Friday, June 10, 2016
Me Before You: Death Before Life
When I first saw the trailer of the movie "Me Before You," and found that my sister Annie wanted to see it, I decided I'd take her on a "date," as a sort of late birthday present. I can really feel your judgement :). As I heard and read about the hidden agenda in the movie, I decided there was a need to write something on it.
I honestly find its title to be quite ironic. What I want before what You (God) want. Jojo Myers, the author of the book, said that the title is "deliberately opaque – but I think of it as referring to each of them: It’s "who I was before I met you."" As the title of the book and now movie is opaque, they both also contain what may be somewhat opaque for many people. Euthanasia.
Before I go further into this issue, I want to let all of you readers know that this post is not meant to exhaust the issue of euthanasia. It is meant to give a basic understanding as to what euthanasia is, and why or why it isn't wrong. While it is just a basic overview, it will still be a long post. Please bear with me.
Funny story: when my brother and I were younger, we heard our parents pray for an end to euthanasia. We both thought that there was something wrong with youth in Asia :). If any of you readers are a youth in Asia, know that my mind has been deeply changed.
Euthanasia is bad because life is good. Euthanasia is wrong because life is right. Euthanasia is immoral because life is moral. Euthanasia undermines the dignity of life.
What is euthanasia? It comes from the two Greek words "eu," meaning well/easy and "thanatos," meaning death. So it literally means an "easy death." There is nothing wrong with an "easy death" in itself, but when applied and forced in the way that our culture and world have done so, issues arise of which I will get into.
Many would refer to euthanasia as "mercy killing" or "death with dignity." This is how our culture would define euthanasia. "Mercy killing" contradicts itself. True mercy will always bear life for true mercy comes from Love. Love must be fruitful (as in give life) therefore mercy must be fruitful. Killing involves taking away life: in this case taking away even the mercy. So all we are left with is "killing." And killing is always wrong, in itself. One could give the argument of the military killing in battle. If any of you reading this are confused on this topic, I will write a post on it. However, military killing and "just war" are not the topic of this post.
As for "death with dignity," death is dignity! Assisting one to commit suicide or even the act of suicide by the subject does not add dignity! It lessens it for it is the purposeful taking of life! Life is beautiful! Life has worth! Life is sacred! "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." -Catechism of the Catholic Church 2258
There is, as Pope Saint John Paul II says, an "incomparable worth of the human person." Our culture has become so oriented towards that which feels good or is pleasurable. We do not find worth in suffering (me included). But what was it that restored our own worth? The suffering of Christ on the Cross for the Salvation of souls. Suffering is beautiful! As explained in "Evangelium Vitae" or "The Gospel of Life" by Pope St. JP II, our society has become unable to accept suffering, and care for those suffering, so we try to eliminate suffering and hasten the time of death. Suffering becomes "the epitome of evil; to be eliminated at all costs." This points to what Pope Francis calls our "throw-away culture." We see the weak and suffering as disposable. We undermine the dignity of life. So do we even have a right to take or assist taking another person's life when it is so magnificent? This leads us to the argument of the so called "right to death."
The name "right to death" speaks for itself. So the question is: do we have a right to death? To choose when we want to die? To take our own life? If we accept any argument of the "right to death," we are taking away our "right to life." I will present two arguments on this. First of all, notice that the right to life doesn't say "right to life sometimes" or "right to a half-life," it says a "right to life." A life in its fullness. The moment we apply the right to death, we are reducing the right to life. One must fully exist by itself. The two cannot exist together.
The second argument I'd like to make is that all our rights come from God as given to the Governments of the world to enact. Many would like to say that our rights come solely from man. After all, the Constitution did come from man and our Government is run by man (by man I mean mankind). How easily do we as a country forget the words spoken by the ones who wrote the Constitution, as written in the Declaration of Independence. It states clearly that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."
Our rights come from God! If they did not, there would be no absolute rights. That which is not absolute is subjective. If our rights do not come from God then they are subjective towards what the State desires. They are subjective towards majority vote. The majority has been very wrong in the past. Fact. Look at the racism of the world, especially the USA, towards African-Americans: who are made in the image and likeness of God just like the white people. Look at the slavery of the 17-1800s. Issues have risen in the past and will continue to arise if we believe our rights do not come from God. If all our rights are not absolute all is relative. The country is run by the people and for the people. If all is relative, and there are so many ideas in this country, then we will be left with numerous governments. We will be the DSA. The Divided States of America. My point: all rights come from God, an unjust right is not a true right. God gave us all life: he gave us a right to life. Not a right to death. If He did we would not be alive for we would not be capable of exercising our right to life. There is no such thing as a "right to death."
Back to "Me Before You." It has a message of death in the story of two beautiful lives. Taking this further, it warps life as something disposable. As something that only has worth if one sees it that way. Life is not disposable for it is sacred and beautiful.
If you or someone you know is considering euthanasia, know that I will be praying for you/them! You are beautiful! You are God's child and He will protect you! Your life is sacred! Your life has dignity! I pray that you will unite your sufferings to the Cross, where your freedom was won! Praise be to the Lord!
I would like to end with another excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. "...An act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded." This is in the section of the Fifth Commandment and of Euthanasia. You can find the entire teaching here:
God bless you all and know that you are all in my prayers! Please keep me in yours!