This marks my last of five Biblical meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries and 40 Days for Life, using Rosary Army’s Scriptural Rosary. In the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery meditation, consider Jesus’ words from the cross:
“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'” (Lk 23:34)
There are many, perhaps, who know of the physical processes of abortion. They know what a baby suffers–and what a mother suffers–and don’t care, or find it worthwhile. Those still do not know the *spiritual* effects of what they do (or allow to be done). There are spiritual effects: to the doctor and others performing the abortion, to the mother losing a child (even if she doesn’t consciously acknowledge it that way), and to the people approving or allowing it to happen.
That last group, those who allow it to happen, may ask “who am I to tell them what is right or wrong?” “Who am I to tell someone else what to do?” “Am I my brother’s keeper?” They ask that Biblical question, never considering who it was that first said it.
Or else they make excuses for allowing the physical effects, never considering the spiritual harm–especially the spiritual harm to themselves. C.S. Lewis put it best, at the end of his sermon on “the weight of glory”:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”
That applies to how we help ourselves as well as where we lead others. There are effects on society, on the whole of us, in each “choice” we make. What two names did Jesus use from the cross? Mother and Father. (cf Jn 19:26-27, Lk 23:46) These are the most important names, the most important roles. These give us life. They build society. They save the world. Yet motherhood and fatherhood are tossed around and tossed away cheaply. They’re abandoned, as if someone could stop being a mother by disposing of a child. They’re belittled, as one activity or occupation among equals. “Father” is not a job like “accountant” or an activity like “stamp collector”. To be a father is to echo, in some way, the fatherhood of God. It is to carry some of God’s creative and sustaining power. To be a mother is to subcreate, to do the most powerful thing in the world: give life. The create. To call into being. These are not jobs, they’re superpowers.
Being a mother or father is a gift, not just for ourselves and for our children but for the world. The gift may be unwanted or unasked–or undeserved–but it remains a gift. And it is a gift the world desperately needs, that the world needs to see used well and worthily.
Being a mother or father is a call to arms: against the nihilism that denies any reason for a child to live, against the materialism that commodifies people, against the reversed sexuality that loves objects and uses people. One may answer the call with full knowledge and consent, or be drafted unwillingly, but they are in the battle nonetheless. They may have small parts to play or large, but they are all vital. They are literally “vital”: life-giving–to the child, to one’s own spirit, to society, and to the world. When we all lose that vision of “mother” and “father”, we all lose. Period.
Copyright 2016, Joe Wetterling