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The Beauty of Suffering

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.
Our good friend and long time columnist on this website, Lyle J. Arnold, Jr., died Sunday, November 30, 2014, at age 78. While it was an unexpected death, in some ways it was not. It seems that Mr. Arnold had certain presentiments that his end was near and was preparing himself accordingly.

One of his last e-mails to me reflects these thoughts. He was commenting on a short text of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, his mentor and mine, that I had sent him. I am sharing his reflections with readers as if it were his last article for the TIA website - Marian T. Horvat

Salve Maria Lady Marian:

The short commentary you sent on “The Beauty of Suffering” (transcribed below) was very timely.

On or about Friday, June 6, I asked Our Lady to permit me to do my time in Purgatory here on earth. Prior to that day I was very active physically, bike riding etc. On said day, June 6, from one minute to the next I have been inflicted with the worst sickness I have ever had.

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

Lyle Arnold visiting the TIA headquarters in 2008

It all began, as I just said, on that Friday. For the next seven weeks I was bedridden, with hardly enough strength to get out of bed. At the end of seven weeks I was able to get up, though I could barely hobble around. Then, I got an ulcer and lived on apple juice for a week, and the pain withdrew.

Next, the dentist opened up my gums because of an infection and poured in antibiotics. My doctor began a series of tests to ascertain why I couldn't get me strength back. This included trips to the rheumatology/arthritis staff. Then, I became infected with a large and painful abscess on my back that had to be lanced and re-lanced. Next, came an injury to a collateral ligament in my right knee that put me on crutches and still causes incessant pain.

After countless visits to various doctors and countless lab tests, the weakness has never left me. The doctor’s diagnosis is that nothing in medical science can determine what I have.

I'm not telling you this as an appeal for sympathy, rather my objective is to inform you that everything Dr. Plinio said about “The beauty of suffering” is a heavenly truth, a solemn truth, something akin to our motto, La plus belle aventure de monde, c'est la notre. In one of my last articles with said French words as the title, I put some thoughts about this in words, in hopes that someone will see the beauty of our adventure.

Thank you for sending me Dr. Plinio's essay on suffering. It is a keen reminder of how the crisis in the Church is the greatest suffering of any true Catholic, and we should be aware of it and willing to fight for it to our last breath. This was what attracted me to Dr. Plinio and the TFP.

I don’t know if I ever told you but the first contact I had with the TFP was many years ago when I read (with the graces imploding within me, coming from Our Lady) the “TFP Press Release; n. 2, 1973” exposing that the election of Allende was engineered by the Chilean Catholic mafia, from the Hierarchy down to the clergy and with the valuable assistance of the Jesuit community.

Then, when I read Revolution and Counter-Revolution it was confirmed I had found my lodestar.

Let me fast forward to October 3, 1995, when Dr. Plinio died. After reading a footnote in the Philippine edition of Borelli's work on the message of the Fatima apparitions, where the TFP did an about-face on the meaning of the 3rd Secret [following the Vatican line], I wrote a letter to the TFP directors telling them I was withholding all support because of their duplicity. I never heard from them again except for one infamous call from a member who chastised me for questioning the party line, and I castigated him for his historicism pretending that principles change according to the times.

I thank Our Lady that I found in TIA the good counter-revolutionary fight of Dr. Plinio!

You and all of the members of TIA are in my daily prayers, and I ask Our Lady every day to bless all the counter-revolutionaries and those that are potential counter-revolutionaries.

Our Lady be blessed for sending me the suffering so that I may know its beauty!

I ask your prayers.

      In Domina,


The text by Prof. Plinio mentioned by Mr. Arnold follows.
It was taken from an informal conversation with some friends:

The Beauty of Suffering

When we suffer, we usually do it for ‘the patio’ (the opinion our peer group has about us) so that the others will see us and admire us in our suffering. Instead of being moved by this reason, what we need to understand is that the Catholic idea of suffering, resigned, well-received, etc., has a beauty in itself.

What is the beauty of suffering? When danger and suffering present themselves, the first reaction of a person is to dominate his fear and pain and not give in to softness and self-pity; then, the person confronts the pain and fear and overcomes them. If, in the process, he is overwhelmed by suffering or defeated by his enemies, he will not truly be defeated because he fought as he should and, doing so, he accomplished his duty. He carried his cross as he should.

If the person understands the true beauty of tragedy and suffering in life, he is able to stand tall even in defeat, since he suffers everything and dominates his pain and goes forward in accordance with justice and reason. He does everything possible to overcome the misfortune that assails him in a serious and dignified way, and this has a beauty. This is beauty in suffering.

This beauty comes from the person having the correct orientation in his suffering. When he follows the orientation of his reason, his will remains firm and unbendable even in the most dire situations and sufferings. He forms his sentiments according to his reason and will, and they become strong instead of being soft and sentimental.

Our lady relief to sinners

Our Lady offers relief in suffering
to all who implore her help

I could relate innumerable cases of people who have followed this course of action: Cases of persons who lost their fortune and earthly happiness and maintained their dignity and honor intact. Likewise I could give cases of persons who rose in social status or fortune, and tread upon and inflicted terrible sufferings on those in misfortune, those who suffer.

The important point is that God is present and God sees each one of us and judges us according to our actions, not according to our social prestige and fortune in the eyes of others.

There are persons whom God seems to persecute in life by sending them misfortunes and sufferings as His way of bringing those persons closer to Him. In our misfortunes He wants us to use all our resources, all our capacities, to overcome them and not be defeated by them.

Examples always complete principles. The great sufferings of my own life are not the ones that many persons imagine. They are not the car accident that left me crippled or other personal misfortunes that I had to face in life. The great suffering of my life has been the crisis in the Church.

The affection, dedication and love I have for the Church is incomparably more than what I have for any individual or family member. To see the authorities in the Church prostituting themselves by accepting Progressivism, Modernism and other heresies has caused me a suffering without description. Then, to see the Church turn against me and try to make me bend my knees before impiety and reduce me to nothing: This caused a pain and suffering that is indescribable.

All my life, I have had a temperament that was able to accommodate to difficult situations as long as I had the sufficient means to maintain myself in a dignified way. I have never demanded more and have always given thanks to Our Lady for what she gave me. In this sense I am not a demanding person. I only ask for what is sufficient to live in life.

But, to see things I love, such as the Church, turn against me as if I were the enemy - against all good sense and logic - and try to destroy me, who only wanted good for her, this is a suffering that is hard to describe.

Before this persecution was unleashed against me by the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, which was after I published In Defense of Catholic Action, I walked under a heaven full of stars, filled with joy to serve those stars, the Bishops. You cannot imagine my pain to see those stars become rocks and hurl themselves against me. These were the things that caused more suffering than anything else in my life.



Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted December 3, 2014