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Let's hope that the day the West dies, it dies in a Christian way

"Come on, then, dear father, get on my shoulders, and I will carry you on my back and this burden will not weigh me down; no matter what happens, one and common will be the danger, for both one will be salvation"

These words (1) were said by Aeneas in Virgil's work while he was carrying his elderly father on his shoulders to free him from the fire that Troy was suffering, words that are not only authentically human because of their love for the dignity of the human person and respect for the old age but also symbolically reflect the portion of the Homeland that we carry on our backs wherever we go, taking with us our language, religion, culture and traditions.

Not in vain the Romans founded their cities tracing their axes and depositing in the center the ashes of their ancestors, today however the modern West finds itself in a situation diametrically opposed to that of the nascent West of antiquity, today on the contrary to the elderly not only forgets them in a corner but also proposes to them from a pragmatic-utilitarian vision to be the architects of their own annihilation.

As we all know, the cycle of life inevitably includes death, in most cases also old age, that old age that for those who know how to see has its beautiful facet, since it comes hand in hand with the understanding of finitude, the humility of knowing fragile, the simplicity of valuing the little things, the solidarity among those who suffer the same fate because they are also elderly, in the virtuous the amplification of the virtues that they have carried with them during their lives and in those who do not, many times the healing repentance .

In Eastern countries, even in those where disastrous authoritarian systems predominate, the elderly occupy a central spiritual role in the lives of their families. Let us take the case of China where in 2019 a law was created indicating that adults must attend the " spiritual needs” of their parents and grandparents and “never neglect or look down on older people”; entailing the right of the elderly to denounce their family if they feel not well cared for or even mistreated. In these cases, the denounced relatives could face fines or even jail.

The West, in contrast, has been promoting laws that threaten human dignity and the life of the two weakest extremes in human beings: babies and the elderly. Constant euphemisms in obituaries to avoid the word death, the culture of "carpe diem" and the culture of

Constant escapism through puerile amusements are examples of a population that lives as if said death did not exist and consequently as if there was no life after this, with its corresponding divine judgment.

All this, however, was not always so.

Already in 1224, in poor little San Francisco de Asís, far from using terms such as "the grim reaper", he chose to call death "sister bodily death" in his famous song of creatures (Canticum or Laudes Creaturarum) and going to a For a modern example, the words of Pope Benedict XVI, written in February 2022, a few months before his death, are significant:

''...Very soon I will appear before the final judge of my life. Although I may have many reasons for fear and fear when I look back on my long life, I am nevertheless happy because I firmly believe that the Lord is not only the just judge, but also the friend and brother who has already suffered my shortcomings himself. and for this reason, as a judge, he is also my lawyer (Paraclete).

In view of the hour of judgment, the grace of being a Christian becomes evident to me. Being a Christian gives me knowledge and, even more, friendship with the judge of my life and allows me to confidently cross the dark door of death. In this regard, I am constantly reminded of what John says at the beginning of the Apocalypse: he sees the Son of Man in all his greatness and falls at his feet as if dead. But the Lord, placing his right hand on him, tells him: «Do not be afraid: it is I...'' (cf. Ap 1,12-17 ). "

Words that remind us that life on earth is a militia as Job says and that it is a battle in which there can be no capitulation, therefore we can compare a sick person who, being able to end his life, chooses to take it to the end with that of a conscript soldier who, having been able to desert, chooses to go to the battlefield, the latter already has his great share of heroism for accepting physical combat in the same way that the former has his share of sanctity by accepting the cross of the disease.

In the case of most of us, simple sinners, illness when accepted constitutes in most cases the implicit approval that illness and death, although theologically they are the product of original sin, are also a discount for our own sins. Therefore, accepting illness and death implies knowing that one is imperfect and deserving of God's mercy.

On the other hand, in the case of the great saints, death was just a small jump, a small thread that was cut, since they already live with their eyes on the things of Heaven, including the desire to suffer if it is for the greater good.

In both cases, the Christian vision shows us the contradiction that Christ's own cross signifies, which, as the venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen explained, is a sign of contradiction since the way in which God sees things is not the way in which man sees them. world.

The contradiction of the cross is also exemplified in life situations where there is pain but there is also love, as happens in the pain of illness, often accompanied by the happiness of knowing that we are accompanied until the end, whether by other human beings or by the spiritual company of God himself.

Great Catholic mystics have left us in their private revelations, devotions that promise to be a guarantee to face the last moments in a privileged way, such as the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, in these devotions we see the continuity of understanding of death that is given through Christianity.

The Christian belief in God's mercy has surely been the relief of many people who have died alone in a pandemic, deprived of all human contact, a prohibition so inhumane that it is not even seen in war or in the application of capital punishment. . Even those sentenced to death for serious crimes die accompanied.

From all this it can be concluded that until the West turns its eyes to its Christian bases, it will only follow an ascending path in its affront to human nature itself and to God himself.

And if that West persists in calling euthanasia a "dignified death", it will completely forget that for Christianity.

There is no unworthy death, Christ accepting to die innocent on the cross changed everything: Dying from a long illness or dying from an absurd accident are not unworthy deaths, however persistently dying in mortal sin away from God forever is.

Let's hope that the day the West dies, it dies in a Christian way.

(1) Virgil, Aeneid, Book II, vv. 707-710

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