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(LifeSiteNews) — In the previous pieces, we have been considering how to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of the COVID narrative and possible future advances of global tyranny.
This is especially important at this time, given the return of noises about “new variants” (this time the “Pirola” variant) and future vaccine mandates.
To help prepare ourselves for the darkness that may lie ahead, we have been considering Aleksandr Solzehnitsyn’s advice for those who fall into the Gulag apparatus – including his hard words on how they should consider their loved ones:
For me, those I love have died; and for them, I have died.
These are really hard words. They apply not only to those already in prison camps, but even for to the early stages before conviction and sentencing.
This is when tyrannical forces can do their best to leverage victims into making false confessions, denouncing or betraying others, committing grotesque immorality or doing other things that soil a man’s conscience.
In this piece I want to address a real, legitimate fear about refusing to comply with tyranny.
The greatest fear
Those who have families and children are vulnerable in a particular way to the predations of tyrants.
Our duties to protect, provide and to be present for our families are powerful motivations to compromise and to comply with tyranny.
These duties exclude any cheap braggadocio about suffering and dying for what is right, and they can make it hard to know where we should draw our lines. Many family men living under tyranny, such as St. Thomas More (and mothers such as Margaret Clitheroe), have had to navigate these same questions.
Here are some worries we could present to ourselves, when faced with a truly tyrannical demand, harmful to our nations, our freedom, our consciences, and the Faith:
If I do not comply, then perhaps they will prevent us from buying food, and perhaps I will have to watch my family starve.
If I do not comply, then perhaps I will lose my job and be unable to pay the mortgage. Perhaps I will have to watch my family starve and be homeless.
If I do not comply, then perhaps I will go to prison, and my family will be vulnerable. How will I fulfill my duties to educate and raise them? What will my spouse do without my help?
If my spouse and I both go to prison, then perhaps the children will be taken, and could be harmed in various ways. Or perhaps if they leave us “at liberty,” they could split up the family in other ways leading to the same consequences.
Perhaps without a father or mother present, the children will lose the Faith, or will be assimilated into the amorphous revolutionary mass, and will wind up in Hell.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Yes, perhaps – but also, perhaps not.
But these are real fears based on realistic possibilities. They could be incentives to start mitigating them immediately – like trying to live without a mortgage, if possible.
But what else shall we make of these worries?
The one thing necessary
Let’s find the time and space, in quiet, to think clearly, and ask ourselves these questions.
Imagine, in the face of some hypothetical, intolerable tyrannical command, that you knew that your family would be okay, and that you knew that they would be looked after. What then would you do?
And imagine if you also knew that they would keep the Faith and ultimately be saved, whatever happens in the interim. What then would you do?
Imagine if you knew that you would not be broken, or at least that you would be given the grace to return and persevere in the end. What then would you do?
And imagine if you had the guarantee that all these things would be fine, and that your loved ones would be looked after in every respect.
What then would you do in the face of wicked, tyrannical commands?
You know what you would do.
You would not comply.
None of us would, if we had such guarantees – and we know it.
This imaginative exercise is a way of discounting the distractions, cutting away the layers of fear and getting to the heart of what we really think.
We know that we should not comply with certain things. And once we have seen that, I don’t think we can un-see it.
Do we have such guarantees that all will be well? No, we don’t. But discovering what we really think, and what we know we should do, will allow us to think clearly in making difficult decisions.
But having discovered what we think, how should we act?
Perseverance and the imitation of Christ
In the classic work, the Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis presents an example which has fresh relevance to all of us, whether we have children or not:
One day when a certain man who wavered often and anxiously between hope and fear was struck with sadness, he knelt in humble prayer before the altar of a church. While meditating on these things, he said: ‘Oh if I but knew whether I should persevere to the end!’ Instantly he heard within the divine answer: ‘If you knew this, what would you do? Do now what you would do then, and you will be quite secure.’
Immediately consoled and comforted, he resigned himself to the divine will and the anxious uncertainty ceased. His curiosity no longer sought to know what the future held for him, and he tried instead to find the perfect, the acceptable will of God in the beginning and end of every good work. Book 1.25 (Emphasis added)
What does this mean for us, as we prepare to hold our breath as the tsunami breaks upon us?
Anxiety about our own strength, and anxiety about our families are two different examples of one thing: fear about the future.
What the Imitation tells us to do is to stop worrying about the ends and to focus on the means. We must focus on what is truly important and necessary for us to do – and do it, trusting the future to God’s hands. A man does not get to his destination by endlessly worrying about the distance, but rather by putting one foot in front of another, and trusting that each step will get him to where he needs to be.
Acting as if we trust God could be a powerful way to actually come to trust him. Putting our fears to one side, trusting God with the outcomes, and acting as if we trust him: these are the only ways that we can do what is right and persevere. Even in this we must rely on Him and His grace, and not on our own strength. Perhaps they will break us – but still we must trust in him. In the words of Job:
Although he should kill me, I will trust in him. (Job 13.15)
What else can we do? The agents of tyranny cannot be trusted, so appeasement and compliance will not help us escape their wickedness, nor will they protect our loved ones. The only hope we have is to stop hoping that the tsunami will not break over us, and to stop hoping that things will resolve themselves by our mere compliance. We must refuse whatever evil is thrust upon us.
Tyrants rely on such futile hopes to keep their victims silent and compliant. As Solzhenitsyn wrote:
Every man always has handy a dozen glib little reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself.
Our families, our spouses, our children, our loved ones – these are certainly not “glib little reasons” for making decisions. The same applies to the realistic fear of being broken by monsters, and even losing our salvation.
But we must stop thinking about outcomes which are out of our control, and now focus solely on our duties and what is right, what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful.
It is only by doing so that we can hope to help our families and to influence those outcomes, anyway.
And Christ – He who is himself truth, goodness and beauty, He for whose sake we must do our duties and refuse the unacceptable – He said:
Every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting. (Matt 19.29)
Do we really think this hundredfold reward is for us alone, and has no relevance to those loved ones that are left?
These words surely also have some application to the welfare of those we love. God loves us and our families, our wives and our children much more than we ever could. He is more capable of looking after us and them than we are. He will look after us and them in the way that is best, even if that may look strange or disastrous to us as it unfolds.
He can be trusted. He must be trusted. It can all be well in the end, particularly in matters of grace and salvation, because God will provide all of us and our families with the graces sufficient for us to get through.
The alternative is trusting ourselves to obtain our own victories and to protect our families under a tyranny – and that will get us nowhere.
Let us love them more and more
These psychological preparations for what lies ahead may seem cold, hard and unfeeling.
Yes, of course: we have to step back in this way to see the cold, hard and unfeeling reality before us.
But this should not make us cold or hard towards our families. On the contrary, seeing the reality of what really matters, of what we will not tolerate or accept, and what we do not want for our children’s future world is liberating, liberating us to love our loved ones more and more.
Knowing that one day – perhaps soon – a great sacrifice may be asked of us, allows us to appreciate each extra day we have with them.
We can remind ourselves that the reason we must refuse the monstrous hellscape the tyrants are building is because we love our families and our children too much for that. And as Solzhenitsyn says to those outside the Gulag:
Rub your eyes and purify your heart and prize above all else in the world those who love you and wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it might be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted in their memory.
God will make all things new, even if this is preceded by seemingly incomprehensible sufferings. He did not say that we would be free from such things, but rather that after them, he will wipe away every tear. If we pray, abide in him, and at least act as if we trust him, then he will not forsake us.
Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators and courts telling them to uphold parental rights.