and a time for every affair under the heavens....a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
I have been stewing on this post for a few days now. It has kept me awake, it has swirled through my dreams, and it has commanded my waking hours, demanding to be written but refusing to be titled. And so I write, with racing thoughts and brimming heart, my soul at once broken and steeled with resolve.
There have been several events over the past few days that have stirred the proverbial pot from which this post comes. My husband's grandmother was called to her eternal reward last week. As with any passing, memories come alive and I contemplate the impact that person has had in my life, immediate and long-term, direct and indirect. It also leads me into gardens of remembrance of others who have gone before me, whose lives have left indelible impressions on me, on the woman I am and have been, and on the world around me. I think of life and death, and the journey from our first stirrings in this world until our last breaths, and I am quieted and humbled by what C.S. Lewis called the "intolerable compliment."
Last Friday, by Presidential order, a full frontal attack was launched against the Catholic Church and the right of Catholic institutions and Catholic employers to omit contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and procedures from their health care plans. (You can read more about the order HERE.) I have been wary of government intervention in the private affairs of citizens, but never before have I felt myself (or a group with which I identify myself) singled out and targeted because of a moral conviction. To say that I am shaken is an understatement.
Yesterday, our nation marked a tragic landmark in our history. Thirty-nine years ago, the Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court struck down state laws in all 50 states, creating a Federal mandate for abortion-on-demand in this nation. Since that time, nearly 40 million innocent children in our country have been denied the right to life, in spite of the founding principle of the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I have friends who spent the day in Washington D.C. at the March for Life. They were in my prayers, and I was with them in spirit.
My heart has been full, my spirit has been unsettled, and my mind has been a whirlwind these last few days. I could spend pages pouring them out. Just a few recurring thoughts will suffice, though; take them as you will and act as you are called.
There is a quote from Martin Niemoller, a German pastor in the 1930's that keeps coming to mind, and I wonder how it might read for our nation in this moment in time:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Perhaps Niemoller would say today, as an American:
First they came for the unborn, and I didn't speak out because it was none of my business.
Then they came for the old and the sick, and I didn't speak out because I was young and healthy.
Then they came for the inconvenient, the weak, and the burdensome, and I didn't speak out because I was self-sufficient.
Then they came for those of Faith, and I didn't speak out because it wasn't my place to decide right from wrong.
And then they came for me, and there was no on left to speak out.
God help us.
I'll leave you with the passages of scripture that have surged through my thoughts over and over again this weekend, and a simple request: Pray.
"God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense." - C. S. Lewis