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Affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character……

(pertaining to today’s second reading Romans 5:1-5)

My typical recipe for happiness is to avoid needless suffering. But most of us learn – despite the oddness of the idea -- that one reliable consequence of suffering is the strengthening of personal resources. Like stressing a muscle in order to tear it down and build it up stronger, the episodes of affliction in our lives carve deeper caverns of compassion, greater wellsprings of courage, and plain old endurance in our spirits.

Perhaps the best byproduct of suffering is that it demonstrates our character, for better or for worse. Want to know what you’re made of? Do something hard: run a marathon, go on a prolonged silent retreat, sign up for service to a population in need. You can also test your character in place: forgive someone who hurt you, deny yourself the pleasure of a retort under attack, give your full attention to a child. Pump some kindness daily. (Alice Camille)

What lessons has suffering taught you? How would you describe your character?

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