From a little child I have been fond of the animal kingdom.There seemed to be no animal that I could not love,no creature that was named vile or vermin that was not redeemable in my eyes.Any bird I found lying dead in the road I would retrieve and bury under a pile of leaves in the churchyard,chiefly I suppose because I didnt want it to be trodden on and flattened,but also because I mourned for the life that was in it and was no more.A thing of beauty extinguished.They did not have to be beautiful for my childish mind to love them.The stranded earthworm on the hot pavement was rescued, and put in some shady, moist, spot.,The snails fastened to the flower pots were removed, and hidden before my father, a gardner, saw them,the spider on my bedroom ceiling ,left to spin its web..
My love for all animals was tolerated and understood by my parents.The lamb beef or pork on my plate at dinnertime, was not the same as those creatures that I loved to gaze at in the fields around me.The meat that I ate was spelt Lam......that in the field beyond..., Lamb.I believed what I was told.I was protected from the harsher elements of animal husbandry.Led away from the market place,where unskinned rabbits were displayed and the chickens in the garden lived, because of my attachment to them.There was always a dog on the hearthrug for me to love,a tiny mouse in my brother's pocket,the birds in the air,the green grocer's horse,the beasts in the field.All was good in my little world.
Until the day that I looked into the window of the butcher's shop and saw a pig hanging from a hook...............
This then was reality.Before my watery eyes was the evidence of the destruction of life.The animal life that I so cherished,so loved,so longed to be near.I think now,looking back,that young as I was, I understood natural death,and accepted it as such.That day outside the butcher's shop,I understood slaughter......for food.
I got used to the idea eventually of course,and learned that even animals hunted and killed each other, for the most part, for survival. .It was, after all the natural order of things,that it was the balance of nature and that the Father of all things natural was God.I grew to understand that for the most part, animals acted by instinct.But it was the life in them that I loved, and .slowly I realised that the same spirit that breathed life in them, breathed life in me,that I was part of the great plan of the creator,and that great plan,was a holy and sacred thing.
So where is all this leading...
A few days ago when browsing, I came across the photograph of a baby's hand.So perfect ,so new,the little lines across the palm unique,never ever to be repeated. .The fingers long and pointing upwards,the skin unblemished and entirely beautiful.God's work of art,His creation His secret.......The tiny hand,so defenceless,so helpless so loveable.God knew the owner of this little hand before He knitted him together,breathed life into him at conception,and desired his love.God's masterpiece,a human being, higher than the animals,and just a little lower than the angels.As I scrolled down I saw God's plan for this little life would never come to fruition.That this precious ,precious,life that the tiny hand represented.had been destroyed before birth.Denied baptism,
classed as hospital waste, denied a final resting place.I could not think of any other species that destroys it's unborn,that we human beings alone, seem to commit the unspeakable,and deem it acceptable.But of course it is not acceptable.Not at any stage.Not for any reason.Never.
The tiny hand spoke reality to me.
We catholics seem at times to be anaesthetised on major issues.Everything is sanitised.The wrath of God,His justice,whoever heard of that! A strange inertia envelopes us. We know that abortion is wrong.the church says so.We do not want to think about it ,or be reminded of it.We do not want to right a wrong,we have lost the battle because we have no appetite to fight.We sleep walk through our faith.
What of those, whose lives are touched by abortion?The mothers who feel that there is no other way out. Those who regret that decision,and even those that don't.Those who believe that we, the created ,have a right to choose who should live and who should die?That some human life because it has not drawn breath, is somehow disposable,and has as much worth as the flotsam and jetsam that floats upon the sea.
What can we do?........What do we do?Keep silent,and get on with our lives?We the catholics in the pew,need above all to support in whatever way we can, the efforts of those who are active in the fight against abortion..Those organizations in the front line who deal with the fall out,who help and look after the expectant mother who has nothing,those that hold silent vigil in public,those that witness for life.Those that protect the unborn,and those who pray for the abortioner.
I have been silent about the death of your life My God.My great Creator who knows when each lowly sparrow falls to the ground,and who numbers the hairs on my head.Forgive me,and give me the grace to be silent no more.Amen.
N.B.The bodily remains of the little child that I speak of above, were found and given burial in a catholic cemetary in America.Loved by "The Priests for Life",and named David,the gift of God.