The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Upside Down World

There's a story -- and I'm not sure how accurate it is -- that when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781 the British band of drummers and fifers played the 17th century English ballad, "The World Turned Upside Down." I suppose it must have seemed that way to the British whose supposedly invincible army had just suffered defeat at the hands of this undisciplined band of colonials...who were,of course, helped by the French. But they shouldn't have been too surprised by the defeat at Yorktown since human history is littered with similar events, those unexpected turnabouts when reality mocks the odds. Indeed, the British were the beneficiaries of one such upset in 1415 at Agincourt when, under Henry V and aided by the longbow, they completely overwhelmed a much larger French army. These things happen.

All of this came to mind last night when I was reading Isaiah and came across that wonderful verse: "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you" [Is 49:15].

When Isaiah asked that inspired question, the idea that a mother might neglect her child or despise the baby in her womb was unthinkable. This is what makes the question and its response so powerful: that we are loved by our God always, even if the unthinkable should happen and our mothers should forget us, even if the world turns upside down. And for centuries, at least in what was once Christendom, the world remained right-side up and mothers didn't think the unthinkable...until the 20th Century.

And what a century is was. Instead of the century of progress promised by the heirs of the Enlightenment, we were given a century of genocide, a century of death in all its forms. It was a century when Stalin and Hitler and Mao and Pol Pot and so many others slaughtered millions to impose their ideologies and their wills. But that just wasn't enough for them and their proteges. Not content with the murder of the walking innocent, they turned to the truly innocent, to the most defenseless among us, to the unborn in the womb. And what efficient killers they have become. For today it is estimated that each year throughout the world 42 million babies are aborted. In other words, 42 million mothers are "without tenderness for the child" of their wombs. Yes, the world has once again turned upside down.

And now, ten years into the next century, the slaughter continues unabated. We, can, however, help stop it. As Christians we can help turn the world right-side up once again. We won't accomplish this through political action, or protests, or letters to the editor, although each of these can help educate those who have allowed themselves to become insensible to the slaughter. No, only God can stop this new holocaust, but we can help bring it about through the power of prayer and fasting. If all Christians devoted one day every week to prayer and fasting I'm convinced that God would bring it to an end...for such is the power of prayer.

But time is running out. As Blessed Mother Teresa asked, "When  a mother can kill her own child, what is left of the West to save?"

Pray for LIFE!

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