Hurricanes, Pot and Claver’s Charity

The inchoate and fevered brain of Jennifer Lawrence, the over-feted Hunger Games and X-Men actress, is partly right, that horrific hurricane Irma, now the size of France, moving across the Atlantic like some primitive behemoth, is a punishment of sorts.  Ms. Lawrence thinks she  is Mother Nature’s revenge on Trump supporters (and by ‘she’, I mean the hurricane, but the irony is palpable).  I wonder though, for Mother Nature seems to be taking her vengeance on a lot of Democrats and any number of others not-so-supportive of President Trump, including Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the ‘Virgin’ empire, who hid out in the wine cellar of his estate on his private Pacific island.  That’s likely where I’d hide out too, if I had a wine cellar, especially with the vintages he has likely collected.  Hmm.

But back to Jennifer, whom I would recommend read what Pope John Paul II taught on suffering, that every punishment, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, plagues and such, are indeed a punishment for sin, permitted and meted out by God, who is the Lord of earth and sky and everything in-between. We cannot trace back such punishments to individual sins, of course, (and I doubt voting for Trump counts, but certainly the abortions in America, rights for which Ms. Lawrence is in full support, do); but from the Flood onwards, we know that divine providence is ‘concrete and immediate’, from which nothing can escape. And every punishment of God is a means to bring out even greater good, usually spiritual, to lead us away from sin, and towards eternity.  The form of this world is passing away, as we are now seeing ever more clearly.

Speaking of escapism, Canada is soon (next July) to legalize cannabis, commonly referred to as ‘pot’ or ‘weed’ and, yes, you guessed it, there will now be another whole layer of bureaucracy in charge of selling the stuff at ‘select’ LCBO’s. So you can pick up your mickey of tequila and pack o’ joints all in one convenient location, taxed mightily of course, mediated by an overpaid government employee, who is in turn overseen by a group of invisible government employees, with yet more police officers to ensure there are no ‘illegal’ establishments selling the demon-weed, which will keep the hoi polloi even more zombie-like and compliant than they already are.

Whatever its euphoric and debatable medicinal qualities, marijuana (more specifically, its active ingredient, delta-9 THC) is a toxic substance, causing neural damage, sperm malfunction (as if we need more of that), and, at the spiritual level, enervation (that is, weakness) of the will, an apathy that will only further diminish whatever virile qualities Canadians once had.  Ah, we have traversed of late from a land of hardy lumberjacks and pioneers, to ‘whatever’-dudes, stoned, drunk, riddled with sin and its consequent unresolved guilt and increasing rates of venereal disease (more difficult to treat as the bacilli and viruses become resistant), lost in a cheech-and-chong hazy fog.

Of course, not all will succumb to such despair, and we must have hope. Today we honour Saint Peter Claver (+Sept. 8, 1654), who lived back in the good old days when they knew not pot.  Father Peter was a Jesuit priest and a native of Spain, but who spent most of his life as a missionary in what is now Colombia, ministering with what means he could to the untold numbers of slaves brought over from Africa in conditions almost too horrible and inhuman to describe.  It is a sad testament that all-too many Christians supported the slave trade (as did many other religions, not least the Muslims), but it was also primarily the Catholic Church, and figures like Saint Peter Claver, who worked tirelessly to abolish this abominable practice. (Sadly, it seems that slavery is still alive and well, especially in the Islamic world; see the article today by Robert Fulford in the National Post.)

Besides his corporal works of mercy, which he continued without stint for forty years, it is estimated that the Jesuit missionary personally baptized over 300,000 people. We know not how many souls he led to heaven, and how many he continues to do so by his example and intercession. God is always looking for a few good men, who can do far more good than any number of not-so-good men can do evil.  So do the good that we must do, and we may well be surprised at how much fruit He can produce, even with our meagre efforts.

Saint Peter Claver, ora pro nobis.