Saturday, May 21, 2011

Suffering, pleasure, and meaning in life

Over the past week or two, I have discovered dozens of new blogs, mainly by other Catholic women, that I was previously unaware of. (The wonders of hyperlinks!) This has been a wonderful and also dangerous discovery. So much new inspiration and solidarity to be found, but likewise, so much more time time to spend on the internet. :-)

I came upon this quote on Kate Wicker's blog (which is wonderful, by the way!) and I thought it was very relevant to my recent pondering on discontentment and the search for fulfillment. I think often I get stuck in the trap of forgetting that fundamentally, life is not about being comfortable, superficially happy, or hopping from one pleasurable experience to the next. When it comes down to it, the goal of life is to become a saint, and realistically, that will entail much discomfort, suffering, and hardship.

Perhaps that is why this quote from the book How Big Is Your God?: The Freedom to Experience the Divine Seeing with God Eyes by Fr. Paul Coutinho, SJ spoke to me so powerfully:

“Life is not pleasurable. Any mature person, any person with common sense, will tell you that life is full of suffering. Birth is suffering. Death is suffering. Meeting people is suffering. Separating is suffering. Saying hello is suffering. Saying good-bye is suffering. Life is full of pain. Life does not owe us pleasure; it offers us meaning. Pleasure is a by-product of meaningful activity.”

In the end what we need to search for are the meanings of our lives; and those little epiphanies of meaning which very often, are wrapped up in messy, confusing, and ordinary packaging of the day-to-day.

1 comment:

  1. Wow -- I really like that quote! Such a good reminder that pleasure is not the goal of life, and oddly comforting! It reminds me of being in Lourdes and for the first time in my life being consoled by Our Lady's words to St. Bernadette: "I do not promise to make you happy in this life, but in the next."