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Christian vs. Pagan Suffering

The great difference between a Christian and a pagan in suffering is that for the Christian all suffering is from outside; that is, it is a trial permitted by God for self-purification and sanctification. For the pagan, suffering is on the inside; it is in his soul, in his mind, in his consciousness, in his unconsciousness; it is so much a part of him that it is a hell, though that hell often goes by the name of “anxiety” or “frustration.” The Christian receives suffering, he even speaks of it as coming from the hands of the Crucified; the pagan creates suffering. Because he cannont see its place in the universe, because it negates his egotism, and becaue it cancels his love of pleasure, he begets an inferno within himself. The crosses from the outside are bearable; the double-crosses inside are insoluble. In the latter case, even where there is a nominal belief in God, the sufferer will unconsciously betray his egotism with the query: “Why does God do this to me?”

Three To Get Married by Fulton Sheen, pp. 276-277

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