I am not a fan of discomfort.
I enjoy my daily comforts greatly. Whether it's the luxury of AC or the glass of whiskey Friday night.
I'm a firm believer that the world wouldn't have so many good things in it if they weren't meant to be used in moderation and with restraint.
But there is something to be said for what we Catholics call "offering it up," mortification and redemptive suffering. Let me explain.
So when I say mortification or offering it up I'm referring to the practice of something bad happens and you 'offer up' that discomfort or pain to God as an offering. You're saying "Lord this is unpleasant/painful right now but I want to take my little suffering and unite it with yours on the Cross."
And mortification, unlike what certain movies like the Da Vinci Code (which is an awful, no good, very bad movie that is completely inaccurate) claim it is not beating oneself or cutting oneself or wrapping yourself in barbed wire.
It is simpler than that. It can be something like not using butter in the morning or forbidding yourself from using extra salt. The point is you offer something that would be pleasurable for you to the Lord.
Then there is great suffering and that is truly redemptive. Two examples of this stand out prominently to me: St. Maximilian Kolbe and Pope St. John Paul II.
Kolbe was one of many held in the Nazi concentration camps. One day a prisoner escaped. In retaliation for that one prisoner's actions, the Nazi's rounded up a number of prisoners to be be starved to death. One of those men cried out that he had a family and in response Kolbe volunteered. When the guards asked him who he was that he would do this for a stranger his only reply was:
"I am a priest."
Kolbe and several other prisoners were starved for days and while trapped in the dark he led them in prayer and song to Our Lady. Finally, tired of waiting the Nazis injected Kolbe with a lethal dose of carbolic acid.
He died and according to the world he died pointlessly, but his suffering was offered up for love of a fellow human being in a special way.
Then we come to John Paul II. While not a martyr like Kolbe, JPII's final years were marked by suffering and Parkinson's Disease.
In a world of euthanasia and so-called death with dignity, JPII offered the greatest possible example of how to both live with pain by offering it up as if he were another Christ and how to die with true dignity.
Their suffering was redemptive, it was a prayer, a cry to God in the most heartbreaking tone imaginable for each and everyone of us.
Would that we could all offer up at least a little discomfort for the sake of others.
Consider turning the music off in the car, maybe don't treat yourself to that extra ice cream. When that awful, horrible, no good, very bad driver cuts you off, offer it up and pray for them.
Every day something happens that we are unhappy about, offer it up. Use it and let yourself draw close to God in your suffering.