There is not a word in His teaching that can be strained into countenancing the idea that self inflicted suffering is a sign of, or conducive to, superlative holiness. Those who are most like Him are those who manifest His spirit in the home, in the family, in the busy mart, in the house of sorrow, in the social circle, rather than those who hide themselves in convents, where temptations of a different kind, though equally deadly, assault them.
The Christian life is a warfare. A life of seclusion is rather cowardly than commendable. It is as though some should hide themselves in a fort, leaving the dangerous and difficult work to others. Supposing that some who adopt this life are superlatively good, their light is hidden; their lives, if lived openly, might illumine society, and tend to purify it. The Saviour’s command was, “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
W. J. Wilkins, Paganism in the Papal Church (1901)