St. John Cassian tells how an earnest monk asked a hard question of the wise abbot Theodore: if dying brings a good person to eternal bliss, how can murdering a good person be a crime?
Germanus: Well then, if a good man does not only suffer no evil by being killed, but actually gains a reward from his suffering, how can we accuse the man who has done him no harm but good by killing him?
Theodore: We are talking about the actual qualities of things good and bad, and what we call “indifferent,” and not about the characters of the men who do these things. No bad or wicked man should go unpunished because his evil deed was not able to do harm to a good man. For the endurance and goodness of a righteous man do no good to the man who is the cause of his death or suffering, but only to him who patiently endures what is inflicted on him. And so the one is justly punished for savage cruelty, because he meant to injure him, while the other nevertheless suffers no evil, because in the goodness of his heart he patiently endures his temptation and sufferings, and so causes all those things that were inflicted upon him with evil intent to turn out to his advantage, and to lead him to the bliss of eternal life.–St. John Cassian, Conferences, 6.7-8
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Am I tempted to justify objectively sinful behavior because it seems to produce good results?
Father, purify my life and cleanse my heart from all wickedness, and grant me a pure and undefiled conscience.
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