Our culture loves comfort. It’s not a secret. We love drive-thrus, and air conditioning, and convenience. But we don’t just love comfort, we’re obsessed with it to the point that we decided blankets aren’t quite comfortable enough and we had to invent the Snuggie.
And this love affair with comfort carries over into our spiritual life. We don’t want to talk about the Cross. It makes us uncomfortable. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want therapeutic Christianity. But that’s not what Christ is offering us.
I hate being sick. I am the world’s biggest whiner even when all I have is a cold. So, you can imagine how fun I am to live with when I’m pregnant and experiencing months of morning sickness—can’t-keep-water-down and can’t-get out-of-bed morning sickness. I hate being uncomfortable. I hate struggling through those weeks.
I was chatting about NFP and pregnancy with a fellow morning sickness sufferer, Dwija, recently. I asked her how her struggles with morning sickness affected how she viewed NFP and spacing pregnancy. To be honest, I was expecting her to talk about how hard pregnancy sickness is and looking forward to commiserating together (I love a good opportunity to complain about being uncomfortable) but that’s not what I got. Dwija said something completely different. She shared some wisdom from Pope Benedict XVI: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
And that quote hit me right between the eyes. And if we’re blessed with a future pregnancy, I want those words framed above my toilet so that every time I’m sick I can remember the truth of it and try to hold it in my heart. That God would be using me to knit together a new little soul. Another little heart for Him to dwell in and be his throne.
He offers us a chance to participate in his work, and the work He desires to do in us is not comfortable, but it is great.
I think about Pope Benedict’s quote almost every day. When I’m tired from all the night feedings–you were not made for comfort. When I’m caring for sick little ones–you were not made for comfort. When the daily tasks of motherhood leave me mentally and physically exhausted–you were not made for comfort.
I think about the great and uncomfortable work I have been given to do– nourishing the bodies and minds of my children, participating as a co-creator of life, learning to love my family, learning to love my Lord. I think about the discomfort of being honest with myself, learning to examine my heart and really see my sin instead of lying to myself about it. It’s all so terribly uncomfortable, because it requires me to sacrifice my own desires. It’s painful. But this is why God made me. So that I could decrease and Christ in me could increase. So that I could discover who I really am.
God has created each of us for greatness in a special way—not success, not comfort, but greatness. And what He sees as greatness will likely be painful and uncomfortable. But it isn’t false or superficial. It isn’t what the world offers us.
And Christ models it for us: his Love for us is great, which is why He has suffered so. In his Incarnation, he took on all the discomfort of humanity so that we could know him intimately and walk beside Him. In his Passion, He suffered unbearable agony to pay our debts. In the Blessed Sacrament, He reveals himself again and again so that He can nourish us with his grace. Sorrow and Love.
Christ warns us that we will suffer. I try to avoid discomfort at all costs, so you can only imagine how much real suffering frightens me. But He also says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I don’t pretend to really understand that, but sometimes I wonder if we leave our obsession with comfort behind and say “let it be to me according to your will” if we will find his yoke to be light because He carries it for us.