Resolving a Problem One of


Resolving a Problem

One of the wonderful things about being in a community like St. Blogs is that there are so many generous, thoughtful, and tremendously helpful people who will come to your aid to work out a problem. We see this time and again in a great many blogs. Last evening, Therese came to my aid with the following answer to a question:

I think it upholds the right of self defense while pointing to a better way. He argues that one can give oneself out of great love for the salvation of the other. Yet, such an offering cannot be given out of lack of love for life or for oneself -- ie. suicidal notions). One gives one's life, as sacrifice, not be cause it is worthless but because it is infinitely precious as Gift of God. All the sacrifices of the Old Testament were of things that were precious to the owners. Jesus was most precious to the Father. One gives all that one has a spirit of union with the generosity of the Incarnation and Cross.

Thank you. That confirms how I also read it. And it resolves a tremendously difficult issue for me--even though I understand this is not infallible teaching.

You probably are aware that I have been asking whether one can be a pacifist and a good Catholic. The answer seemed to be no, because a Good Catholic acknowledges the validity of Just War teaching. It would seem impossible to acknowledge both. But once again led by intuition rather than logic, I concluded that it must in some way be possible. And this passage suggests that a Christ-like nonresistance on a personal basis is not only permissible but commendable, perhaps even righteous. Thus, while Christ allowed from his disciples and apostles to defend themselves, He himself provided no defense, in fact no resistance to his captors at all. There is a group of Mennonites who emphasize this approach to all questions of aggression, not merely not engaging in the aggressive behavior, but putting up no resistance to it at all.

The key here is that it must be following the promptings of God, and it must be an individual willing to do so and teach by example, not an evangelism of words. In other words, one must acknowledge Catholic Doctrine as the minimal standard of personal behavior. You may defend yourself. However, you may, equally, led by God, offer no resistance whatsoever to your aggressor. What you may NOT do is to tell everyone that this nonresistance is incumbent on them all in their role as Christians. Thus , the "flaw" in the Mennonite teaching is not that they may not offer themselves up, but that they preach this is necessary for all.

What this means, ultimately, I don't know, but it has helped yet another very difficult piece or block of the puzzle to slide into place for me. I can at least now pray for the strength and the temperament to be allow this grace of sacrifice IF it is God's will. Boy, is that a scary thought, and yet wonderfully liberating and freeing. So I may say to others, "Yes, it is possible that a war may be just and those fighting it are engaged in a just cause; however, it is equally possible (can't speak to probability) to offer oneself completely that God's will be done.

Don't know why this didn't just come one like a light bulb--but those of us who are sometime scrupulous need additional encouragement. Just think of us as God's "problem children" and offer up extra prayers.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 23, 2003 8:10 AM.

Prayers needed In addition to was the previous entry in this blog.

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