Suffering is a great favor. Remember that everything soon comes to an end . . . and take courage. Think of how our gain is eternal.
-St. Teresa of Avila
It seems that in our modern day, and in our somewhat twisted sense of God and His goodness, we have allowed ourselves to be lulled by the songs of the siren…the songs of a cunning world that has become green with envy… a world gone mad with the hatred of what is good, a world that is hellbent and warped with the lies of the devil. It appears that not only has man grown accustomed to the secular world’s sense of what is right and what is wrong, but he has padded his nest with it as well, in other words, he has placed the fate of his family on the lies of the evil one.
Take suffering for instance. If in the course of our lives, we are called to suffer, we tend to look at it with a world view…. Not only that, but we also tend to adopt the woe is me mentality and feel that somehow because of who we are, or what we have accomplished on our own, that we deserve better from God, than this. We question God’s good motives… and we look at illness or suffering as a sort of punishment for something. We are also quick to blame God. How quickly we fall right into the snares of the world and look at our suffering without the grace of God’s mercy… without the grace of God’s embrace. Viewing our suffering this way is wrong. It separates us from feeling the love of the Lord. And it hurts us. All the way to the core. It’s damage goes all the way to the very soul of man.
Because without His Grace, we have no strength. Without God’s Grace, we lack the courage needed to face the demon on the hill. We are in essence denying ourselves the hope that can only come from God, then without that hope, our trust in the Lord begins to waiver… We become shaken and weakened by the blows, and we begin to allow ourselves to fall into the traps of doubt set by the evil one. We fall right into the lies of the very one who wants us to believe that we should be able to choose if we can live or we can die. I beg you, to please remember, there is no charity in the heart of the one who will lie us right out of our dignity to suffer and lie us out of the ability to earn graces for our eternal souls. There is no compassion in euthanized care, only death.
Dear brothers and sisters, I pray God may open your eyes and let you see what hidden treasures he bestows on us in the trials from which the world thinks only to flee. Shame turns into honor when we seek God’s glory. Present affliction become the source of heavenly glory. To those who suffer wounds in fighting his battles God opens his arms in loving, tender friendship. That is why he (Christ) tells us that if we want to join him, we shall travel the way he took.
–from a letter by Saint John of Avila
If tragedy befalls us and we are faced with a life that doesn’t turn out the way we want, suddenly, we want to change the rules. We want a way out. An easy way out of the pain and suffering. This humanistic way of thinking is probably the main lie that has grown and festered over the past fifty years or so, and it has become an all too popular way of approaching our suffering and our illnesses. Unfortunately, it goes against God’s rightful dominion over all things and leads many into the lie that promotes mercy killing or pushes the ‘right of man’ to end their life because they wish to avoid suffering. But, by allowing ourselves or our loved ones to follow this mindset, we are in fact removing God from our lives. Removing God from our very souls. We are denying God His Glory, and we are taking away any chance of God’s goodness and mercy to shine through the dark and pain of suffering. Which by the way, is often the fire that God allows so as to purify our souls before we die.
If we only knew the precious treasure hidden in infirmities, we would receive them with the same joy with which we receive the greatest benefits, and we would bear them without ever complaining or showing signs of weariness.
-St. Vincent de Paul
When we choose death we are told that we are being courageous, we are being manipulated into thinking that we are being kind and merciful… but we are not God, and by becoming partakers in these schemes that are all born from the culture of death, we are putting ourselves and our loved ones in grave danger of missing out on God’s mercy and in the end, we may wind up suffering an eternity of hell after death. Which by the way, will be much worse than anything we will face on earth.
‘Who of us can live with the consuming fire? Who of us can live with the everlasting flames?’ Isiah 33:14
This lie has come to be defined by many as mercy killing or dying with dignity, as if somehow wanting to abandon our crosses is being dignified. The devil is so clever that he has been able to promote the idea of suicide or assisted suicide as a dignified act. It has gotten so bad that many good people… even good Christian people, see nothing wrong with the idea of ending someone’s life if there is pain… if there is suffering.
It is ironic that so much of the Christian message is that we are called to pick up our crosses and follow Christ. That we are all called to bear suffering for the conversion of sinners….that we are to abandon ourselves to the Will of God. But then as soon as we face a tragic situation…one that involves immense pain and suffering…we abandon those very teachings. We make excuses and we jump ship. There is a perilous storm raging between what is good and what is evil. We cannot abandon God’s Will because it makes us feel uncomfortable.
‘And thou shalt be left stripped of thy inheritance, which I gave thee: and I will make thee serve thy enemies in a land which thou knowest not: because thou hast kindled a fire in my wrath, it shall burn for ever. Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.’ Jeremiah 17:4-5
How many times do we hear of a person being referred to as being a vegetable…or that ‘so and so’ is in a vegetative state…or that their quality of life is so diminished that we should not even afford them the necessary food and water they require as minimal true compassionate care. Really! Have we fallen so far that we actual believe living breathing humans are the same as vegetables?! We should never allow ourselves to use these terms when referring to those with brain damage or disability…it is very dehumanizing to our brothers and sisters in pain. By the way, starvation is an agonizing means of achieving death. Death by dehydration is even worse. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But of course, now a days, many hospice centers are just covert death mills…with a steady drip of morphine to ‘alleviate the pain‘… Many of these centers are operating under the guise of compassionate care, and they are more than willing to make your death a reality…whether you want to die or not….
“Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep appreciation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”
-from the writings of Saint Rose of Lima
As Christians, as Catholics, we must pray to stop this mentality among our families. So many people say they would want to die instead of lingering on in pain, but the reality of it is, that most people just don’t want to be a burden. This lie has been drilled into our heads by clever conductors. We have been told that by being incapacitated in some way that would require our families to take care of us, would mean that we have become a burden. We have been told that we should spare our families the troubles… There is no charity in that. There is no love in that. Ultimately, there is no God in that. We have been deceived into thinking that we should just end it all… without the benefit of redemptive suffering. Without the benefit of the unimaginable graces that God has for all of us who offer our suffering to Him…
We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.
-Saint Vincent de Paul
The bottom line to all of this, is the taking away of life… the taking away of the trust that we owe to God. Even if we are faced with a way of life that would have us bedridden…in need of constant care…we…as humans…don’t have the right to take away what is only for God to decide. Regardless of man’s laws…we do not have the right to take away life. Period.
At a time in our lives when we should be praying to God for guidance, while clinging to our sufferings as a means to save us… as a means of sanctification… most of us lose hope. Most of us forget the bigger picture. Most of us just want an easy out. But their is no easy out, end of life decisions are a painful truth that we all will face. But by compromising our morality we stand to lose so much more. It is a difficult journey. One we will not be able to take alone. It is a journey that can only be trod with the hand of God to guide us… We must pray and unite our wills to the Lord. And we must endure and know that God will never leave us on our own. We must not allow our hearts to be manipulated by the lies of the evil one who knows that there is much to be lost… Blessings that would otherwise be gained, by the Christian faithful, if only they would accept their sufferings… their burdens and their crosses … with humility…with charity and with grace.