Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Cloud of Holy Innocents: a Litany of the Unborn Saints Who Died Since January 22, 1973

      "They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead, ... But they are in peace... And they shall dart about as sparks through stubble... " (Wisdom 3:1-6).  In Heaven, there may well be this most exquisite site -- a swirling magnificent cloud of intense light- those people whose most pure and fragile bodies were attempted to be destroyed through abortion.  Yet, we as Catholics know that when a person is created by our Heavenly Father, the Author of the universe and of life itself, it is forever alive and no less valuable and worthy of great love and respect, no matter how small.
        Fr. Daniel Berrigan once compared the "new" law passed from Roe vs. Wade (he wrote this in the 70's) as to "clubbing your neighbor and eating him."  He continued with how this generation and era will be looked on aghast by future generations in the same manner that we look upon former cruel practices in history involving deaths of innocent people.  He then pondered if he even belonged to this planet, grieving over such a law that a woman can kill this most vulnerable baby of her own, still inside of her.
         On the eve of yet another year of this law (the count is at approximately 50 million people), may we, as Catholics, come together in deep prayer and beatitudinal action to look closely at the causes of teenagers and women, young and old, aborting their babies, as well as at the very law itself. 
        Some may think that the law will never change, and that if it flips, it will flip back right away.  I have fallen into this thinking at times.  I was wrong.  With God all things are possible, even this most hideous law changing for good. Along with reversing this law and placing a new one across our country, my equally fervent prayer is that we do lift a finger to help these people, not simply to ensure that the baby is born, but to help the family (parents and child) after the baby is born, the nearly equally critical time.  Jesus railed against the Scribes' hypocrisy for laying down the law and not lifting a finger to help.  Hopefully we contine to be pro-life in sustaining these marginalized children and their families.
       Dorothy Day always said that if every Catholic home that could would have a "Christ Room" there would be no need for Catholic Worker Houses.  Perhaps if every home had a Christ Room for a poor person or small family, they would have no need - at a critical point in their lives - to abort a child of theirs.  I had a Christ Room and took in four women over the years.  One was an unwed mother through Catholic Social Services (*correction from Catholic Charities).  It was a difficult time in my life, partly because we were on WIC trying to get by, but Peter Maurin always emphasized that hospitality to the poor was to be done "at a personal sacrifice."  Also, she had lied by about three months her due date to escape a drug-addicted boyfriend, saying she was farther along.  I ended up having my third child within 3 weeks of her baby, and so, we had two newborns in the house for a while.
        For a few years I have been helping a Mexican family of seven whose father committed suicide when she was nine months pregnant for their last one. They are now a family of nine. Four of the children have been my beloved students.  I bring food to them once a month and have them over at other times.  Anything and everything helps others while we attempt to live the pro-life lifestyle.
       God made every sacred human being on this planet, born and unborn, in His own image and likeness, with such unimaginable love for each one's most unique and perfect design.  He has every hair on all our heads counted.  He knew us before we were born and knit every one of us in our mothers' wounds.  Not only are we fearfully, wonderfully made, but God Himself is within every person, the world over, as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta reiterated when she said, "I see God in every human being." In the Gospel of Life", Blessed John Paul II writes: "... Man has been given a sublime dignity, based on the inimate bond which unites him to his Creator: in many there shines forth a reflection of God himself."
        Right now six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court, or two-thirds, are from the Catholic faith.  As Barbara Perry, a government professor at Sweetbriar College said, "Now we've moved from [the idea of] a Catholic seat to a Catholic court."  There is no better time than now to pray for them and to write to them.
        In terms of the causes of abortion, 70% are committed out of desperation and poverty.  We cannot claim to be pro-life and anti-abortion without directly affecting the situations, crises, and lack of help that push a woman to feel she has no other alternative.  Let our prayers not forget this huge aspect for the unborn children who would be killed even if the law changes.  Any and every avenue - at a personal level and national level - every program, policy, and organization  possible are called forth to help this struggling group of people.  Peter Maurin always said that we should all "work toward a world where it is easy to be good."
       Truly, you were in this most vulnerable state at one time, and were entirely at the mercy of your mother, or of society intervening, if she decided to kill you.  As we proceed, we are always mindful not to judge or condemn the mothers or fathers because we have not felt their depths of despair and pain.  We have not lived in their shoes.  We are to only pray, support, and strive to save.