In Praise of Pain

Source: District of Asia

Erasmus, the great humanist of the Renaissance, wrote "In Praise of Folly", which became immediately famous and still remains a part of classic literature. Since by handling paradox an author manages to make the principles of austere wisdom be read, it would be necessary for an author to write a Praise of Pain.

We do not measure enough what it would cost a person to feel no pain. The hand that approached the fire without feeling any damage would lead the whole body into the flames. Experience is necessary here, not just a warning without cost. Indeed, do we see sinners truly fearing hell before they have felt the sting of remorse and the painful and even tragic consequences of their misconduct?

If the painful sting of bees did not exist, no one could taste the sweetness of honey because defenceless hives would soon be raided, deserted, and empty. Without the sufferings of men and women, all lyrical poetry, all dramas, all tragedies, and all literature (classic, romantic, French, or foreign) would be gone.

Pain is useful for locating the source of a problem. Just look at the man on the operating table. He was completely anaesthetized. He could not signal that, by mistake, his right leg was being amputated instead of his left.

Yes, pains are useful, and it is not something new: Hippocrates, four centuries before Christ, noted that a great pain could make a person forget smaller ones.

But there is even more usefulness in the pain offered to God for the relief of other suffering people. This pain can indeed calm greater ones.

Abbé Philippe Sulmont | Curé de Domqueur † 2010