I’ve been thinking about suffering. In general, I’m agin it. I try hard not to cause any suffering by my behavior, not to support companies that cause suffering, and when possible to alleviate suffering.

Partygirl, who is Catholic, says that she was taught to offer all suffering up to God. And in the class that we attend, we were told that suffering is intended to train us. It makes us a better person. It allows us to show, by our reaction to it, how good God is.

There are a number of possible reactions to this.

One is revulsion at the idea of a God who wants suffering offered up to him. How many steps is that from a god who glories in the still-beating heart of a human sacrifice?

Another is to see this as akin to exercise.We expect and rather enjoy sore muscles from physical exercise, since they show that we are increasing our physical fitness. Why not value sufferings that lead us toward spiritual fitness?

Most of us can look back and see that the difficulties of our lives have improved us. We might still prefer not to have gone through