Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Purpose of Pain According to C.S. Lewis

One of the columns I enjoy reading in The Catholic Mirror is "In the Know with Fr. Joe." Fr. Joe answers reader's questions each month and usually has some interesting insights to offer. This month he was answering a question about prayer. I found his use of a quote by C.S. Lewis especially thought-provoking.

Fr. Joe wrote:

[God's] love is so deep and rich that it is pointed toward one thing and only one thing: Our eternal union with him in heaven . . . He even will, in his pure all-consuming love, allow us to experience temporary pain in anticipation of eternal joy. Check this out:

"The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed . . . But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good? The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

I know in my own life, God is working hard on shaping me and cutting away the bad, and the process is painful, and there are days I most definitely want it to stop, but I try to keep my eyes on the final prize - the goal of eternal happiness with God in heaven. That is the purpose of our life here on earth - to get there. And (unfortunately) suffering and pain definitely play a part in that process (due to sin, of course). God knows what He is doing. In the midst of the pain, I need to trust in the surgeon.

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