Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament & Being ‘Squeezed Out Like a Lemon’
“It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.” — Pope John Paul II, Salvifici Dolor is (no. 27)
Recently Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo, the international head of Opus Dei, told an audience in Chicago that Catholic parents should have as many children as possible. Indicating that one or two is not enough, he said that children are “always a blessing from God because they lead to sacrifices….” That hardship can actually be a blessing — or “a severe mercy,” to recall Sheldon Vanauken’s book of that title — is a profoundly Christian insight seldom heard these days, even from the clergy, who so often seem preoccupied with being “pastoral” or superficially popular.
More generally, Msgr. del Portillo said that we must strive for sanctity, for holiness, to the point that we show up at Heaven’s gates “squeezed out like a lemon.” This image is vivid and challenging — at once heroic, romantic, and intimidating. Indeed, it is in striking, almost shocking, contrast to the consumerist, hedonist, and materialist deliriums of our decadent society.
Those who have already taken up the good Monsignor’s words by having larger-than-average families undoubtedly have ample occasion to feel “squeezed out like a lemon.” Perhaps they won’t be able to bear the thought of other such occasions. But let’s consider a couple anyway.
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