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Pain Relief

I cannot recall where I read this, but I gave a quote to my Catechism class (RCIA) last night.


The worst invention man ever developed was aspirin.


This is not technically true, but the principle is profoundly true. A number of years ago, we started down this path (and are now fully entrenched in it) of seeking to avoid every difficulty at any cost. The "aspirin" (as a paradigm of pain avoidance) exemplifies for us the frame of mind where people want every discomfort to be eliminated by the quick popping of a pill (it is why people so quickly defend oral contraceptives and abortion pills). We have had it ingrained into our minds and hearts that science can always develop something that will "get rid" of suffering. No, we should not try to make others suffer; but it is a great good when we ourselves are willing to suffer for the sake of a greater good.


To the solid Catholic mind, getting rid of suffering will sound akin to getting rid of sanctification. I am not saying that you should toss out all your pain relievers, but I am saying it is a good spiritual discipline to ask yourself, "should I take this pain reliever?" Just because we can does not mean that we should. What about pausing and asking another question, like, "who might I offer up my suffering for?" People who insist on instantaneous elimination of every pain cannot ask this question; do not be like them.

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