Blinded by success and praises,

     of our fellow man trek we.

Developing more innovations,

     from pain and death to be set free.

 

In 1965, members of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology decided in an unprecedented manner, that they knew what was best for women, and redefined the term “conception” as shown in the following excerpt from the book “The Contraception of Grief”,  written by Dr. Theresa Burke, Ph.D. and others. 

 

 “When a human egg joins with a human sperm (an action known as fertilization), a new 46-chromosomed human being is conceived.  By exploiting the hollow and deceptive corridors of language, however, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology decided to redefine the word “conception” over thirty years ago, coincidentally at the same time that artificial birth control was first being promoted.  The new terminology defined conception as occurring not at fertilization, but at the implantation of the blastocyst on the uterine wall, an action which typically occurs a full 1-2 weeks after that new 46-chromosomed human being comes into existence at fertilization. (ACOG Terminology Bulletin.  Terms used in reference to the fetus.  Chicago, ACOG, no.1, September 1965.)”

 

Why is this important?  Because this redefinition allowed doctors to “honestly” tell women that the pill and intra-uterine devices prevented pregnancy….according to their new definition.  The result is that millions of women, who would not dream of having an abortion, have actually done so; usually without knowing it - I am one of them.  Statistics in the same book estimate that birth control pills directly cause between 1.53 and 4.15 million chemical abortions per year in the United States – up to two and a half times the number of surgical abortions committed every year. That is staggering!

 

The soul knows.  Several months ago I learned that I did abort a baby while I was using an IUD in the late 80’s, and the grief is enormous!  People say that abortion is no big deal.  This is a lie; and because of it, women who find themselves feeling empty and full of sorrow after having had an abortion, often have nowhere to turn.  Those in the abortion industry don’t want to hear about their misery because it will mess up their ‘agenda’ and destroy their business.  They are afraid to tell family and friends because they are ashamed and believe they will be shunned.  Even people who do want to help them, often do not understand how deep the pain is and how long the process of grieving can be.  They wonder, “Why doesn’t she just get over it already?”

 

I must acknowledge that, in my ignorance, I have had the same question come to mind when someone has experienced a miscarriage.  I have learned though, that in addition to the physical changes experienced when a woman conceives a child, there are also psychic changes that occur.  The soul knows, and while it may lie hidden for many years if not given the opportunity to be felt……the soul still grieves the loss of the child.  This grief can be manifested in many, many ways that are usually never connected to the abortion or miscarriage.

 

Much of what I am writing about I have learned in a book titled, “Forbidden Grief” by Dr. Theresa Burke, who founded the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for the healing of abortion.  I went on one of these retreats this past June (2012) and it was a tremendous blessing for all involved.  Please pray for this ministry - they are doing God’s work.

 

I have struggled with this stanza.  There are numerous ways that ‘the powers that be’ in our country and our world have gone astray, placing overwhelming burdens on the backs of trusting men and women, in order to gain a perceived benefit.  There are also areas where science and technology are being greatly misused.  I wanted to include several of these issues in this article, but don’t have the knowledge or experience to do so.

 

But I do know something about abortion, its evil, and the consequences experienced by all of those connected to it; no one is immune. God has placed in my heart, a desire to pray for, and to provide whatever assistance I can, to those who suffer due to abortion.    Many of those who are lobbying and pushing for more abortion rights fall into the category of what I call, “Misery loves company.”  They have had abortions themselves, and cannot face, or choose to ignore, their own pain and sorrow, so they become great supporters of the ‘cause’ because each time another person joins them they can tell themselves the lie that they did the right thing all over again.  I did the same thing when I was in high school and started hanging out with the ‘wrong’ crowd, smoking and drinking.  I just didn’t know the reason why -  it was because they accepted me..  I also did the same thing each time I learned that another Catholic woman was using artificial contraception; “See, I’m not the only one…it must be okay.”

 

What possible reason could there be to change the definition of a biological FACT?  Sex.  The ability to have sex more frequently without the consequences of a baby.  You see, we already had a 100% safe and effective means of regulating birth.  Abstinence.  But that can be painful; one must deny themselves pleasure and exercise some self-discipline.  Apparently the cost was too high and they (members of the ACOG), decided that an orgasm was of more value than the integrity of a woman’s body or the life of a child.

 

The irony in this is that we are never satisfied with something that we can have freely whenever we want it. Things lose their value precisely because of their unlimited availability. On the other hand, things that are rare, things that we can enjoy only once in a while, are savored and looked forward to with anticipation, like Christmas treats, for instance.  Those who practice Natural Family Planning (NFP), especially if they have also studied the Theology of the Body (TOB), will tell you that their marriages and sex lives are better because they exercise discipline and self-restraint, and honor the integrity of their bodies as God designed them.

 

 

When we live according to the way God designed us we are happy and fulfilled.  We have all that we need.  When we do not live according to the way God designed us, we have a hunger inside, and no human being can fill that hunger.  It is a longing to be loved perfectly; and we work, and play hard, and we buy things, and we travel, and do all sorts of things in an attempt to fill the void inside, but as St. Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”

One of the things we do is to develop ways to avoid pain, and even dying. 

 

There is a Pink Floyd song called, “Comfortably Numb.”  While I definitely was not ‘comfortable’ with it, when I was on anti-depressants I felt a distinct disconnect between my head and my heart.  I couldn’t feel anymore!!  My psychiatrist told me that a lot of people report feeling kind of ‘numb’ while on their medication.  For me, the cure was worse than the disease and I quit taking them.  Within 48 hours I could feel again.  Thanks be to God!  I can’t help but wonder what effect this numbness has on the beliefs and behaviors of those who continue to use them.  (I fully acknowledge that some people do need medication for mental health issues.)  My own experience is that once I quit living a lie, when I stopped listening to the mainstream media and watching the popular TV shows, and I got serious about learning my faith, and living it, my anxiety and other mental disorders have greatly improved.

 

I think it is important to note the word ‘disorder’, and to consider it in light of how God created the world.  Everything is orderly; the seasons and weather patterns, day and night, the rotation of the planets around the sun, the rhythms of the ocean, of life and death in nature, and even life itself.  There is purpose and order in everything. Dis-order is not from God but from the evil one who seeks to rob us of the good that God has planned for us.

 

I live in a state where assisted suicide is legal, and I cannot help but feel sorrow for those who think this is somehow a kind thing to do.  Their actions are terribly misguided. We put animals out of their misery – people have souls, and only God, who created them and willed them into being, has the ‘right’ to end a life, and call the soul home.

 

They call it “death with dignity”, but dignity, as defined in the Catholic Dictionary is:

 

The excellence that deserves recognition and praise in a person or thing. Highest in dignity is God, whose superiority over all creation is the basis for adoration. (Etym. Latin dignitas, dignity, worthiness, worth.)

 

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that those who leave the timing and circumstances of their death in God’s hands, suffering patiently whatever pain and sorrow the Lord sends them, exemplify true dignity.  It seems to me that what is erroneously called ‘death with dignity’ would be more aptly described as ‘taking the easy way out’, and the potential for abuse is horrifying.

 

I believe that one of the most beautiful parts of our Catholic faith is that we know there is value in suffering.  It is not meaningless.  We may not like it, we may not understand it, but if we accept what the Church teaches, (and this is according to the examples that Jesus Himself left us), we receive the grace to bear our trials.  If we unite them to the suffering of Christ and offer them to God, they have the power to save souls, and we are able to participate in the work of salvation.

 

I find it interesting that, 2000 years after Jesus walked the earth, showing us the path to heaven and promising that through baptism we would become adopted sons and daughters of God the Father, death is still something we fear and want to avoid.   Fr. Bartunek said in one of his blog posts that “Death is punishment.”  I had not heard that before, and at first I was shocked!  Does God punish us with death?  Then I realized that it wasn’t direct punishment from God, but the natural consequence of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.  We all share in that; it is mysterious and unknown.  And so, being afraid of dying seems pretty normal. 

 

But what has Jesus promised us?  HEAVEN!!  DO WE BELIEVE that heaven awaits us?  Do we believe that we are beloved sons and daughters of the King of heaven?  If we do, we might have an attitude more like that of Fr. Pinto, the beloved founder of the Disciples of Jesus and Mary, who, being from India and living in the USA was often asked, “Where are you from Father?”  His reply, filled with love and joy was,  “I’m from heaven and that’s where I’m going back to when I die.”

 

St. Teresa of Avila teaches: “Life is to live in such a way that you are not afraid to die.”

 

Rather than trying to avoid something that is truly inevitable, it seems to me that we would do well to spend our time here learning to love God and preparing for the final leg of our earthly journey, so that instead of being afraid, our lives might gain us the grace of a peaceful and happy death.