Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

As I reflect on Respect Life Sunday I can't help but feel as though I'm in a Charles Dicken's novel. As I look around me it truly does seem to be both the best of times and the worst of times. On the one hand I have been privileged to baptize three children this past weekend including one born to an unwed mother. All of these families, inspite of the obvious difficulties some of these births present, have JOYFULLY welcomed these children into their families and, as of this last weekend, our family of faith.

Contrast this with the story I read this past week on a friend's blog about:
The following narrative illustrates something we encounter all too frequently outside abortion facilities – teenage girls brought in by their mothers. This situation happened during last spring’s 40 Days for Life. We ask you to join us in observing 40 Days for Life this fall, to pray for an end to abortion – so no 15-year-old girl, or anyone, will ever be forced into abortion again.She had somewhere to go. On her way, Teresa thought she would stop by the abortion clinic on Farwell Ave. in Milwaukee and pray for an hour as part of the 40 Days for Life campaign. It was Friday and she was praying at the clinic when a young girl of 15 walked up to the clinic, obviously pregnant.
I’ll call her Doris (not her real first name). She was there with her boyfriend. She told Teresa she was 21 weeks pregnant and did not want to have an abortion. Her mother wanted her to have an abortion. Her mom was threatening to sue her boyfriend if she did not kill her child. The boyfriend did not want her to abort their child. Teresa and a sidewalk counselor tried to offer her help and other options. She went in the clinic anyway, but on her way in she turned to Teresa and said, “Are you going to be here when I come out?” Teresa replied yes, not knowing when Doris would come out. Teresa would be late to her next stop.When Doris came out of the clinic, she would only tell Teresa that she had made an appointment for the abortion the next day at 8:30 am. The abortion clinic had closed the deal. Teresa and others promised to pray for Doris and her child. Teresa would return to the clinic the next morning after many hours of prayer and after asking an army of people to pray for Doris and her child. It was hoped that she would not return to the clinic but when Doris did return, she was extremely sad and said, “I can’t back out now, my mother has paid $2,000 to the clinic.”Teresa describes Doris as “well off” in her appearance, not poor. However Doris is truly the poorest of the poor when her own mother forces her to abort her large, kicking unborn child. Doris’ mother does not realize that Doris will at least resent and probably hate her for a very long time. Teresa was afraid her mother wouldn’t care. If that is so, how poor is that?“Are you going to be here when I come out?” Even though Doris felt she had to give in to the extreme coercion that she was under, she still wanted to know, “Are you going to be here when I come out?” Is this not the cry of the poor? Was she not begging for someone to come after her with love? Are we not all wanting God to “come after us” when we sin? Are we not all called to be the hands and feet of Christ to the women coming to the abortion clinic who are so poor that they are not just hungry; they are so poor that they feel trapped into having their babies stolen from them by a curette or a suction machine at our abortion clinic… right here in Milwaukee? Can we not find an hour or two to pray for these women, to be there for them, to offer them love and hope?

It is truly the best of times and the worst of times.

Abortion is not the only front however. Women in Mexico killed their infant children days and weeks after their births into the world. Abortion advocates and femnists made it sound like they had been imprisoned for having abortions and the Mexican legislative and judicial organs were sent into overdrive because of these lies.

In America, in certain states, one can neglect one's parent(s), spouse, or others, making them feel like they are a burden on the family because of the needs brought on by their advanced age or medical condition. Not wanting to be a burden they begin to consider assisted suicide.

This is contrasted with the many elderly people whom I visit who are taken care of so lovingly and devotedly by their families. I often hear from them also, "Oh! I don't want to be a bother! I know how busy everyone is." But I also see the smiles and little chuckles when their children tell them how much they love them and how it is not any bother at all.

It is the best of times and the worst of times.

Finally, I read about those who are encouraged to abort children because of the possibility of birth defects. I also read about the ongoing intellectual groundwork being laid to justify the forced subjection of those with severe mental challenges to medical testing/experimentation.

Contrast this with a friend of my parents who gave birth to a child with Downs Syndrome. Several years after the boy was born I saw this mother in the grocery store and she told me, with tears in her eyes, about what a blessing this boy has been in the lives of her whole family. Yes, his condition demands consistant and constant attention, therapy, adjustments in family life, etc. But what he has given to that family in love and joy far outweighs any other factors.

It is the best of times and the worst of times.

There is so much for which to give God praise and thanksgiving. There is also much work for us to do. May our Father in heaven continue to fill our hearts with the love necessary to overcome the evil in our midst.