Saint Luke was a painter, by some accounts, and by others a physician. I think he was both, and more, from acquaintance with his writings. But certainly a physician. When Matthew and Mark recount the saying of Jesus, that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to pass through the gates of heaven, they use the Greek term for a household sewing needle. But Luke instinctively uses the term for a surgeon’s suturing needle. Case closed, to my mind.

Jesus did not stop at that observation, however. He added that what is impossible for men, is possible with God. To omit this, is to miss the point of everything.

The metaphor in this proverb was old, and some scholars think, Persian. It is also used in the Koran, but only as a threat. The apostle Luke adds something to the counsel of forgiveness by his medical allusion. For what we are discussing, after all, is the cure of souls.

Supplementary to yesterday’s effusion, everything I write in this website and elsewhere, touching on politics, whether in the narrower or in the broader sense that includes economics and what pass for the social sciences, must be qualified. In my portrait of present-day Canada I was of course inviting a reader in any other country to make comparisons with his own, for everything that is wrong with Canada can be found in every other country in Europe and the Americas, so far as I am aware. It may be worse, it may be better, in any given place, but our crisis is that of Western Civilization. There are no schemes for reform I offer, only ineffectual hints towards alleviation, and I quite intentionally doubled down on dismal in my last paragraph. We are in an “eye of the needle” situation.

But here is where the qualification comes in. At the centre of our crisis is our loss of faith, in the Trinity, and beyond this of good faith in everything else we are and do. We, by our own collective efforts, cannot possibly rectify this. Nor can we do so in our individual lives without Christ’s help. I write this explicitly, today, but meant it implicitly in yesterday’s dismal conclusion.

There is no human problem that can be solved by politics, and every human attempt at “solution” will, unfailingly, make things worse. The art and science in that field can only be safely directed towards alleviation of specific ills. It is like medicine: you are still going to die. The best any doctor can do is patch you up in the meantime. Alas that world of politics is full of quack doctors with their miracle cures, and electorates that are easy prey for them. The innocent are scooped up with the guilty, the rain it falls on the just and the unjust; but this has always been so.

An old lady I recalled in a recent Idlepost, polishing the brass in a parish church, was doing more to the good than almost any statesman. This is because sustaining and building the Church, in all of her many dimensions, is the best we can do when we get up in the morning. It is to pray and to make ourselves receptacles of grace. Let God do the work, and let us focus our energies upon being his obedient servants.

Forget about trying to fix the world. As my father used to tell me, and his father told him: “Go with God.” I have told it to my sons. It is the only possible way forward.