O Rex Gentium

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O King of the nations,

and their desire,

the cornerstone making both one:

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay.

Between Genesis chapter 1 and 2 we have the great accounts of how God created the human race.  Whether you believe that we were originally created from clay or not, There is no doubt that we are fashioned from our beginning by God.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.

Psalms 139: 13-14

It is not that we are born and forgotten but that we are loved even greater because we are created in the image and likeness of God. While people will often remind us that we are male and female, all different ethnicities and different, it does not diminish our value as human beings.

Being made in the image and likeness of God, comes from our very souls. Our souls are created to live on after our bodies decay. Our souls are immortal, they have a definite beginning and will have no end. This is similar to God who is eternal, He has no beginning and he has no end.

That being said St. Augustine reminds us “that our hearts are restless, until we rest in thee, O Lord.” This echos the greatness that every person is created in, from natural conception to natural death.

With two days until the vigil, please pray for those who have passed and are able to fully see the greatness of God this Christmas.

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Flirting with the Thin Pink Line

I live in a different world than many of my peers. Many are planning their exact 2.1 children, schools they will attend, and sports they will play. I am left wondering when or if my husband and I will ever have children.

Before you think I’m off my rocker, bear with me a bit. Medically, primary infertility is defined as a healthy couple trying to conceive for 1 year without achieving their first successful pregnancy. This is where my husband and I lie. We’ve been married and trying for 18 months, with barely adequate health insurance, and no money for testing.  Every month has been a struggle to wait and see what will come, then dealing with the heartbreak with each single pink line.

For some women one pink line is reason for rejoicing. Whether it was a failure of birth control, not ready for a child for any reason, a single pink line is a comforting thought. For me, one line often results in a minor emotional breakdown.

There are many times I get stuck with thoughts that tell me I’m not going to be a mother, or that I’m being punished for something I did. There are other times when I feel rotten for fighting back tears when I should be happy for friends and family who are expecting. Most often, though, I feel alone. So, I went searching for answers.

While doing research on the Papal Document Humanae Vitae, I stumbled upon another document entitled Donum Vitae. This document, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 1987, has a small section titled, “The Suffering Caused by Infertility in Marriage.” Here is an excerpt from that section. The emphasis is retained from the original text.

Nevertheless, marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation. A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.

I read that, and I can’t help but recall a conversation I had with my mom. When I was little, I would grab random things in a store and ask for them, like any kid. Occasionally, it would be the same item on separate trips, since we didn’t go shopping together more than once a month. Mom would often get the idea that this was something I was truly interested in. After I had heard “no” enough, I would stop asking. Then one day I would find a surprise, and it would be the item I had been asking for. Naturally, I would be even more excited because I received it as a gift. Just like Mom, God will give good gifts, and is also the giver of that “supreme gift” of a child.

A child “is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents.” When my husband and I were dating, we would often hear from our married friends that “someday our love will grow so large that in 9 months, we will have to give that love a name.” Whether our friends knew it or not, they were speaking a great truth of their sacrament. Sure, it can be argued that a child might be brought into a family situation that is less than ideal. But God understands the positive impact that can be brought into a family if they choose to view a pregnancy as a gift, rather than a burden.

How does all this relate to the lack of fertility I seem to be experiencing? Alone or not, infertility is something that many people encounter. As I’ve been writing this post, I think it comes down to perspective. I can look at the situation my husband and I are in and either find it as a way to grow or a way which will lead to despair. I often need to remind myself that infertility is not the end of the world. Ultimately, God is in control of my life. The gifts he will give me are great. I can choose to be persistent in prayer, but, ultimately, I am called to be patient.

A Ripple Effect

This time of year often encourages both sides of the abortion debate to look at precedence, necessity, legality, current and future effects of abortion. A great blog post has been written by Dr. Timothy Shaughnessy over at Truth and Charity. Dr. Shaughnessy is a doctor and professor of Economics at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

The math person in me looks  at the numbers which Dr. Shaughnessy presents makes my little math brain turn.

The problem is clear: in 1945 there were almost 42 workers for every Social Security recipient, but now one recipient is funded by only three workers. Of course, post-boomer generations have fewer births, and thus have to support more retirees, because so many of them are aborted (about 52 million in the US since Roe v. Wade). Compare this with the fact that in 2010 there were about 157 million workers paying to support 53 million Social Security recipients.

“Some Economic Consequences of Abortion” – Truth and Charity 1/17/2012

I look at the numbers in comparison, in 1942 the numbers looked like this 42 : 1, today they look like this 3 : 1. In seventy years the work force has depleted 14 times, that’s a total of 1400 percent. Yes, that includes the American population becoming stable after the Baby Boom and Vietnam War. Yikes!

At this point according to www.numberofabortions.com  53,483,681 abortions have been preformed in the United States alone since Roe V. Wade in 1973. This website bases their estimates on numbers from the Guttmacher Institute and the Center For Disease Control. These are numbers that I understand and that also shock me.

Regardless of numbers, there is no means that I can justify the necessity or desire for an abortion. I do not know what weight my voice will bear. I am not a mother, I have never been pregnant, I never have been in a situation where an abortion “may” be an option. However, I am a woman, I desire to be a mother, I feel confused about why women seek abortion as their option. What I do know will be the rest of my blog post.

1.     Life begins at conception. There is an entire field of science devoted to the study of the embryo in bilateral animals. This includes animals who are mammals, birds, fish and most insects. They all agree that the embryo is alive at fertilization. That being said, two humans can only have a human offspring. Their embryo/fetus is human as well.

2.     Merriam – Webster defines abortion as the following

1 : the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as
a: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare miscarriage
b : induced expulsion of a human fetus
c: expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy — compare contagious abortion
2:monstrosity

http://www.Merriam-Webster.com – Abortion (Emphasis mine)

3.      Blessed Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae states the following:

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (Jn 8:34).

Having the ability to make the legal choice to have an abortion does not remove the alignment of the act. Just because something has been labeled as legal does not mean that it is the termination of an unprotected life is any less grave.

4.     To claim to be pro-life is not only to say that you are against abortion but you respect life in all forms from natural conception to natural death. Situations such as IVF, Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Death Penalty, and Do Not Resuscitate Orders also need to be addressed. (and perhaps in another blog post)

5.     There are other options besides abortions. There are agencies and people in the United States who are devoted to helping women who have “unwanted” pregnancies. These include two online resources are www.adoption.com and www.birthright.org. There are those who are willing to pay for the expenses of adopting a child.

I am only one voice and there is so much that can be said about abortion.  So I leave you with this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

CCC – 2270

P.S. At the conclusion of writing this blog post 53,483,828 abortions have been preformed in the United States.

Call to Arms

Lately I’ve been busy with a myriad of different youth events, NCYC, Thanksgiving suppers, service events, classes, meetings, planning and stuff. A lot of it is busy work but it is busy work I enjoy, most of the time, however there are issues that get brought up that require some more immediate attention. Things get set aside, projects delayed and occasionally there are times that spur you to action.

There is one woman who has set out to make difference. “The Guiding Star Project is the next stage of the pro-woman movement. Join us in creating holistic, comprehensive centers nationwide that provide support for natural means of family planning, fertility care, childbirth, breastfeeding, and family life.” Her dream is beautiful and has a true purpose.

I love getting their updates and knowing what they are working on. I think their work is valuable and is in direct opposition to the “Culture of Death” that has permeated first world countries to the core. I was shocked to find this as a Facebook update today.

We were contacted today by one of our friends in Ohio who brought to our attention that the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) is now promoting an ad Campaign sponsored by the local abortion provider Preterm. The movement called “My abortion, My life” seeks to “Help people see abortion for what it is: a normal and necessary part of women’s reproductive lives and health.”

The Guiding Star Project (emphasis mine)

“A normal and necessary part of women’s reproductive lives and health?” First may I be so bold to ask what makes abortion normal of any woman’s life? Google, “define abortion” and this is what you find

a·bor·tion/əˈbôrSHən/

Noun:

1. The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy.

2. A miscarriage.

It is debatable that abortion by its secondary definition is normal. By normal I include circumstances such as illness of the mother, pre-exsisting conditions, and unknown reasons leading to a natural end to human life. There is pain and suffering in the result of a miscarriage but through the whole duration of a pregnancy that ends in a miscarriage there is dignity of human life and design.

The primary definition of abortion, “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy” (emphasis mine) is where we can call for an honest look at abortion. I am also looking at the syntax used in these definitions.

Thesaurus.com lends me some help, the synonyms for deliberate include the following: advised, cold-blooded, designed, meticulous, planned, predesigned, premeditated, reasoned, scrupulous, thought out, voluntary, and willful.

You can see the full list here http://thesaurus.com/browse/deliberate

One last call to Google for help, define murder.

mur·der/ˈmərdər/

Noun: The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

Verb: Kill (someone) unlawfully with premeditation.

The only difference between abortion and murder, by the definitions, is a question of legality. Murder is legally wrong while abortion is protected by Roe v. Wade, 1973.

Regardless of where you stand on the position of abortion, I think we can agree that an abortion is a serious choice that requires a lot of thought and preparation. I do not know of a single woman who has entered into a clinic seeking an abortion on a whim. The choice of whether a person seeks an abortion or not takes thought and time.

I agree with Preterm’s stance that abortion does need to be discussed in an open forum. That is all I agree with Preterm about. However, to call an abortion a “natural and necessary” part of a woman’s life absolutely disgusts me. Abortion by its very nature dares to end a life with a variety of different implements or chemicals by changing a woman’s body to end a pregnancy in a horrific nature.

Here are some of the folks I have mentioned.

The Guiding Star Project:

Website: www.theguidingstarproject.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGuidingStarProject

My Abortion My Life

Website: http://www.myabortionmylife.org/

Rachel’s Vineyard: Catholic Counseling for Post Abortion

Website: www.­rachelsvineyard.­org

Struggling

It’s always a somewhat good feeling when you can look at your life from a different persons perspective and hear the imaginary person say, but you’ve got it all put together. You have a decent job, your husband is going back to school, you are well put together and you are living comfortably. Just writing that makes me want to pull my hair out. Writing that makes me wonder how fake we’ve been over the last 9 months, or have we been?

I’ll admit, our little fledgling marriage is much further than we thought it would be but no where close to where it might go. We accept that, take joy in it, roll up our sleeves and get working.  That in itself is not the struggle.

When I got married, I joined a family where my hubby is the 4th of 6 kids. We were the 3rd wedding of 4 in two years. I gained a total of 6 nieces and nephews, who are all completely adorable. Since we got married, 3 of my in laws have gotten pregnant, including the couple that just got married last month. I wish them love and  every happiness in the world. I will have a new nephew in October, and two undisclosed little ones; one in January and one in April. Each one is loved, a gift and completely unplanned. All of the above, I’m ok with. What I’m not ok with is I’m not pregnant too.

The running joke before our wedding and at our reception is we will be pregnant in a month. Nine months later and not even the hint of a positive pregnancy test, including a test this morning. My husband and I knew that with our life as it is, wouldn’t be ideal for a child but we wanted to try. Go ahead and call me selfish but I have my reason, I am at high risk for infertility.

Before you laugh and balk, my grandmother went into menopause early at 27 after having my aunt. My mom had stage 4 endometriosis that she had to have treated several times before she had me. Then she went into early menopause after she had me at 30. My mom’s sister was completely unable to have children after a uterine cancer treatment rendered her sterile at the age of 26. Low and behold here I sit at 25, my periods have become highly irregular and all I can do is pray for a breakthrough bleed to reset my cycle. Things are not looking good, and my doctor thinks I’m crazy because I think that I’m going to be the same way.

Go ahead and call me selfish, but a family is something I’ve always wanted to share life with. I just didn’t want it only to be as the doting aunt who rarely gets to see her nieces and nephews. It hurts looking at my family history and knowing that, I just may not ever get pregnant.

So I leave with this thought, cranky and somewhat cantankerous as I am being, I am loved, I have 9 nieces and nephews that I adore, I have two families that love my husband and I, and a husband I wouldn’t trade for the world. In faith, I need to step forward and keep going because I will never make progress if I stay stuck in the present.