February was a remarkable month. Looking back I have a few high-points and a few low-points. Let me share one of each.
In February, the first anniversary of the tragic quake, at the memorial service, our Prime Minister who professes no Christian or Religious belief, announced to the world:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8)
That was a significant high point.
The low point came last Saturday morning when I was reading the Press. One of the letters to the editor left me unsettled for the week. It has constantly been on my mind.
What does it mean for our society that a citizen could end his letter with this brief paragraph?
Before I share the paragraph I need to say that this unsettling (shocking even) sentence let me to gratitude to God for a perspective that leads me to see and think (and please God act) with the bigger picture in mind. Thanks be to God many of us are gifted with a vision that embraces human life at every age from conception to natural death.
Now, here is that low-point paragraph. Your own thoughts and reflections are welcome.
“Doctors who help end unwanted pregnancies should be admired as courageous contributors to the battle to save our beautiful planet”.
Maybe this citizen should be thanking God, that a “courageous contributor” didn’t think our planet would be more beautiful by ending their pregnancy!
For me, your low point is connected to being in touch with reality – or, in the case of the letter to the editor writer, not being in touch with reality – and how important it is for us to keep in contact with Reality.
Abortion is no longer seen as wrong by many people. It is acknowledged to be painful, it involves struggle, it’s “not necessarily easy”. But what I find most disconcerting in recent abortion discussions that I’ve been a part of is that arguments that previously belonged to the “pro-life camp” – centring on the child, and what is best for the child – are now used by the “pro-abortion camp”. Parents who say, “if it was simply up to us, we would have kept the child, but he would have been in so much pain, his life would have been so difficult, so for his sake we chose abortion.” Or others who say, “we simply wouldn’t have been able to look after her, modern life is so difficult, so for her sake it is better this way.”
Your letter to the editor writer approaches things from another angle. There are some parents (at least this is the latest trend in Belgium) who fully agree that their aborted child is a child, their child, and they intend to talk about this child with any future children they have. They choose abortion because it is in the “best interests” of their child. Others, like your letter to the editor writer, have made everything far too abstract. For them, a child is more an “idea”. Sometimes I think they’ve bought into the idea of “disembodied souls” that are floating around in space waiting for the right body. They can thus talk about “saving our beautiful planet”, because of a split between ideas and bodies. The diseased, malformed, imperfect children that are the victims in this battle to save the planet do not count for them, because I think for them they do not exist, they are simply ideas…
Anyone who is involved in abortion has a skewed view of reality. You cannot say that death is preferable to pain and disease, that abortion is prevention of pain, that the world will be more beautiful by not allowing any pain… and still be in touch with reality. And the surest way to keep in touch with reality is to be continually immersed in it in prayer, especially in communal prayer, in the prayer of the Church (speaking as a Catholic here, to Catholics – not sure who reads this blog!) Praying together as Church reminds us continually that pain is real and salvation is real-er. That God does not run away from pain, and that he has made very single part of us and wants to redeem every single part of us. This is courageous: to continually submit ourselves to God’s reality, to God who is our ultimate Reality. He knows what is beautiful far better than we do.