Things Hidden and Brought to Light

The Anchoress talks about “things being ‘hidden’ and ‘brought to light’.”  She says ,

“We all of us make instinctive moves to hide those parts of ourselves of which we disapprove, or which we fear others might hate. Hating ourselves, we project that hatred onto others, and then assume the worst: that people will be ungenerous, rather than generous, hateful rather than accepting.”

Once again the Anchoress pulls back a veil that reveals the beautiful person. Isn’t that what her writing has already brought to light? I’m uneasy when she jabs at herself. I can feel it.  I’ve done that myself. Say it before someone else says it!

She speaks of “Irish thighs” and here I thought we Italians had a corner on that market.  The memory of my mom’s weight looms like a prophetic utterance. However, beyond my own fears, it is the Anchoress’ revelation of her fear that touches me.  She has dissected it and found that in hating those unacceptable parts of herself, the really beautiful parts of the package get lost. Wholeness is halved or quartered or…you know what I mean.  She’s tempted to become less than she actually is.

The Anchoress writes about her brothers “coming out” and the peace that followed.  I’m sure that didn’t end the struggles but was a big step into the light.  Our crosses certainly come in all kinds and complexities. Our pain brings to light our real need which isn’t perfection.  The Anchoress speaks of the need to love herself.  For me realizing Who loves me changes everything. My battles, my wins and loses,all find meaning, as do I, in a Heart which treasures all.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, in his Healing the Original Wound, says that one of his favorite groups of the wounded are the alcoholics of Alcoholics’ Anonymous.  “When asked,’Well, when are you going to completely recover?’  ‘When we’re dead.’ they will tell you.” No easy platitudes or solutions here, just a continuing struggle, knowing that you are loved by that One great Love.  Armed with the knowledge of Whose Arms embrace you this side of Heaven carries you onward, or at least that how I go on (and with a little love from my friends.)  Fr. Groeschel puts it this way. ” Hello, I’m a recovering sinner.  I’m becoming a saint.”

So I have no answers.  My loved ones, come in all shapes and sizes as do I depending at what time in my life you’ve  known me.  My friends have assorted temperaments and problems, none of which hides their beauty.  Fr. Groeschel says that with crosses “we need to turn to the mystery of Salvation.”

“Indeed, if the cross, with all that it represents, with all that it signifies, symbolises and indicates, of sufferings, sicknesses, disasters, various afflictions, catastrophes, pains and injuries to which all people are subject, if the cross is a constituent reality of all human life, there is an obligation for all people, like Jesus, to carry the cross together, in order to disburden the one charged with it and together to bear it with love and solidarity. (From a letter by Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch (Melkite) for  Lent)

Lenten Reading Plan – Day 16 – Mar 14

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Icon-Crucifixion -----c 2009 Joann Nelander

St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: chapters 48 -59

Day 16 Lite Version

St. Justin Martyr: First Apology:54-60

Compilation of Lenten readings

Printer-Friendly Version of Outline: Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan PDF

The Glory and the Tragedy of the Church

“In Lent, we grasp our humanity” says Fr. Jeffrey Whorton.  That we need a reminder at all amazes me. I am in awe of the fact that I, a soft bodied creature, am still alive, after more than half a century, in this universe of whirling planets, exploding stars and expanding space. Extrapolating from today’s Gospel, Fr. Whorton points to the hedges God places around us for our survival. In Jesus’ parable, He tells of  a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a hedge around it (Matthew 31: 23)

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Pieta Icon

In nature and the Cosmos, Earth is protected by natural laws which set the rhythms of the tides, confine the seas to their basins and keep the very air we breath from drifting off into space. While in the spiritual  life, God’s children also have a hedge.  Before we knew the Grace of God, we were given the Law of God.  God’s people were to live not unfettered by human respect but by a Golden Rule which revealed the freedom of morally.  When the Grace of God arrived incarnated in Jesus Christ, love went beyond this Law to lead us to lay down our lives for one another, the supernature wed to the natural.  Lent points to our failure in this respect. It is precisely here, that we find another hedge protecting us from the Accuser and self-condemnation by an Incarnated Mercy, Whose love and forgiveness knows no bounds.

In daily life, the teachings of the Church provide a hedge against a license and an immorality that would favor the animal side of our natures.  Without the hedge of revealed Truth and instruction, we are deprived, and left to our sinfulness, which is more an inhuman nature.   Our humanity was glorified by Christ once Jesus put it on as a mantle clothing His Divinity.  However, it still needs the individual response of our consent and cooperation. Now, we are hedged by the very flesh of our Savior, and called to be truly human as revealed by Christ.

According to Fr.Whorton, “The glory and the tragedy of the Church is that the Church is on display.”  In our world of brute forces and competing philosophies and errors, we are called to shine like stars (Phil.2: 15), like sparks among the stubble (Wisdom 3:7). Fr. Whorton asks, as does Lent, itself, “Am I displaying the glory or the tragedy?”

Expansion of Human Embryo Experimentation.

Thoughts of the Great Unwashed point  here for a read on the label given Obama as the “abortion president”:

One of the most outspoken abortion opponents in Congress labeled President Obama the “abortion president” on Friday in response to news that Obama intended to sign an executive order Monday lifting restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., accused Obama of launching two attacks on pro-life measures. In addition to lifting President Bush’s stem cell restrictions, Obama intends to lift regulations from the Bush administration that allow health care providers and institutions to refuse to participate in abortions on grounds of conscience.

“Why does the president persist in the dehumanizing of nascent human life when better alternatives exist? Human embryo-destroying stem cell research is not only unethical, unworkable and unreliable- it is now, demonstrably unnecessary,” Smith said.Smith labeled Obama’s stem cell policy an expansion of “human embryo experimentation.”

Obama’s ‘Science’ Fiction – Possible vs Permissible

“Science has everything to say about what is possible. Science has nothing to say about what is permissible.”

Although Charles Krauthammer is wrong on where to draw the line in stem cell research, I think you will find his stance against President Obama’s stance a must read.  Krauthammer is “not religious” and so to his mind sees no definitive guideline as to when person-hood is bestowed. To my mind the science of it tells the tale.  Peering into the beginning moments of life with powerful cameras records the change from ova and sperm entities to new being with all the where-with-all to command the hormones and functions of the mother’s body to make possible its continuance and growth. It has not only presence but power to command.

The Truth of the matter, and our relationship to the Creator from the instant of our becoming a unique individual at the conjoining of ovum and sperm,  is still hidden from Krauthammer.  It does help to have the Truth that is revealed by the Creator through the Scriptures, the Church and the Tradition of both Church and Man (Natural Law.) I leave this as another issue for another day.  Krauthammer does believe in Evil. He opposes Obama’s replacing Bush’s line with “no line at all.”

This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of “science” and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom. [My emphasis]

Though Krauthammer does not know when to confer person-hood, he says:

“I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix. Moreover, given the protean power of embryonic manipulation, the temptation it presents to science and the well-recorded human propensity for evil even in the pursuit of good, lines must be drawn. I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research — a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end.

Krauthammer judges Obama as morally arrogant in the extreme, dismissing “his critics as ideological while he is guided exclusively by pragmatism (in economics, social policy, foreign policy) and science in medical ethics.” Or so Obama expects us to believe.

Krauthammer says of President George W. Bush:

“Bush’s nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few minutes, the listener had no idea where Bush would come out.”

I am reminded of the recent movie, I Am Legion, a futuristic nightmare with basis in possibility if not history for a scenario of science run amok. Krauthammer concludes his dismembering of Obama’s so called reasoned logic:

Dr. James Thomson, the pioneer of embryonic stem cells, said “if human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough.” Obama clearly has not.

“Science has everything to say about what is possible. Science has nothing to say about what is permissible.”