Respecting At All Moments God’s Gift Of Life

Human life is a precious gift from God, who is the origin and end of human life. Life begins at the very moment of conception.  When the child is conceived in the womb of the mother, then at the same time, God intervenes and infuses an immortal soul into that human person.

Life is precious at all moments of existence from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death. 

The baby speaks in praise of God his creator in Psalm 139:13-16. Listen attentively as the baby praises the wonderful work of God in forming him, even knitting him in the depths of his mother’s womb:

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!  My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth…”

On the opposite side of the spectrum we find elderly people, “Downs” children, and disabled people.  Today  in the eyes of a society in which Materialism, Power, Vanity, Pleasure and Beauty have become nothing less than the modern “Gods”, these individuals who cannot produce very much economically, nor do they shine for beauty and success are seen as an economic burden to society.  They are viewed as useless, worthless, like objects to be discarded.   Human life has become cheap.   Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta made the prophecy that if the smallest and most vulnerable member of society--- the unborn child in the womb of the mother--- is to be discarded and disposed through abortion, then all of human life will lose its intrinsic, innate value.  Life becomes cheap. Persons become objects to be utilized and exploited and discarded at will.

This system was promoted by Economic-political, English philosophers, J.S. Mill and Jeremy Bentham in a system coined as UTILITARIANISM.    This long word simply means that the human person’s value is in direct proportion to his economic productivity.    In other words, the more the person can make monetarily and produce in the realm of economics, then the greater that person is.  Consequently, if he can no longer produce and this might be an elderly person with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or somebody dependent on dialysis or a downs person, then he forfeits the right to exist.

How contrary this view is to the view of God manifested in the Incarnate Word Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, both in His own Person and in the exquisite and gentle, as well as loving way that He treated all, especially the poorest of the poor.  Contemplate the life of Jesus!

Born in the stable of animals of humble and poor parents, working as a poor carpenter until he was 30 years, living three years as an itinerant preacher with no permanent abode: “The foxes have their holes and the birds of the air have their nest but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Finally, He ends His life stripped, scourged, nailed to the cross and laid in a borrowed tomb.

Who were Jesus’ favorites?   In the eyes of the Utilitarians, those worthy of being discarded and rejected were the ones he loved most!   They would line up to see, hear and touch Jesus and He never rejected them but invited all to come.  “Come to me all who are weary with heavy burdens and I will give you rest…” (Mt 1:28...)  The blind, the lame, the sick, the paralytics, the deaf and mute as well as the lepers--- they all felt the magnetic attraction of Jesus.

Life is a precious gift from the Creator--God Himself.  God Himself has stated this in numerous Biblical passages. Job in the midst of his intense sufferings cries out: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I return to the earth.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Even in the Constitution of the United States of America our founding Fathers clearly asserted the value of every human person.   “Each and every individual has inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Today more than ever there is being waged a mortal battle between good and evil, light against darkness, love against hatred, the spirit of true sacrifice against selfishness and egotism.

However the clearest battle today is in the words of Pope John Paul II in his encyclical “Gospel of Life”: the Culture of death in opposition to the Gospel of life.  The Bible gives us many names for the devil: the ancient serpent, Beelzebub, the prince of this world, demon, devil, and the dragon of the Apocalypse.  Still, one of the most poignant and penetrating names for the devil expressed by Jesus Himself is “Father of lies and a  MURDERER   from the beginning”.   The devil is a consummate liar, already seen from the account of lying to Eve in the Garden of Eden.   But also the devil is a murderer; he relishes in lies, hatred, violence and death.  There is no better modern rendition of the devil as violent and bloodthirsty murderer than in the classic movie of Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ.

One last comment with respect for fostering the weak, the vulnerable and those whom the world considers useless and worthy of disposing at will, and it is in the person of the “Downs” child.  Chilling statistics point out that mothers who have pre-natal tests manifesting an extra chromosome—meaning that it is a  “Down’s child”—close to 90% of these mothers make the catastrophic decision to abort that child.  Once again utilitarianism: human worth depends on economic productivity.

However any of you who have met one who has been blessed by God to be a “Downs-child” will recall the extraordinary blessings of that child. What are some of the typical character traits?  Innocence, transparency, joy, spontaneity, love, tenderness, compassion, honesty, patience.   In a world where innocence is lost at a very young age, duplicity reigns far and wide, love has grown cold, and tenderness curdles into hardness of heart, the Downs child points to Jesus Himself.   If parents of “normal” teenagers were asked who caused more problems the so called “normal” teen or the Downs, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the normal teenager causes more headaches, ulcers and sleepless nights!

In conclusion, we must hold high the  Ignatian standard, the standard of Blessed Pope John Paul II, the standard of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which is the standard of the beauty, the dignity, the value of every human being that God brings into existence.  Every human being has infinite value because all were redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.   In the words of holy Job let us pray:  “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb and naked I return to the earth. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”