GABRIEL'S CLARION (feb16gab.htm)
Ember Wednesday
February 16, 2005
vol 16, no. 47
Equation for Eternity

      That Equation is through subtraction of self, not by addition for the following is also true:
            Distort Suffering
            + Subtract Sin
            = Perdition

        "If Our Lord Who is perfect and innocent could accept suffering and pain as a sacrifice to obtain a productive good for others, who are we to argue that any suffering which comes our way is unjust, undeserved, or uninvited? To ignore suffering is to ignore Good Friday and Christ's saving sacrifice. To reject suffering is to reject that sacrifice and embrace, not the cross, but ourselves to the exclusion of that cross without which we cannot follow Christ."

        The math is tragically simple to compute and apply. If we distort suffering and subtract sin, we will purchase perdition. If the road to hell is wide and that to Heaven is narrow, it is because evil takes up much more space than virtue does and is far less efficient in its effect. The devil is certainly one of the most intelligent creatures ever created by God, and he knows that his is a desperate struggle with only one sure ending. Knowing that he will ultimately lose, however, does not prevent the evil one from snatching as many souls with him on the way down, and so his main weapons in this vile struggle are distorting suffering and subtracting sin.

    Turning Gain into Pain

        True Catholic doctrine tells us that suffering is a given in a fallen world. Reason dictates that it is therefore useless to attempt to avoid it and wasteful to question if one will be subjected to it. At first entry, however, the devil knows that uselessness and waste are good frustration points and therefore he does not mind if we go there. The longer he can get us to pathetically run away from sure suffering or quarrel its presence, the longer he can shift our focus away from God, from our sinfulness, from our need for redemption, and from our salvation itself. The child who must do his homework gains nothing by avoiding it or arguing with the teacher or parent about it. If anything, he only makes things worse by spending his energy on useless and wasteful pursuits instead of focusing on doing the work and getting something out of it.

        The New Order tells us that suffering is completely negative, unnecessary, unjust, and therefore unproductive. It tells us that suffering is painful and destructive to our happiness and therefore it can serve no purpose other than destroying our ability to find happiness. It then follows that if suffering serves no viable positive good, then it must be unnecessary and therefore wasteful and avoidable at all costs. If we are inherently good and suffering is inherently bad, therefore, inflicting suffering on us is unjust and leads us nowhere but down. If we see the purpose of our lives as being productive, of making a difference, then it follows according to the New Order that suffering defeats that purpose and prevents us from being what we can be and doing what we were meant to do. Once we accept this notion, three logical things follow. First, we will see suffering as an inherent evil to be avoided at all costs. Second, we will see anything which avoids suffering and pain as inherently good in all respects. Third, we will see anyone claiming any good in suffering as confused, dangerous, or worse. In a sense, the New Order delights in turning the gain of suffering into a pain only accepted by fools.

    Turning the Pain into Gain

        Divine Truth tells us that God alone is perfect, that we are variously imperfect, and that therefore our inherent imperfection can only lead to some degree of suffering. It is therefore imperative that we accept our imperfection and the suffering which will invariably accompany it and turn those lemons into lemonade in some way. St. Jane Frances de Chantal tells us that we should not ask if and when we will suffer but rather how we can make that suffering productive. Anyone seeking a life without suffering is seeking a life without the Christ Who suffered for all of us. Anyone arguing the he or she does not deserve some suffering will look pretty foolish standing next to the most innocent an unjustly treated Savior.

        If Our Lord Who is perfect and innocent could accept suffering and pain as a sacrifice to obtain a productive good for others, who are we to argue that any suffering which comes our way is unjust, undeserved, or uninvited? To ignore suffering is to ignore Good Friday and Christ's saving sacrifice. To reject suffering is to reject that sacrifice and embrace, not the cross, but ourselves to the exclusion of that cross without which we cannot follow Christ.

        St. Jane tells us that happiness is not found in finding but in losing. Our society tells us to find ourselves, find love, find a job, find possessions, and find connections on the path to success and happiness. St. Jane, however, tells us that happiness is found in losing ourselves, our sufferings, our worries, to God. To the extent that we approach God in humble trust and simply offer ourselves, our cares, our worries, our suffering to Him as a sacrifice from which He can make good, we are on the path to true happiness, contentment, peace, love, and success.

        The secret then, is not to run away from suffering but to embrace it as Christ embraced His cross. Our Lord did not embrace the cross because of the cross itself but because of what it represented, because of the purpose it was serving, in glorifying God and serving God's Will. Likewise, we are not asked to embrace suffering for suffering's sake, but for the connection it represents to the crucified Christ Who was crucified for our sake. We are not asked to embrace suffering because suffering itself is good, but because suffering can be made good by the purpose for which it is offered.

        The irony here is that the more we run from or ignore suffering, the more we will experience it with far less productive results. There is nothing more excruciating than facing suffering without Christ at one's side, and there is nothing more useless than grinding one's teeth in the dark of one's own obsession with self. The devil seeks to lure us precisely into the mentality toward suffering which will inflict us with the most pain from suffering, thus seemingly proving his point that suffering is pure evil. Common sense dictates, however, that whenever the source of all evil offers to dictate to us what is and what is not evil, we should question both his motives and his methods. Besides, does it not stand to reason that the source of all evil would always seek to guide us toward evil rather than ever away from it? We see, then, that only when we see suffering as the stuff from which salvation can be won will we move toward God. Suffering can be the material of salvation if taken constructively as well as the seed of perdition if taken destructively. It is up to us to decide which way we will vote on suffering!

    The Spin on Sin

        If we accept suffering as purely wrong, useless, and evil to be avoided, then we open the door to moral chaos clothed in temporal bliss. First of all, sin is about shifting our focus away from God and toward ourselves. All sin is basically a rejection of God as our guide and the acceptance of our own desires, wants, needs, and concerns as the sole determinant of our thoughts, words, and actions. The core of Catholic faith lies in the acceptance that God exists, that He can be known by His creatures, that He is all perfect apart from us and superior to us, that we are therefore imperfect and subject to Him, that we therefore need redemption to seek Him, that He reveals His decrees to us, that following those decrees allows us to seek Him and find His redemption, and that only by seeking Him and finding His redemption can we find eternal salvation with Him. Given the above formulation of Catholic faith, it stands to reason that any shift away from God and toward us will be a deviation from the Divine Law and Will which constitutes sin. This does not, of course, mean that feeding ourselves is sin because by doing so we focus on ourselves. Taking care of us and seeking good things is not sin if by doing so we do not contradict or violate God's Divine Law and Will. It is only when our focus on ourselves supersedes God that we sin. When the Gnostics, Pantheists, Monists, Kant, Luther and Calvin and others like them reject any notion of the above core Catholic faith, they are distorting or destroying the concept of sin so necessary for our redemption and subsequent salvation.

        If we see suffering as wrong to be avoided we are implying that we are capable of avoiding all suffering. If we see ourselves as capable of avoiding all suffering then we are implying that we have total autonomy over ourselves, that we are gods unto ourselves with no superior to be subject to or answer to. Once we see ourselves as gods who do not have to answer to anyone but ourselves we destroy the notions of a superior being, of that Superior Being having dictates to follow, and of our accountability to those dictates. Once we reach these lows, we have destroyed the concept of sin and with it the possibility of redemption and salvation. How can I sin if sin is deviating from a higher authority that does not exist? Conversely, how can I sin if I somehow believe in a God who is like a bullfighter waving His cape allowing all behaviors to be subjectively justified or mercifully embraced? This is the fraud sold by those clueless imbeciles who argue that God favors sodomy or abortion because He is a loving compassionate God. The only way for God to favor such things would be for Him to accept violations of His own Divine Precepts which would be tantamount to rejecting Himself…truly an absurdity of the highest order!

        Despite the foolishness of rejecting suffering and denying sin, this is precisely the path advocated by The New Order and its various forces. We are living in a society that demonizes suffering and glorifies pleasure, that rejects sin and embraces moral chaos, and peddles perdition while stifling salvation. God Almighty is rejected because He represents everything abhorrent to this New Order, from the value of suffering, the subservience to a perfect God, the need for redemption, and the existence of sin to the subjectivity to Divine Law and the Divine Will. It is clear that the distorted views of suffering and sin form the cornerstone of perdition on which this New Order is based.

    Conclusion

        Salvation is predicated upon acceptance and recognition of the value of suffering, of our imperfection and need for redemption, of sin and its consequences, and our need to humbly trust and seek God Almighty. Conversely, it stands to reason that perdition will be predicated upon the opposite of these things. It is this contrary view of suffering, redemption, sin, humility, trust, and the Holy Trinity which forms the basis of eternal damnation. We see that sin cannot exist in an environment which does not accept, recognize, and even embrace the gap that exists between an all-knowing, all-perfect God and His inferior creatures. Likewise, redemption cannot exist in an environment in which sin does not exist. Finally, salvation cannot exist where sin and redemption do not exist.

        In short, the basis of all sin is the obsession and absorption with self over the Creator, and the rejection of our necessary imperfection and consequent suffering. It is in this rejection that perdition is found. Conversely, it is in embracing the suffering of the cross and humbly approaching The Almighty and willing to suffer with Christ that our salvation is firmly planted in that same solid, sure Rock of redemption.

    Gabriel Garnica


    Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.


      Gabriel's Clarion
      February 16, 2005
      Volume 16, no. 47