From Juan Donoso Cortes’ Essay on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism:
Reason, which revolts against the transmission of sin or of penalty, yet receives what is transmitted to us without repugnance, notwithstanding the sorrow which accompanies it, if in place of being designated as sin and penalty it is called inevitable misfortune. It is not, however, difficult clearly to prove that this misfortune could not be changed into happiness, except with the condition of its being a penalty, from which we necessarily conclude that the rationalistic solution in its definitive results is less acceptable than the Catholic solution.
If our actual depravity is only a physical and necessary effect of the primitive corruption, and the effect must last so long as the cause remains, it is evident that since there is no means whatever of removing the cause, neither can there be any by which the effect may be prevented.
…For it is worthy of remark, and in opposition to what at first sight would appear, that it is not justice but mercy which is especially conspicuous in that solemn condemnation which immediately followed the commission of sin. If God had refrained from intervening with this condemnation when this tremendous catastrophe occurred, if when He saw man separated from Him He had withdrawn Himself from man, and entering into the tranquility of His repose had no longer vouchsafed to think of man, or, to express all in one word, if God in place of condemning man had abandoned him to the inevitable consequences of his voluntary disunion and separation, then the fall of man would have been hopeless, and his perdition certain. But in order that this disaster might be repaired, it became necessary for God to draw near to man in another way, uniting Himself to him anew, though imperfectly, by the ties of mercy. Punishment was the new bond of union between the Creator and the creature, and in it mercy and justice were mysteriously joined, mercy being the connecting link, and justice vindicated in the penalty assigned.
If we cease to view suffering and sorrow in the light of a penalty, we not only deprive them of their power to reunite the Creator and the creature, but we also destroy their expiatory and purifying effect on man. If grief is not a penalty, it is an unmitigated evil; if it is a penalty, it still remains an evil through its origin, sin; but it is also a great good, on account of its freeing from the defilement of sin. The universality of sin renders necessary the universality of purification, in order that all mankind may be cleansed in its mysterious waters.
…Regard the Earth throughout its length and breadth, consider all that surrounds you, annihilate space and time, and you will find among the abodes of men only what you here behold–a grief without intermission, and a lamentation which never ceases. But this grief freely accepted is the measure of all greatness; for there can be no greatness without sacrifice, and sacrifice is only grief voluntarily accepted. The world calls those persons heroic who, transpierced with a sword of grief, freely accept their suffering. The Church calls holy those who accept every grief, both the the spirit and of the flesh…
Mankind has unanimously recognized a sanctifying virtue in grief. This is why, though the ages, in every zone, man has rendered homage and worship to great misfortune. Oedipus is greater in the day of his calamity than in the days of his glory…