Respect Life Sunday

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My homily notes from today. Transcribed from my Palm.
Radical choice costs something.
Leave behind - go forward.
Leave the comfort and step out in faith.
Don't be like the squid, who having found a rock of security then consumes his own brain.
Let God challenge us.
Let us follow where he leads.
Take the chance if it is time to move on.
What tangles up our lives?

4500 abortions daily in the USA alone! Not only women are affected. Men are hurt by Fatherhood Aborted.
We are called to be agents of mercy.
We all struggle with our personal sin(s).
We take our self (selves) out of communion (excommunicate our selves) by our sins.
We lose when we proclaim I not we.
Father actually did an excellent job tying together the message of the readings with the pro-life message. Jonah was sent to proclaim the Lord's message to Ninevah - he fought it but eventually obeyed the Lord and the people of Ninevah repented. Are we listening to the Lord's commandment to carry His message to His people? Are we letting our fear keep us from proclaiming the Gospel - especially the Gospel of life, the message of repentance and forgiveness? Have we listened to God's call in our life? Are we willing to leave behind our present life to become "Fishers of men"?
Tonight in confirmation prep we also discussed life issues. The first hour was a presentation from the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. She brought in models of fetal development and showed the kids just what the unborn look like at various stages of development. She talked about the 3-fold mission of the CPC to protect the innocent unborn:
prevention through chastity (abstinence based teaching);
intervention through providing counselling, referral to prenatal care, ultrasound to show moms their baby, financial and social support;
and rehabilitation - after abortion counselling, healing, and referrals.
Then we broke into the small groups for the second hour. My small group has several kids from the local Catholic High school. My co-teacher is an attorney and I am in health care so we decided to break the subject up between us. He talked about Law and Morality and how being a practicing Catholic is counter cultural because we believe in Absolute Truth and firm moral laws (and that the laws of God are more important than the laws of man). I talked about the realities of abortion and taught the specifics of what the Church says about life issues. You know, the non-negotiable issues. Like the right to life begins at conception and ends at natural death. And that direct abortion is always morally wrong. And that euthanasia and destructive embryonic stem cell research are morally evil. And we talked about how best to prevent abortion (chastity). And how the sin of abortion often is the consequence of other sins like adultery, fornication, or contraception (that last one perked up a few eyebrows but we didn't have time to get fully into it).
I'm not quite sure how we got into it, but the morality (or lack thereof) of in vitro fertilization got into the conversation. Many of the kids were quite unconvinced that IVF was morally wrong - and believing that IVF was OK they were then arguing that embryonic stem cell research was perfectly OK because "You might as well get some use because they're going to die anyhow. I mean, what if they could save thousands of lives?" To which I pointed out that I'm going to die anyhow and maybe I should let them cut me up and use my organs to save the lives of a dozen other people?
We had a good discussion going and I wish that we would have had another hour or so.......

I love teaching these kids. My biggest frustration is that the sequence of teaching is somewhat erratic so that there isn't always a good foundation for the designated subject matter. My other frustration is that there is so little time. We get 2 hours every other week over - that's it. It isn't much time compared to sports, TV, and the family's social lives. But we do what we can. pray for us?


the sin of contraception? I still don't understand that one... esp since you put me on contraception at 17 under the pretense that I was heading to college, tho I wasn't "active" at the time.
are you forgiven for that sin? is it a cardinal one?
i just don't get it.

14 years ago, when we put you on ocps, it was because you had been having incapaciting periods for years and missing 3 to 5 days of school a month. The doctors had wanted me to put you on them much earlier, but I didn't want to risk you losing even one inch of height due to premature closing of your bones from the estrogen. I now know many other, better ways to help deal with severe dysmenorrhea, but at the time what I was remembering was that your paternal aunt at the age of 23 had been hospitalized with a life threatening hemorrhage due to severe endometriosis (she ended up getting a transfusion!) - and that I was afraid that you also had endometriosis - and I knew that the pills would decrease your risk of ending up with a hemorrhage or being so in pain that you wouldn't be able to cope with college.
Would I do it this way again? Probably not. But it did work.
I have learned a lot about what my adopted faith really teaches especially over the last 5 or 6 years. When I was younger, I got conflicting messages from some very well-meaning but totally confused priests. With the advent of the internet and the ready availability of original documents (papal encyclicals etc), I have realized that I was wrong, horribly wrong - both in what I did in my personal life AND (more especially) in what I have prescribed or advised in my professional life. Even though I have confessed my sins, and am trying to do reparation for them, I fully expect to have a long time in Purgatory because the temporal effects of my earlier sins have been so very wide-spread.
A publication that had a strong influence of me was the transcript of a talk by Janet Smith - Contraception, Why Not. please read it.
It really affected me to realize just how much of our sick culture and the harm to women from sexual exploitation came out of the ready acceptance of contraception, especially the pill. I don't expect that you will agree with my opinions here, I know that I raised you to be both skeptical and cynical (and that's another sin for which I will be doing penance for a long time).
As you realize from having grown up in our family, I have gone through various levels of committment to being Catholic over the years. I have gone from enthusiastic to rebellious to perfunctory and all the stages in between. But I finally realized that if I do believe that Jesus came to save us from sin, and that He founded a church to carry on his work, and that He gave that church authority to interpret His commandments (to bind and to loose, as it says in Matther 16:17-19). that I needed to either be obedient or to leave. I have chosen obedience. It hasn't been easy. Four years ago I offered to resign from my job because I don't want to prescribe contraception. I refuse to do 'options counseling' that places abortion on an equal footing with adoption and parenting. I am referring patients to Natural Family Planning classes and using these techniques myself to chart my cycles. I am using NFP techniques to help with gyn issues and having good results in those ladies who are willing to take the extra time.
I truly regret that I was not more generous, that I didn't listen to you kids who asked me to consider giving you a baby brother all those years after Bethany was born. I regret my selfishness and anxiety. I can't go back and change those years. All I can do is to move forward and to try to protect another generation from making some of the mistakes I made.

At least you and your co-teacher seem in sync with each other. That was not my experience many years ago. But my question is: are these kids who are "quite unconvinced" that IVF is wrong, and that it's all right to kill embryos for their stem cells - which means that they do not accept the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life - going to be asked to conform their consciences to that teaching, or will they be confirmed nonetheless?

These are first year kids, we have time. I did mention that by being confirmed that they will be acknowledging that they believe the teachings of the church to be true and that they intend to acknowledge the authority of the church. We will see what happens down the road.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on January 22, 2006 11:01 PM.

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