Friday, January 25, 2013

40 Years Later


[Mary’s] whole life embodies what is meant by ‘Zion’. She does not construct a self-enclosed individuality whose principal concern is the originality of its own ego. She does not wish to be just this one human being who defends and protects her own ego. She does not want to regard life as a stock of goods of which everyone wants to get as much as possible for himself. Her life is such that she is transparent to God, ‘habitable’ for him. Her life is such that she is a place for God. Her life sinks her into the common measure of sacred history, so that what appears in her is, not the narrow and constricted ego of an isolated individual, but the whole, true Israel.

 Mary, the Church at the Source, 66

Reflection – The March for Life this year in Washington DC, on the tragic 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which nullified all abortion laws in America, coincides this year with today’s feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

Meanwhile my Randomized Ratzinger Quote Generator™ coughed up this little gem which was one of the key drivers for my licentiate thesis on Mary and modernity. All of which comes together rather significantly, it seems to me.

Apparently some recent polls show a swing in the direction of pro-choice sentiment in America. While these polls have been critiqued (as polls always are), the fact is inarguable that abortion is legal because there is no real will to make it illegal. This is true in the USA, and even more true in Canada, where abortion can hardly be discussed in the public forum at all.

This means that there is profound need, a desperate need for conversion in our society. Fundamentally, we want abortion legal because we want to have sex without consequences. Human beings at their smallest and most vulnerable are killed by dismemberment by the hundreds of thousands each year so that we can structure society around consequence-free sex. I am striving here to use the most non-inflammatory and yet accurate language I can find, by the way.

The Ten Commandments all hang together, by the way, it turns out. If a man is going to commit adultery, he is also going to have to lie, and he certainly is no longer worshipping God. Thieves by definition are covetous, and liars, and violent. And idolators inevitably perform human sacrifice for their gods.

The god of sexual freedom is a particularly blood-thirsty one, and the corpses piled high on that altar number now in the tens of millions in North America alone.

And so… conversion. Stop worshipping the god of autonomy and start worshipping the God of Israel. And this description of Mary from Ratzinger is just about perfect in describing this worship and this God. To be habitable for God, to be an open space where He can live, to abandon the project of life as an exercise in egoism and acquisition, to live a life ordered to something bigger and better than ourselves, yet which is the deepest truth of ourselves—this is what Mary shows us, and what true human life and true human dignity consists of.

Of course this takes us far beyond the specific issue of abortion. It has implications for economic life, political life, for how we treat the poor and how we live in our neighborhoods and churches and work places. But abortion is, I would say, the most important issue of our time, simply because it is the open gaping wound of our society which claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of unborn human beings each year, blights the lives of their mothers, coarsens and deadens the hearts and minds of their fathers, and perpetuates our society in a truly demonic system of child sacrifice at the service of lust and greed.

I realize some who read this will be offended by my words. You know, I don’t really care. I do realize that individual women have abortions often because they are scared, or shamed, or coerced into it. We need to help them, and the pro-life movement does a great deal to do just that.

But the larger reality of abortion, the hardening of hearts and consciences, the turning of blind eyes towards the fact of abortion, the tacit decision of the silent majority to maintain a status quo that is truly a culture of death—this has to be brought into the light and called what it is.

It is evil, and our civilization, insofar as it chooses to maintain this reality, is an evil civilization. And so, we all need a conversion, and let us pray for that grace of repentance and conversion in all our hearts.