Of Coercion and Suffering

Paula Adamick has a piece on coercion by the State, very a propos, for the power and intrusion of the government is waxing stronger than ever of late. Although the coercive dimension of public law is a necessary tool in any society, Saint Thomas teaches that it is only to be used for those things that are to the grave harm of others, without which society could not function (cf., ST, I-II, q. 96. a. 2).

Yet what we have now is a growing inversion of the law, used to promote, and even enforce, vice (homosexuality), corruption (pornographic sex-ed) and death (abortion and euthanasia).  What began as ‘personal choice’ is now enforced on others, and, as Ms. Adamick rightly concludes, this will not end well.  If you would like a more historical image, see my yesterday’s reference to the fate of Carthage.

In the midst of all of our internal troubles, the drums of war continue to beat, with the world gathering forces against Russia. Britain has now accused Putin of complicity in the nerve-poisoning of the former spy and his daughter, still in hospital fighting for their lives. And America has now imposed further sanctions.

Three nuclear armed powers rattling their sabres, each of them fraught with their own ‘internal troubles’, all perhaps looking for an excuse to look outward and beyond, which often, as past history is a guide, takes the form of war. And one that may well end all wars.

Yet Christ is King, of heaven and earth and all creation, and we should have this truth in mind as we approach the most solemn and sacred time of year, Passiontide, leading up to the Holy Triduum, the sacrifice of God Himself on Good Friday, and the triumphant Resurrection.  I just re-read Pope John Paul II’s magnificent and clear mediation on suffering, Salvifici Doloris, how God always turns even the worse of evils into good, on which I wrote a reflection a while back, and will revise and repost.

Today is the day that Saint Jean de Brebuef, along with his fellow Jesuit Gabriel Lalemant, was tortured to death in a manner so horrific it can scarcely be described in a field outside Midland, where three simple crosses now stand, near a stone altar, where we had Mass on our pilgrimage a couple of days ago.

In the midst of his agony, the great saint stood firm in faith and hope, praying for his fellow sufferers and his persecutors, as he prays for us and the land he evangelized, to this day. The great mystic and martyr shouted out to inspire his fellows, as they burned and slashed them with demonic fury, and I paraphrase from memory, ‘these sufferings last but for a brief time, but eternal glory, forever.’

Indeed. We must keep in mind that as bad as things seem, there is a Light greater than the darkness, and a Truth triumphant over lies.

Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.