That is my choice. Life.
For him, and for all children.
We will not allow these innocents to be silenced.
To be pro-life is to deny fear, pride and selfishness; it is to share in the multiplication of life, laughter and love.
That is my choice. Life.
For him, and for all children.
Prayers for all those at the march, contemplating abortion, providing abortion, healing after abortion, or trying to support a victim of abortion.
We will not allow these innocents to be silenced.
A friend of mine posted the above video to Facebook. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. A reader had sent it my way and said maybe I should think about sharing Myla's story as a way to break the silence.
I'm not there yet. But I am really, really glad that there is a push to get stuff like this out in the open.
When my friend posted this, he said something great: "I didn't realize the prevalence of this event. I love how families are allowing the child to remain a part of their family and honoring her/him at special times - birthday, thanksgiving, christmas and/or other winter holidays. For those who are uncomfortable with sharing this, GET OVER YOURSELF! The child was part of life however briefly, is loved and will always be remembered."
I immediately thought, Right on, we WILL always love and remember them! And of course you didn't realize the prevalence. NO ONE realizes the prevalence because no one talks about it.
I then wondered why. I mean, on a personal level, I know why I don't talk about it. But on a grander scale, there had to be a reason. It hit me, and I commented the following:
Still birth and miscarriage are so taboo in our culture because we have conditioned ourselves to "accept" that life doesn't begin until that child is outside the womb.
I put "accept" in quotes because it's a conditioned belief that isn't a belief so much as it is a justification for the murder of a child.
Because that uneasy "acceptance" of an obvious falsehood doesn't sit well with the public, things like open grieving of life lost within the womb or at birth is taboo since open acceptance of that life causes folks who don't believe in life at conception to confront the validity (or invalidity) of that belief.
And as someone who has experienced condemnation and ridicule for grieving the life of a child considered worthless by society's standards, I can understand why some families choose to suffer in silence - why this topic is rarely spoken of. It's difficult enough to endure losing a child - you don't need people lashing outwards as they struggle with an inward paradigm shift on top of it, ya know?
Just my two cents.
I know this is a good chunk of the reason I keep silent. I'm not ready to handle their emotions on top of my own. I'm not ready to handle the questions or the judgement or even the sympathy that might result from Myla's story being out there amongst family and friends.
But the point of this video is spot on, and I do think the reason so many of us don't speak out more is because our culture - a culture steeped in death and selfishness - cannot accept the grief of parents who prove their misguided stance on life within the womb is not compatible with reality. We are a thorn in their logic.
For someone who hates math as much as I do, my favorite artist is a mathematical genius.
Truthfully, his symmetry and creative outlook on the impossible are what originally drew me to him. Also, he has an uncanny way of making the impossible seem true... of causing two diametrically opposed objects to work together as if they were always intrinsically the same.
So when I think about the dichotomy of secrets, I think of an MC Escher piece.
Because secrets contain a built-in paradox. Half the horses in your mind want nothing more than to keep that secret private. They're content in their stalls, munching on their hay and reflecting on what amounts to be a very personal, intimate matter.
Those other horses, however... they're chomping at the bit and pawing at the stall doors to escape and spread the secret to anyone and everyone who will listen.
My secret? Myla Therese.
Today, Remembrance Day, made me keenly aware of this inner dichotomy. Myla's existence is still mostly unknown. My mother, my SD, you folks and a tiny handful of friends (6 or 7 maybe?) are even aware of what happened. No one else on either side of the family knows, and I don't bring her up to anyone but the closest to me. It's those pesky horses... the half that wants to keep her private and mine - all mine - they're content to sit in their stalls and keep her memory there.
Those other horses, though... sometimes they get creative and find ways of slipping out. A few days ago, I commented on a Facebook thread that was far away from anything my group of friends would ever stumble across. It was a bunch of Catholic moms talking about babies. My friends and family would steer so far away from "Catholic" "mom" and "baby" that they'd be happily on their ways to China so as not to accidentally find themselves in a spot that combined them.
However, what I wasn't aware of was the fact that Facebook doesn't care about that. Facebook took a personal comment on a wall of a group that is "no man's land" to my friends and put it in the newsfeed. In the NEWSFEED.
Everyone then had the chance to see my comment of comfort. It was originally meant to reach out to another mother who had lost her child an felt secluded in her grief. I wanted her to know she wasn't alone, so I said something along the lines of, "I'm the mother of a baby in Heaven, too. Our little saints are playing together on the lap of Our Lady, I bet!"
Several minutes later, I got a private message from a friend of mine. She asked me about the comment and I immediately felt like someone had walked in on me in the shower.
My mind began racing...
If she saw it, who else saw it? Is John going to get these questions from our friends? Is John going to be MAD that I posted this on Facebook? Oh God... did anyone of his family see it? Will anyone else send me questions? What am I supposed to say to this one? And why does Facebook have to notify her that I'd already read the dang question?!
Before bothering to respond to her e-mail, I called John. I explained the situation and asked how he wanted me to handle it. After all, this was a mutual friend. What I said to her had the capacity to reverberate through our friends and back to him. He might not be able to push the situation out of his mind so easily.
His response surprised me. He said, "Answer her however you want to. Whatever makes you feel better because you're the one handling it. I really don't care how you respond."
Now try not to bristle at "I don't care how you respond." I don't think he meant that in a harsh or demeaning way.
I repeated that his family might find out... his Mom. I didn't think she would from that basic exchange, but it was a possibility, and if he still said that he didn't care what I did after thinking about it in those terms (moms tend to paint a black and white picture for us better than most things), I could trust he really meant it.
Apparently he did, because he still gave his stamp of approval even then.
I went back to my computer. How do I respond to her? I didn't know. On the one hand, I wanted so much to tell someone else about Myla's existence, but on the other, I didn't want to share something so personal. I honestly didn't know what to do, so instead of answering her, I went through my newsfeed to clear out any possible reference to miscarriage I could find.
Finally, I went back to her message. I was back in control of my feelings, so I could respond logically. I trusted this particular friend, so I explained in very simple terms that yes, John and I had been expecting in July and I had miscarried around the 5th or 6th week. I also explained that we weren't really making that information public, but I thanked her for sending me the message. It really did mean a lot.
She quickly responded with love and support. I felt better that another person was pulled into the circle that knew Myla existed. She was such a blessing, and I sometimes ache that more people aren't aware of her. However, I do fear what knowledge of her existence would bring.
Questions that I'm ill-equipped to handle. Questions that would make me cry. Questions that would tear me apart and leave me pounding my fists into the floor.
Disbelief that she was real. At 5 or 6 weeks, she's nothing, after all, right? Society tells us she's nothing. Society assures us that my sweet little baby is completely inconsequential.
And the list drags on.
So for today, I reposted a few things and commented on a few others, but I kept my tone ambiguous. Instead of posting Myla's story, I posted things "in solidarity with" or "together with" others who have shouldered this cross. Folks seeing my posts could easily think they were akin to wearing pink in support of breast cancer awareness though I never had it myself. It was my safe way of publicly spreading awareness without opening the door to something I'm not ready to handle.
Again, I know this might come as a surprise to you readers who see my most personal thoughts on a routine basis, but I am just not this forthcoming with many people. Behind the safety of my monitor, I can vent with the knowledge that none of you will ever be able to treat me differently or judge me harshly because of what you read here.
Truth be told, in real life, I'm scared. Very, very scared. I like being in control... in charge... even-keeled. Being upfront about things so sensitive and emotional for me... it's just not something I'm good at. And for as much as those horses want to call out Myla's name from the rooftops and share my experience with other women who might be going through (or will go through) miscarriage, I am not strong enough to handle it at this point. I feel selfish and weak for admitting that, but it's the truth.
I do hope to one day be able to tell other people about Myla. She is a blessing, and I want to share her with others - especially family and friends.
I just don't know when (or if) I'll ever be ready to do so.
For those of you who have endured miscarriage, did you ever tell family/friends? If you did, when and how did you go about doing it?
I spent a pretty good portion of this weekend caught between two worlds. The first was created entirely by you fine folks. My inbox was full of pictures, poems and stories. The depth of love you each testify to cannot be understated. I was so touched and humbled by the images you chose to share. I sorta felt like Frank Warren from Postsecret (or what I assumed he'd feel like). Each item shared was like a tiny peek into the heart and soul of the person who sent it in. My heart was greatly moved by each and every one of you.
I only chose to show names along with the photos. I figure that if you'd like to share your personal stories, you may do so in the comments. I left out last names and birthdays as well (given that many of these children were born into Heaven before ever being born upon earth).
Bless each and every one of you. No doubt these little saints hear our prayers and feel our love. May we constantly feel their pull on our soul as they gently lead us after Christ to our forever home.
Quick heads up...
The blog community CatholicSistas has a Remembrance Day linkup. Check it out and participate there!
Grateful that God allowed His guardian angels to save this little one.
This sweet child and his parents are symptomatic of the larger problem sweeping humanity - the complete disregard for human life.
And that, itself, probably stems from the fact that, by and large, we feel "hindered" by the mere thought of caring for another person. Isn't that what birth control, euthanasia and abortion are for?
Forgive us, Lord, for we know what we do and we do it anyway...
So many of my friends have been posting articles about a couple who lost their 2nd child because they believe medical science is unnecessary. I support their feelings of frustration, confusion and heartbreak that two children are needlessly dead because their parents have not taken every available avenue to ensure the care and survival of innocent children.
However, these same friends who have posted vitriol about how disgusted they are with this couple... how this couple should burn in hell for their neglect... how folks like this should be sterilized / mutilated, etc...
Not a one of them has said two words about the gruesome infanticide that has been committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. The same infanticide that occurs daily all around the country at the hands of Planned Parenthood and abortion mills just like it...
Forgive me, but if you're gonna go ahead and condemn the neglect of two parents in the deaths of two children, you'd better damn right well condemn abortionists and supposed nurses / staff who allow millions of children to routinely die in painful, scary and terrible ways ON PURPOSE.
If you're gonna get preachy because two innocent children are dead due to neglect, you'd better go Billy freakin' Graham due to the neglect of an entire nation that refuses to acknowledge the snuffed out lives of millions upon millions of innocent babies on a daily basis.
If you cannot or will not, you are a hypocrite of a most vile degree.
My morning started off pretty awesome. My son gave me hugs and kisses before I dropped him off at daycare, several of my friends were already on their way to the Pro-Life March in D.C., and I was on my way to the most awesome job in the world (made that much more awesome by the fact that my coworkers are pretty much the best people in the universe). That all being said, I looked something like this:
About an hour or so after getting to work, however, one of those aforementioned awesome coworkers sent me this article which put me in a mood decidedly...
After a few minutes of fuming - loudly - I checked to see which diocese St. Thomas More was actually a part of. I wanted to make sure it wasn't Archbishop Chaput's old Denver stomping grounds. When I found out the hospital was located in the diocese of Pueblo, I hopped over to their site to find out if any statement had been made by the bishop there. When I got to their homepage (found here), I took a moment to read the press release posted there. While reading, I probably looked a little something like this:
The quick (and pointed) response to this situation is incredibly heartening. In fact, I was SO pleased that they responded that I wrote the wonderful folks over in Pueblo to tell them how wonderful I thought their bishops were in a letter to the Office of the Bishop. I would suggest all of you do the same. When you're done praising them for being defenders of Life, go ahead and exercise your fingers by then moving over to St. Thomas More Hospital's site to unleash a lesson or two on what TRUE Catholics stand up for and defend.
This, my dear friends, is what today's version of Defending the Faith looks like. We might not need to shed our blood in the Colosseum (yet), but we do need to take a stand and refuse to back down on our beliefs simply because it's financially beneficial to do so. Those hack-job lawyers in Colorado have just destroyed so much of what the Pro-Life movement has worked hard for. How DARE they claim that fetuses aren't people only to kick a lawsuit under the rug!
My heart goes out to the father who lost his wife and children. How invalidated he must feel that a set of Catholic representatives (whether or not they were Catholic themselves doesn't matter - they represented a Catholic Institution, and thus should have reflected Catholic values in their actions) basically told him his two children were nothing... that they were undeserving of proper care because they weren't technically alive by the standards of the law...
I am sickened by that! At the very least the firm representing the hospital should never again be allowed to step foot in the courtroom in defense of St. Thomas More. I'd also like to see the administrators of this particular hospital feel a little fire for their part. SOMEONE over there had to have given some sort of consent to this diabolical argument. Ugh - I just... I can't.
Anyway, after you spit some of your justified venom their way, refresh yourself by viewing some of the incredible, uplifting and thought-provoking images of today's incredibly successful March for Life. These imagines? They'll remind you that you're not alone in your desire to see a better, brighter future for this generation and all generations to follow. They'll remind you that you're part of something bigger... something mystical... something militant - the Body of Christ.
Simply put, the sham that is our media is only able to get away with this courtesy of the willful ignorance enjoyed by those they opiate with their trash.
Taking some good advice from Fr. Levi of The Way Out There, I'm seeding you his entry on an impossibly tragic case involving a pregnant mother, her unborn child, possibly a misunderstanding of Church teaching, severe miscommunication, and definite mistreatment resulting in a grieving husband, family and friends who are left with more questions than answers.
Please keep these folks in your prayers. ALL those involved need prayers right now. May the mother, Savita Halappanavari, find herself encompassed by Christ's mercy, may the father, Praveen, find solace and peace. May their family and friends use this tragedy to better the treatment and awareness for other mothers in potentially similar situations. May these doctors / nurses / medical staff gain understanding, wisdom and compassion to handle such trials in the future.
Oh Ireland... you are enduring such a period of confusion right now. You were always my favorite country outside of the US. I'll keep you, your leaders and your people in my prayers. Keep us in yours. We need each other now more than ever.
I'm sharing this with all of my readers in the hopes that these wonderful Sisters and the work that they do is not only helped along through your generous donations, but also your prayers!
Please keep these beautiful women and the cherished families they help in your daily intentions. We are blessed to count these brides of Christ among our own.
Dear Friends and Co-workers of Life,
'Emmanuel', God is with us. As we prepare to welcome the Christ child anew in our hearts this December, we are welcoming the new life around us in the women we serve. It is our desire that as they have courageously chosen life for their child, they may know the joy of Christ's presence and loving support, so often through the hearts of others. And that they may know truly, God is with us!
We are organizing our December 15, 2012 Christmas party for the women we serve and their children, and sending out some gift ideas for anyone who is interested. We have added websites for your convenience but you are certainly not limited to using them. Thank you always for your prayers and generosity!
We need shopping bags! We always need big bags with handles to give to the women when they stop by. We fill them with maternity clothes and baby clothes, etc***
T-SHIRT BAG - PLASTIC- CLEAR - 90121 Store Supply Warehouse: Your Source for Retail Supplies and Store Displays 9801 Page Avenue | St Louis, Missouri 63132 | Phone: 800-823-8887
All gifts need to be delivered by Monday December 10th, 2012.
For shipping purposes this is our address:
Sisters of Life
257 East 71st Street
New York, NY 10021
Questions concerning drop offs contact: (212) 737-0221
Any other questions and concerns contact: (347) 843-8900
We are so grateful to you for all your sacrifices, big and small, for our mission of building a culture of life.
In Christ Our Life,
The Sisters of Life
I've been sitting on this post for about a week because I haven't had a proper camera with which to take my photos. *GRUMP GRUMP*
Anyway, my iPhone ended up taking the ones you're about to see, so I really, REALLY apologize for the blur and lack of clarity.
A wonderful friend of mine asked me to create a pair of Pro-Life earrings for a friend of hers. This friend works across from an abortion facility and it breaks her heart that she must work across from this place day after day.
She wanted some small way to remember their suffering throughout the day... some small way to speak out against the atrocity and remind others that there were those willing to speak for these voiceless children.
Thus, these earrings were born.
I went through several charms and versions, but the Precious Feet (though pricey) were the way to go.
Thus, I've created a whole batch for those who wish a pair for themselves. These can be customized with pink, blue or red beads. However, one crystal will remain on all of these to remind us of the innocent souls that are being torn away from us each time an abortion is carried out.
10% of all sales go towards the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia. They do some incredible, incredible work. Please spread this particular entry along. I want Pro-Life jewelry to spread just as much as ribbons for breast cancer, puzzle pieces for Autism, or bracelets for Alzheimer's.
A poor peasant in China has shamed the country that has discarded and murdered its own through inhumane laws that seek to stamp out innocence and liberty.
Over the years, she has found and saved 30 abandoned babies - victims of China's one-child policy and the ever-growing disregard for the validity and sacredness of human life.
Bless her, and bless her children. Keep them all in your prayers.
No doubt this living saint has a special spot in Heaven all her own.
Read her story here. However, please use caution as this story is connected with an abandoned baby girl who was viciously harmed. She is now safe in a hospital and will hopefully be available for adoption to a loving home soon. So even though it's graphic, the ending could be happy yet!
Mattie, a reader, started an avalanche of thought for me last week. Ever since, I've kinda been on the hunt for answers to the many questions that've come from her simple, "Can ya just go get IVF?"
The short answer is No - for a variety of reasons.
IVF is considered immoral by the Church. Every child deserves the right to begin life at conception through the loving embrace of both parents who are in a stable, dignified and ordered marriage. In fact, a beautiful quote from the Church in Her DONUM VITAE states as much:
The child has the right to be conceived... to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.
That, my friends, is true respect. That is dignity. To acknowledge the right exists, even before this tiny person comes into existence, for a loving, sacred and nurturing place of refuge proves the respect and care Catholics take in our role as stewards of life.
This is why the Church so staunchly defends marriage and sexuality. These two unalienable gifts from God are the building blocks of healthy procreation. It is through the ordered marriage relationship that true sexuality reaches fulfillment - that fulfillment being the union of husband and wife and thus the creation of the physical, living sign of their love - children.
These children, having been created in the ordered and sacred manner in which God decreed, will be blessed to grow up in an ordered, loving household in which their own development can best be discovered, ordered and reach fulfillment.
This is not to say, however, that children from single-parent households, children of rape, children of adoption, etc cannot grow up to reach their full, ordered potential. Through the grace of God, anything is possible, and He certainly loves these cherished souls as much as those co-created in the marriage embrace. However, He desired that we order ourselves in the aforementioned manner because it is through this ordering that we afford our children the best chance for emotional, psychological and spiritual stability.
Thus, IVF (specifically the act of joining a sperm and an egg in a laboratory setting) is considered immoral because it removes this dignity and order from the person(s) created.
Credit: Glassanos - Click image for info
However, this leaves a really big question wide open, and the Church has yet to get entrenched in the details.
After answering the above question for Mattie, my mind traveled down the rabbit hole a bit farther. Since IVF has already been utilized countless times by infertile couples looking to have children, what happens to all the embryos created that are simply frozen in time?
There's no easy answer for this - and I've looked!
I've taken several key folks to task over this. Priests, two professional theologians, an incredibly smart and spiritually sound couple, and a smattering of ordinary lay-Catholics who have been touched by issues of infertility, adoption and even eugenics. None were able to provide a concrete answer because as of yet, there simply isn't one.
The married couple, however, provided the best resource I've yet seen on this! My special thanks to them for their incomparable knowledge and willingness to share that knowledge with others. I link it here for your own illumination.
In it, you will find two heavy-weight Catholic ethicists duke the issue out at a bioethics conference late last year.
Though I take issue with the attempt of Father Pacholczyk to denigrate the discussion into one of spousal rights (since this isn't so much about fertilization so much as adoption of a life that's already been created), what he says about causing us to tumble down a slippery slope is certainly a concern I agree with.
However, most of what Dr. Smith relays (comparing this to adoption / breastfeeding) falls right in line with my own views.
As a person who believes that God opens a window every time we close the door on ourselves through sin, I can't help but wonder if embryo adoption is God's way of answering the problem we created through the sin of IVF.
This is a question that, as of yet, has no real answers. As one of the women I talked to put it, though, I'd be hard-pressed to condemn a married couple who bore a child in this manner. Granted, I'd be hard-pressed to condemn anyone for anything, but I digress.
I can't help but wonder if God allowed infertile married couples to exist specifically so they could answer the call of these poor children stuck in a frozen limbo.
Real men pray the rosary.
St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!
I just finished reading Father Z's defense of the clergy in the middle of this HHS Mandate mess.
Here is my favorite highlight:
There is only so much the bishops can accomplish in the public square on their own: the rest is your job. Don’t shirk your role even if you think bishops and priests are being lazy or craven. Stand up and get to work right now, even if you are disappointed that bishops aren’t beaming lasers out of their eyes or issuing decrees of excommunication while they levitate to the strains of Verdi’s Dies Irae.
Yes and yes. So many people are complaining about how little they see priests and bishops doing. I'm always confused by this, mainly because I see them doing so much. We can't expect them to hop onto the pulpits and scream bloody murder. We can't have them running around denouncing entire political parties or trying to convince folks that all Pro-Choice candidates are going straight to hell. We can't expect them to fight, fight, fight while we cower in the corner waiting for the spat to be done with.
And yet that seems to be what's happening by and large. I've seen the Church in the US mobilize in a way I've never encountered. Bishops are uniting and are extremely vocal on the issues that face us as a people. Leaders from other faiths are coming out in support of us. Catholic who have been wayward now feel a calling to defend the Church that blessed them with their faith and traditions. They can only do so much, and Father Z is right... we need to pick up the beacon ourselves to carry forth the Flame of Truth.
We can, and we MUST. WE are the Church... all of us. Not just the priests, not just the bishops, and not just the little old ladies praying the rosary after Mass.
WE are the Church, and we really need to start acting like it.
This sculpture is the first (and as yet only) piece of art that has ever made me weep. I came across it in my travels, and the reaction was instantaneous. The tears were coming before I even understood what it was I was looking at.
The tender love and comfort extending from the child as she reached out to touch her agonizing mother is intense. That flood of intensity was then made into a deluge of sadness as I realized the child was "invisible," the symbolic soul of a child this mother lost. Then, when I realized what the title of the sculpture actually was, I just about died of a broken heart.
Though this sculpture doesn't necessarily have to speak of the post-abortion grief many woman feel, that was what I took it for at first glance. Then I realized this grief could easily be felt by women who suffered miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, or even hysterectomies before fulfilling their vision of a family. This sculpture could also encapsulate the grief of a mother denied children through birth control, social pressures or infertility... maybe even a mother who lost her child to illness, violence or trauma.
Such ceaseless pain is perfectly juxtaposed with undescribable love. This ghost child is peaceful, seeking no solace for itself; she is only looking to comfort her stricken mother. The mother, overcome by her emotions, cannot feel the touch of this angel. She wants to... she yearns to... but she cannot.
Oh my heart. I'm actually writing this entry with my "window" scrolled up just enough that the image is not visible on my screen. I can do nothing but weep when I see it.
May the Lord grant us mercy for our transgressions against these innocent babes. May those who seek reconciliation find peace, and may the Holy Spirit alight in the hearts of those who don't understand that life begins at conception.
Okay - the premise of this article is as follows:
Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.
Pay close attention to the shifting of vocabulary. We're not calling it infanticide or murder. Instead, because those words carry severely negative connotations, they call it "after-birth abortion."
Why? Well because the word "abortion" has the connotation of CHOICE! It's got the connotation of women's liberation and sexual freedom!
Is there no hope for the world my son is now forced to grow up in?
If we are capable of this, this, or this, we're simply opening the door to allow even worse things to become commonplace (and LEGAL).
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world...
Well, at least they're showing just how asnine they really are. I love how they label those of us who disagree with their agenda "anti-women's health groups." What a load of BS there. Pregnancy isn't an illness, though it's interesting to note that most BC actually causes illness... including the Pill.
But hey - admitting that would defeat their entire thrust to make money off the uneducated (or willfully ignorant).
I cannot possibly tell you how high my heart leapt at the title of this piece! How absolutely brilliant that Christ is being brought into the heart of the battle... to where He is so desperately needed.
The lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful keep repeating themselves in my head:
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
It seems that in so many places we've lost our recognition of Christ's True Presence within the Eucharist. We've lost our understanding and thus, our appreciation, for this gift. Movements like this instill hope that my generation is working to go back to our Catholic roots and seek out the treasures our God has granted us through the Church.
The greatest of these treasures is Christ, Himself, through the Eucharist. O come... let us adore Him. Let us adore He who Triumphs over despair, darkness and death itself. Let us adore Him and beg mercy for our transgressions against His Most Holy Will. His love is all encompassing - He would do nothing but grant us such grace.
True photo of an in-womb child.
_The below text is taken from Richard Wurmbrand's Tortured for Christ. For those of you who have not yet read this book, please avail yourselves to its contents here.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently. It's probably one of the most thought-provoking moments in his memoir (and he's got a LOT of those!). Ever since first reading it (several months ago), I've been unable to parray it from my mind for very long. It swooped in and enveloped my conscious again yesterday, when a friend asked me how I could possibly be sure there was an afterlife.
"Suppose that we could speak with an embryo in his mother's womb and that you would tell him that the embryonic life is only a short one after which follows a real, long life. What would the embryo answer? He would say just what you atheists answer to us, when we speak to you about paradise and hell. He would say that the life in the mother's womb is the only one and that everything else is religious foolishness. But if the embryo could think, he would say to himself, ‘Here arms grow on me. I do not need them. I cannot even stretch them. Why do they grow? Perhaps they grow for a future stage of my existence, in which I will have to work with them. Legs grow, but I have to keep them bent toward my chest. Why do they grow? Probably life in a large world follows, where I will have to walk. Eyes grow, although I am surrounded by perfect darkness and don't need them. Why do I have eyes? Probably a world with light and colors will follow.'
"So, if the embryo would reflect on his own development, he would know about a life outside of his mother's womb, without having seen it. It is the same with us. As long as we are young, we have vigor, but no mind to use it properly. When, with the years, we have grown in knowledge and wisdom, the hearse waits to take us to the grave. Why was it necessary to grow in a knowledge and wisdom that we can use no more? Why do arms, legs, and eyes grow on an embryo? It is for what follows. So it is with us here. We grow here in experience, knowledge, and wisdom for what follows. We are prepared to serve on a higher level that follows death."
This truly is a beautiful insight... an inspired insight. May it touch you as it has touched me.
Let's take care of some business that apparently needs to be repeated... again... for the thousandth time...
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, you are NOT a Catholic. Please, for the love of all that's sane and good in the world, STOP PARADING YOURSELF AROUND AS IF YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD WHAT BEING CATHOLIC MEANS.
You are about as far removed from Catholicism as it gets. In fact, you're actively working AGAINST the Church and pretending it's all for the sake of equality. Your stances on (and continued work for) such things as abortion and gay marriage effectively excommunicated you.
Congrats! What you did (and continue to do) was (and is!) so OUT-OF-LINE with the Church that you didn't even NEED your bishop to sign off on your excommunication! The anti-Catholic acts which you CONTINUE to be a party to were cause enough to cut you off from the Church. And since a "Catholic" like you probably has no idea how excommunication works, go look up Excommunication Latae Sententiae. That oughta clear it up for you.
In fact, Cardinal Burke (who heads the highest court of the Vatican, BTW) hit home this point about Cuomo when he said,
So Gov. Cuomo, if you still had ANY confusion in that already mangled mind of yours, allow me to set you straight - you're not Catholic. I don't care that you're not Catholic. What I DO care about is your consistent proclamation that you ARE Catholic. Do you have any idea how confusing that is to folks? Let me explain it this way...
You frequent one of the nicest country clubs in the nation. You know their dress code, you've abided by their dress code for a good ten years or so. Then one day, you decide to walk in wearing cut-offs, flip flops and a t-shirt. At first, folks are pretty taken aback when they see you. The waitress probably pulled you aside and explained the dress code. One or two of the patrons probably tried doing the same. But you kept coming back, week after week, insisting that cut-offs, flip flops and Tees were perfectly normal attire.
Those not part of the county club see you walk into the club and assume that's normal attire. Even some IN the club - who KNOW better - begin to question the rules since you refuse to listen to the staff and continue to trample on their requests for you to adhere to the code. See how things begin to get murky?
So if you wanna believe in abortion and gay marriage and even aliens from Jupiter, go right ahead. Just don't call yourself a Catholic, because you're NOT and you bring shame to our name. You are a disgrace, and I want your name NO WHERE NEAR my faith. Until you come to terms with the fact that YOU don't get to write the rules of Catholicism, I don't want to hear the word "Catholic" fall from your lips again.
Dang it - this is why I'm so anti-Cafeteria Catholics. They do more to destroy our faith than the atheists do!
So what brought all this on? On Wednesday, Gay City News reported a journalist asked Cuomo what he thought of the arguments against gay marriage that were presented to him. His response?
“There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t. Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”
So glad the repeated letters from several bishops, the citizen protests, the fact that almost all the other states refuse to participate in this farce, and the mountain of letters Cuomo and the NY representatives got leading up to this were "no answer." I see... good to know that we're all "anti-American" for voicing our opinions. Good to know that this "anti-American" outpouring of vocalization in favor of the views held by the majority of voting citizens has labeled us so negatively by the Governor of NY. Deplorable.
May God grant me patience. I simply have no more for this man. He needs prayers, specifically to the Holy Spirit. May he have his eyes opened up to the Truth. If he cannot reconcile his ideas with the Church, then may he at least understand his harm in continuing to call himself Catholic (especially one that partakes of the Eucharist).
In the meantime, let's pray for his Bishop and parish priests... may they have the brass to handle him accordingly with patience, charity and, if necessary, tough love.
"What's the Church's stance on infertility?"
This is a common question I get. Funny thing, though, is that half the people asking are genuinely curious and looking for an answer that might guide them through some very difficult choices. The other half are simply trying to convince me that the Church is a backwards, patriarchal mess hell-bent on ensuring no one is happy - EVER.
Truth be told, for the first half of folks this is a really, REALLY tough question with even tougher answers. For the second set, however, nothing seems to satisfy them and my answers only serve to frustrate them more (since my answers only reconfirm my staunch support of and faith in the Church).
Anyway, I am gearing this response to the first group. Men and women dealing with infertility have my deepest heart-hugs. I understand what it means to desperately want a child and grapple with the threat of miscarriage. I understand the feelings of inadequecy, the self-loathing and the anger at God, the world, biology, genetics. I really do.
However, Church teaching, tradition and examples have made this much clearer for me, and through my own threatened miscarriage, it is what gave me peace.
The Church teaches that children are a blessing from God established through the union of a married man and woman engaging in sex the way it was intended. That is the only way children are ever supposed to be brought into the world as ordained by God. However, because humans take part in the creative process, we've got children born out of wedlock, we've got teen moms, abortions, child trafficking, etc.
What recourse does a couple have when they want children, but are biologically unable to produce those children?
The answer, in the Church's mind, is adoption and patience. I, for one, truly believe infertility is God's way to answer the problem of unwanted children. The Church also teaches patience on this through the examples of Sts. Joachim and Anne. They, too, were childless and infertile for MANY years. They trusted in God's Will and remained patient and prayed. As a result, they were blessed with the most perfect child (barring Jesus) in creation - the Blessed Mother.
IVF, "test tube babies" and surrogates are all contrary to Church teaching. Many people find that arrogant / heartless. How can an institution deny the basic desire to procreate with your own genes, especially when science has evolved to help us with that? The answer is simple - Science does not account for the Will of God, and those who chose the IVF route may very well derail the Will of God. Instead of granting that couple a child a month or two down the line (or even a year or two down the line) so he or she is the proper age to marry the person He created for her, or to have the teacher that would inspire him or her to become a religious, president, or doctor who cures cancer, they place their own desires above the desires of God through science. Slippery slope there.
We are asked to trust in God's Providence. We aren't asked to understand, just trust. In the end, God always rewards those who trust in His Will with countless blessings.
Also, I'd like to direct you to this article. Infertility is sometimes a gift given specifically so God can glorify His Blessed Mother through miraculous healings. We never can fully understand the Mind of God, so we do best to simply accept His Will with the trust that He will provide exactly what we need when we need it, both for our good, and the greater good of all people (children and future children alike).
All lives (past, present and future) are hand-made threads sewn into a tapestry that only God can see. When we attempt removing threads (through abortion), cutting threads short (euthanasia / murder), or pushing an extra thread through the needle before the time is right (IVF, surrogates, etc), the tapestry becomes sullied. God blessed us with the unique ability to take part in the creation process with Him, however, we have the responsibility to trust in His Design. Doing things contrary to His Will is a lack of trust in His Design, and I honestly feel that sin against Him must hurt most of all.
After all, God loves us so much and knows exactly what each of us wants / needs to reach salvation. He laid out the path for us to follow, but time and again we turn from that path for our own selfish reasons. Though a heartbreaking trial, infertility could very well mean salvation for not just the couple dealing with it, but the children they would have adopted had they not chosen IVF. Or the children THOSE children would have impacted positively having felt the loving embrace of adoptive parents.
We cannot see how the threads are to be intertwined. We don't know our parts to play until all is said and done. The best we can do is trust that God has our best interests at heart.
Infertility, at its root, is an opportunity to trust the Will of God and take part in Divine Providence.
My prayers are with all men and women dealing with this issue. It truly is a difficult cross to bear. May the angels surround you and guard you in your decisions, and may the Holy Spirit be kind and kiss you with extra wisdom, that you may see His Plans for you and your family.
Be warned - this contains graphic images and an impressive display of willful ignorance.
I wish Ray went over the "building" analogy. I'll delve into that more tomorrow, but I honestly felt like that was one of his stronger arguments and it fell off somewhere, almost as if he'd never brought it up.
All in all, his logic is wonderful. Pass it on.
Looking for something to make your heart soar above the clouds?
Look no further. Read one of the most perfect stories of Divine Providence ever right here. God, in His infinite Wisdom, made sure to have all the pieces come together in so perfect a way as to save not just the lives of the three children, but the children they may create one day (and so on down the line). God stepped in and said, "Take my special graces. I've aligned everything perfectly for each of you. Take heed and choose to accept these gifts which I so lovingly created for you." Each of them did. Blessings to those volunteers who acted as little angels paving the way for this triumph. Blessings to that specially selected tech who was called, unwittingly, to be there exactly when God knew she was necessary.
Upon reading this story, I felt like my heart was lifted out of my body, carried by my guardian angel to the gates of Heaven where I could repeatedly sing out my thanks for so generous a grace.
And if you're wondering why I should be thanking God for this at all, regardless of who it is, lives were saved. Who knows how those lives are meant to change the course of humanity... even my own little slice of it? Maybe one of those children will grow up to cure the cancer than my future grandchild will have? Maybe one of those children will marry Vincent! And if you wanna get REALLY creative, maybe 10 generations from now, one of the children now able to exist through this singular act of grace may be the person to establish time-travel. Who knows?! The point is, EVERY life give is a blessing to EVERY person on earth. Thus, God stepping in at this precise moment in so careful and brilliant a way is a special kind of blessing. These children (or their lineage) are meant for something wonderful. Blessings to ALL of them. :)
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