Chapter 3: On the Two Meanings of Suffering

  • James V. SchallEmail author


Father James Schall takes readers on a far-reaching excursion into the meanings and purposes of suffering. He begins by discussing some important distinctions between suffering and evil, as well as between pain and injustice. Schall then draws our attention to the manner in which our learning is contingent upon our being affected by (or suffering) the world of events around us. By reflecting upon our nature as “beings who undergo and suffer many things,” Schall highlights the value of our suffering in relation to the cultivation of compassion, understanding, and courage. Finally, Schall book-ends his reflection on suffering with a thoughtful analysis of the ancient Socratic dictum that “it is better to suffer evil than to do it.”


  1. Leo the Great. Breviary. Second Reading, March 25. From Epistle 28 ad Flavanium, 3–4. See
  2. Plato. “Gorgias.” In Plato: The Collected Dialogues. Ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Bollingen Series LXXI. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  3. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New Revised Standard Version. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Roland E. Murphy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Los GatosUSA

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