The sexual revolution, and the Baby Boomer generation that launched it, has often been said to have embraced as its motto Jeremiah’s phrase of “Non Serviam!”
“Of old time thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve. For on every high hill, and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself.”
– Jeremiah 2:20
This declaration of “I will not serve” is attributed by Jeremiah to the people of Israel in their rejection of God, but more generally it is attributed to Lucifer, in his refusal to serve the Creator-God and his desire to himself be worshiped. How appropriate then is “Non Serviam!” to describe the mentality and long term effects of the sexual revolution, with its rejection of authority, tradition and morality, its idolization of youth culture and sexual libertinism, and the wreckage it has strewn in its path.
The Baby Boomers began to reach retirement age within the last decade, and many of them grew more conservative and gained wisdom with time. Unfortunately, much of their generation is still marked by the echoes of the Non Serviam! of the 1960s. However, there is a corollary of that motto that is emerging, that could be characterized as a new proclamation: “Non servietur mihi!” To the cry “I will not serve!” many they have added “I will not be served!”
In Scripture, when Jesus talks about Judgment, He declares,
“For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me… Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:35-36, 40
The tip of the spear in the present battle regarding stealth euthanasia (i.e., hastening death by neglect or intention while pretending to provide appropriate end-of-life care) is death by dehydration. In the vast majority of cases of stealth euthanasia death occurs primarily due to withdrawal of fluids, leading to volume depletion, organ failure, shock, and death. The symptoms of dehydration, a horrible way to die, are almost always masked by narcotic analgesics, sedatives and/or antipsychotics. When stealth euthanasia in not requested but imposed, it is not only unethical and a violation of the Fifth Commandment , but also an obvious violation of the basis on which Jesus said we would be judged: “I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink.”
The Baby Boomer generation not only is quietly acquiescing to the stealth euthanasia agenda, in many instances it is requesting the legalization of assisted suicide. The same generation that idolized youth and sex with a throaty “Non Serviam!” is refusing to bear the ignobility of sickness, old age and vulnerability with a horrified and raspy “Non servietur mihi!”
One can almost hear a Boomer’s generational lament:
“I will not serve. I will not be served! Because whatsoever you do to the least of his brothers that you do unto Him. And I’ve always done everything for me, I’ve never done anything for Him. I’m not going to start now!
“Non Serviam! Non servietur mihi!”
“I’m not going to let them do unto Him by humbling myself in letting them do unto me. I will not serve. I will not suffer. I would rather die. Now and in eternity. I will shake my fist in the face of God, spit in His eye one last time before I refuse my last meal, take my last pill, draw my final breath, and make my “last act” one of eternal rebellion and thus damnation.”
This rejection of suffering and the ignobility of aging short circuits the cycle of grace that comes both in serving “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine” and in being served as “the least of these.” It makes impossible the redemptive nature of suffering described by St. Paul (2 Corinthians 11:24), “who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.”
By accepting the suffering God does not deign to alleviate, we unite our suffering with that of Christ, for our own salvation and that of many souls who might otherwise perish. By humbling ourselves so that we may be served, those who serve us may attain Grace and thus Eternal Life.
Why accept natural death? Because instead of final rebellion it is final surrender. It says:
“Please Lord let this cup pass me by. But not my will but thy will be done. If that means taking of this cup of spoon feeding or tube feeding or IV hydration, FIAT! Thy will be done! If that means letting others care for me, giving up my rugged independence and my radical autonomy, so be it! I am not sufficient unto myself. Without God I am nothing.
If that means letting others clean my face or my behind – this, Lord, seems too much to bear! Who can ask this?!? But this too I accept. Fiat. So be it.
Thy will be done. I humble myself and permit others to serve You in my person, in my weak and vulnerable and suffering body, in the ignobility of age and sickness and weakness. I accept that where once I did for others, now I must permit others to do unto me. Because I am little, I am one of the least of these now, and in His Providence He calls forth the next generation to love selflessly and serve meekly.
I must swallow my pride. I am no longer the strong one, the hero, the warrior. I am now the one who needs protected and He calls new warriors into the arena to protect me, feed me, cloth me, bathe me. And whatever these new warriors do unto me, that they do unto Him.
I permit others to console Your Heart by consoling and caring for me in my need. That alone makes it possible to bear this cross, accept this ignobility, humble myself. Because in doing it to and for me, they do it to and for You.”
Good end of life care is based on corporal and spiritual works of Mercy, yielding spiritual riches. Euthanasia and assisted suicide prevent the graces that flow from these works from ultimately saving souls and giving honor and glory to God. They yield spiritual aridity and poverty, and they destroy souls.
Ultimately the battle against stealth euthanasia is a battle for eternal souls – our own souls, the souls of those for whom we fight and for whom we care, and the souls of those who care for us.