The way of the cross is often misunderstood as masochistic, especially in an age so desperately in search of pleasure. But the suffering of which Jesus spoke is not the suffering that unwell people create for themselves. Instead, it is the suffering already present in the world, which we can either identify with or ignore. If pain were not real, if it were not the lot of so many, the way of the cross would be pathological. But in our world — with its millions of hungry, homeless, and hopeless people — it is pathological to live as if pain did not exist. The way of the cross means allowing that pain to carve one’s life into a channel through which the healing stream of the spirit can flow to a world in need.
— Parker J. Palmer, The Promise of Paradox