when her hour came, she would go peacefully.

So Mom’s hackles went up when the visiting priest proclaimed that we “shouldn’t” give pain medications to the sick or the dying because “suffering is good for the soul.”

It is this kind of heartless, fundamental misunderstanding of the Lord they claim to follow that ultimately pushed my husband and me away from Catholic services and the priests that lead them. In this case, I think the priest has followed a confusing line of thought that goes something like this:

God is good, but people still suffer. We can find meaning in suffering by remembering that our Lord suffered as well. If remembering the Lord is good, then suffering is good. Therefore, we do good to others when we allow them to suffer.

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