Pain establishes a certain equality between all those who suffer, which is to establish it between all men, for all suffer: by pleasure we are separated, by pain united in fraternal bonds. Pain removes the superfluous, and gives us what we want, and establishes a most perfect equilibrium in man: the proud man does not suffer without losing some of his pride, nor the ambitious man some of his ambition, nor the passionate man some of his anger, nor the impure man some of his impurity. Pain is sovereign in extinguishing the fires of the passions. At the same time that it removes what injures us, it gives us what ennobles us—the hard-hearted do not suffer without feeling themselves more inclined to compassion, nor the disdainful without feeling more humble, nor the voluptuous without feeling more chaste. The violent become tamed, the weak fortified. No one comes out of that furnace of pain worse than he entered: the greater number come out with sublime virtues they knew not of. One goes in impious, and comes out religious; another avaricious, and comes out an almsgiver; another without ever having wept, and comes out with the gift of tears; another heart-hardened, and comes out merciful. In pain there is something fortifying, manly, and profound, which is the origin of all heroism and of all greatness; no one has felt its mysterious contact without improving: the child acquires by pain the vitality of youth, youth the maturity and gravity of men, men the bravery of heroes, heroes the sanctity of saints.
~ Donoso Cortes