A cold breeze pierced the air making way for the sun to light up our green hills in the East Bay, welcome after more light rain this week. For without light, colors fade into grays.
Just so, today we celebrated the saints and the light they have shone upon our world, turning the grays into greens, allowing us to see God and God’s heaven a bit more clearly.
Just so, parents across the land saw more clearly just what their students were being taught in public school – division, hate, and segregation all over again. They saw clearly, and they reacted with their votes. Numerous school boards were reshuffled. This was a victory for parents over the state, for freedom over slavery. Had it not been for the pandemic, these parents would not be any wiser. Somehow the clouds of lockdowns had silver linings, for parents saw with their own eyes through Zoom classes exactly what the teachers were teaching their children. God writes straight with crooked lines, as they say.
And just so, the unborn have been given a voice, a tiny voice, barely a whisper, but still light has been shone once again upon the genocide of the unborn. When I reach the pearly gates, what will I confess to St. Peter, or indeed Our Lord himself, about my silent role, my collusion, in this fifty-year genocide? Granted I have voted against this horror. I have supported those who marched against it. I have written and spoken. Will that be enough? It is a huge pandemic of life, of our nation, of the world, each day, each hour; a giant condemnation of America; a Holocaust, but of far greater numbers and time span.
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a radiologist, recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal (October 29, 2021) how her “youngest patients are unborn babies, and today’s ultrasounds show they are fully alive and human.” At fifteen weeks they “have all the proportions of a newborn…major organs are formed and functioning… the digestive, urinary and respiratory systems are practicing for life outside the womb… the heart is fully formed.” The baby is active, kicking and arm-waving:
“I watch as babies plant their feet against the uterine wall and stretch vigorously. Sometimes a delicate hand – with all five fingers – approaches the face and appears to scratch an itch. fingernails aren’t visible, but they are present. We can see how the bones of the leg meet the tiny ankles and the many-boned feet… the brain’s frontal lobes, ventricles, and thalamus fill the oval-shaped skull. The baby’s profile is endearing in its petite perfection: gently sloping nose, distinct upper and lower lips, eyes that open and close.”
Is this child owned by the mother it inhabits? Yes, say those who desire to end the child’s life. No, say the pro-lifers – owning someone else is called slavery. No one owns another person, regardless.
These questions are increasingly being raised in federal courts, as more and more Americans begin to see more clearly what we have “legalized” in a more primitive time, before ultra-sounds, in 1973. Soon the Supreme Court will hear a Mississippi case challenging abortions after fifteen weeks.
How did we arrive at this place in our history? Many say the manipulation of language has effected huge changes, the use of euphemisms that prevent seeing the deed as it truly is. Many have said that the “Newspeak” of Orwell’s 1984 has arrived, where the meaning of words are changed and some words are eliminated entirely. And with the manipulation of language comes the rewriting or even erasure of history.
Are we en-lightened or are we barbarians? What has blinded us so? Can we turn around and embrace these little ones, embrace the light of truth about the human condition?
I thought about this and about the light of the saints, their shining a light upon us all, their examples of selflessness and sacrifice, their witness to seeing reality as it truly is – I thought about these things as I worshiped in St. Joseph’s Chapel this morning, and I gave thanks for the testimony of the majestic organ notes that danced into the dome above the white-linen covered altar, above the candles burning bright, above the white tented tabernacle, and above the crucifix itself.
And I gave thanks for the beam of light streaming through the high clerestory windows, piercing the wood of the cross.
The love of God was in that space, with us, leading us, and teaching us through his humble priest bringing Christ in our midst. I was thankful for this moment of clarity.