ONE FURTHER QUESTION obviously occurs to one's mind. If we ought to welcome the suffering which God sends us whether we like it or not, oughtn't we, perhaps, to be taking on extra mortifications on our own, deliberately making ourselves uncomfortable, so as to have more suffering to unite with his? Well, of course the saints have always done that, scourging themselves and wearing hair-shirts and so on And there are very good people who do that sort of thing, but I don't think it is to be encouraged for the ordinary run of Christians. It can make you proud, it can make you self-righteous, it can make you unsympathetic to other people. When I say that, I'm not referring of course to self-denial. Giving up sweets in Lent, I mean, is perfectly all right, as long as the doctor assures you that sweets are not absolutely necessary to your health. But I don't think we ought to spend our time trying to think up ways of positively making ourselves uncomfortable, by putting salt instead of sugar in our tea and so on. We ought to ask god to make us very holy people; and perhaps when he has done that he will let us know what greater sacrifices he wants us to make for him, under our confessor's advice. Meanwhile, it's best for us to stick to ordinary ways, and content ourselves with bearing, for his sake, the mortifications which come to us from his hands.
- Ronald A. Knox