Alright, it's just occurred to my that my approach to Catholicism is almost all through analogy. Hmmmm... If you have patience and time for another one, here's how I explained Redemptive Suffering to a Baptist minister while in labor with our dead child. I could have included it in the Ru-486 post, as it was the same day, but I think it needs its own spot. Do me a favor and breathe deeply every 2 minutes as you read it...I was in labor, remember.
So, here's what the minister who was sent to me for pastoral care said and my response:
Him: We don't know why these things happen. We don't know what God's purpose is in them. They seem so senseless and there doesn't seem to be a point. All we can do is trust and hope that one day we understand.
Me: Of course there's a point, it's called Redemptive Suffering.
Him: I've heard the term, but it is not one which I am familiar or comfortable with. I can understand the longing for finding meaning in meaningless pain, but it's just not there. This world is pain. That's all the explanation there is.
Me: No, there is a point, want me to explain?
Him: (skeptically) GO ahead.
Me: Let's pretend for a second that I'm a sword maker. I'm sure that they have a name for those guys, but I don't know it, so pretend I'm one of those guys who makes swords. I would take a big lump of metal, I'm not sure what kind really, I'm only a pretend sword maker, and throw it into the fire. After a while, I would pull it out and beat the hell out of it, then I would throw it back into the fire. I would do this over and over again, the throwing it in and beating the hell out of it. After a while, I would cool it in a big bucket of water and then start polishing it and sharpening it until it was sharp and shiny and was a sword.
Well, it's kinda like that. God's making me into a sword and I just happen to be at the "beat the hell out of it stage". That's okay, because at the end, He will cool me off and polish me up and I will be sparkly and shiny and I will be a sword. And I'm a girl, so shiny and sparkly work for me.