Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Right to Life month

The parish bulletin this week included a truly beautiful leaflet from the Bishops' Conference. The cover was an image of the Visitation, with Elizabeth's arms open wide to welcome Mary, and her words "The infant in my womb leaped for joy." The inside was as thorough a presentation of contemporary life issues as anyone could ask for. One thing that impressed me a great deal in this presentation was the way it revealed how mistaken our culture's presumptions are when it comes to the meaning of life. Culturally, we assume that the meaning of life is achievement. What that does is give an opening to all those forces that would suggest that certain lives are not worth living: the ones that can never "accomplish" what our society considers valuable. Into this pile go all sorts of human beings, especially the most severely handicapped (many of whom now will no longer see the light of day anyway, because they are being aborted once their handicap is recognized). Embryos "created" and stored in laboratories may escape this pile, but only if we can "use" them for experimentation.
But is the meaning of life to be found in a list of accomplishments? This is where the Bishops' leaflet provides a culturally surprising call to conversion: to see every human life as God does is to know that we are made to love as God loves. And that a person's lovableness does not depend on his or her intellectual potential or physical self-sufficiency; that some people, in their weakness, are God's "instrument in bringing forth holiness from others" who learn love from them, "a power that can lead to [their] sanctification."
"You made us for yourself, O Lord..."


Anonymous said...

Many years ago in a wealthy parish, our Pastor made a comment that "the job does not define the man".
Those words always stayed with me, a man will be define by how he loves and respects his fellow man.

Dawn said...

Being the mother of several special needs children, I can attests to how very precious they are. Their simplicity and genuine love bring out the very best in people. Their lives may never amount to much in the world's eyes, but to their dad and I - and more importantly to God, their value is infinite.

Fred said...

Cheers to you Sister Ann for bringing this to our attention...this has not yet hit the Archdiocese of Atlanta, but I am sure it's in the works. But I still wonder why we can't get the same feelings going for those at the other end of life's mystery...the elderly and even the condemned...I'm not preaching at you, I just wonder why we seem so afraid to discuss those issues when we will all rally against abortion. ALL human life is precious, none of us has the right to destroy it in any form.

xaipe said...

Actually, the Bishops' leaflet covered pretty much all the bases. "[God's] love is present long before our brain waves can be measured...and long after our brains no longer function so well. His love is present long before our heart begins to beat...and long after our heart begins to fail..." "Some docotrs and ethicists claim that patients with dementia or in a so-called 'persistent vegetative state' are no longer really human.... And yet, however weak and vulnerable...they have the awesome power to inspire heroic, sacrificial love from their family members and caregivers..."