RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY
This is one of the days that causes me to wonder, wonder, wonder. What is it that we are respecting. Are we respecting the life of the planet? Are we respecting the life of the microbes, the insects and the germs? Are we respecting the life of the animals with which we share the earth? Are we respecting the living plants in their multitudinous forms? Are we respecting the old humans who are approaching the statistical limit of life? Are we respecting the human youth in the flower of Their age? Are we respecting the humans who live on the margins of what we call our civilization? Are we respecting the lives of the youngest among us ? Are we respecting the lives of the prospective mothers who face some of the most daunting decisions presented to humans? Are we respectful and worshipful of the fact that the temporal life we now have is but the beginning of the eternal life for which we are destined? Are we respectful of the divine life from which the temporal life that we now lead takes its source?
When we say that we respect life do we forget every other form of life but that which is forming in the womb of pregnant females around the world? I'm afraid that we do. I'm convinced that the narrowness of this attitude doesn't help us in our crusade to live more respectable lives on earth. Even the words that we use lock us into a very narrow thought process with regards the respect for life. We hide our respect for life behind politically charged words that force us into legalisms, not virtues. There is no true moral or ethical meaning behind the expression, "pro-life" other than it states that we are "anti-abortion". There is no other real reason for it than to give "anti-abortion" people the space that they need to be legally and politically correct, without being militant against the law of the land which allows abortion. My disappointment is that the pure anti-abortionists have fallen into the trap of not testifying to their true position openly. It is further disappointing because there are any number of "pro-lifers" who are not pure "pro-lifers". There are many "pro-lifers" who have no problem hastening the end of life of those who are suffering terminally diagnosed illnesses; there are many "pro-lifers" who are in favor of the death penalty as it is practiced here in the United States and elsewhere; there are many "pro-lifers" who diminish the quality of life of their aged and incapacitated parents by placing them in depersonalizing jail-like nursing homes. They are "pro-life" when it comes to the terrifying decisions required of others, but "pro-choice" when it comes to salvaging their personal comfort.
There are perhaps not too many of you alive who are reading this who are aware of the cruelty of the dictator Mobutu of the Belgian Congo and then a little later of the Thalidomide disaster.
The first reference is of a cruel individual and his taking over of the government of the Belgian Congo. His miitary goons attacked everything that was Belgian, including religious institutions and schools. Nuns were killed and raped. Many of the heroic missionaries became pregnant. Inspiring stories of saintly nuns and of their missionary congregations abound. Not one single abortion took place. The Belgian people took some of them in and helped with the raising of the offspring. Some of the infant girls were raised by the nuns themselves in the convents. The children of these "victims" are now approaching 50.
The Thalidomide disaster still throws its shadow across the European landscape. There are still hundreds of survivors of the effects of this drug in Europe. Perhaps as many as 400 in Great Britain. Perhaps more in Belgium, France and Germany. The drug was never marketed in the U.S. Some victims are still alive in Canada. It was a drug declared safe for the relief of morning sickness. So women took it in the early stages of their pregnancies. It was then discovered that the foetuses of these women were being adversely affected. Many were born without arms or legs. There is no doubt that many women had abortions, but there is also ample proof that a legion of women brought their children to term and still live while helping the adult offspring to lead comfortable lives.
Everywhere in the world there are people who heroically remember to respect life. These are the ones who remember where it comes from. These are the ones who know that God is in charge.
I bring this reflection to an end with a personal testimony.
My wife and I were married at an advanced age (early 40's). After a little while the inevitable took place, she was given the privilege to carry a child. So, she went to the doctor, and to the hospital. The doctor is Catholic and the hospital was a church entity. After the usual examinations, some were added to the procedure because of her age. Then there was a meeting in the office with the doctor and the representative of the hospital. During the meeting they educated my wife about the risks involved for a woman of her age. At one point they offered a test of the amniotic fluid in order to determine if there was an imminent danger of her giving birth to a Down's Syndrome baby. It was explained that this test would allow us to "make a tough decision" should the test prove positive. My wife was shocked, angry and despondent at the same time. She left them without further ado and came home. I found her in a near rage. We talked about it. The situation, not the "decision" . There was no decision to be made other than the one that had been made two months before. We didn't sleep that night. The next day we went to the hospital and told the people in charge what we thought of their morality and left.
I knew then and I know now what happened. The hospital was taking federal and insurance company money, of course. It therefore had to be able to prove that it offered all possible options to all patients. I still feel that "someday God is gonna get us" who put our church in that situation without thinking of the consequences.
We always knew that God knew what He was doing. You should see that guy of ours these days! Not only is he beautiful, he is kind and generous. I could write all night about his relationship with his grandmother. The problem I would have if I did that is that his brother (11 months younger) would want equal space. He deserves it, but I don't have the time and you don't need to be bored.
Finally, I have to remind you to respect the life toward which we are traveling. Every time you read this blog remember that I am ANTI-ABORTION, ANTI-EUTHANASIA, PRO OLD PEOPLE, PRO HEAVEN and ANTI-CRYING AT MY FUNERAL.