Why We Need Redemption

This ugly, deplorable, heartbreaking picture showed up in my facebook feed.

That’s a beautiful baby, who looks to be full-term. And there are thousands if not millions of people who cannot have babies, and who would quickly claim this little one for their own. In a world where the fullness of love is constantly being challenged by hate and emptiness, the love therein created — parent-to-child-to-grandparents and so on — would have brought a little more affirmation, a little more “yes” into a world so full of “no”; more “us” for a world full of “me.”

One wants to think that the mother of this child is someone who was frightened, panic-stricken, momentarily out of her mind. And for all we know this baby was taken from her and thrown away by someone in her life who intimidates and controls her. Perhaps the baby died at birth, and the distraught mother made a poor choice.

One wants to think that because considering the alternative — that someone could deliver this child and then simply toss him aside — takes too much.

But we do know that we live in an era of surpassing selfishness; we are a hard, cold, self-obsessed generation. We “feel” rather than think, but the depths of those feelings tend toward expressions of our anger, our hurt feelings, our offended sensibilities and our perception that life is not fair and we’re not getting all that is due to us. Other people are mean; look at how they keep me stirred up.

And because we know that we are this way — I, to my shame, most certainly — we know there is a possibility that this child was simply tossed, because disposability is part of our mindset, and because there was some facsimile of love out there that seemed more real than this burdensome being of unconditional love.

It is because we are so easily fooled by empty, non-essential things that seem like something good, like something that will cater to our love-of-self (and this has been true since Eden) that genuine Goodness had to Incarnate, and set his tent with us; genuine, unconditional love had to take that defect within us and make it his, and then defeat it. He had to show us it was defeatable.

Our Easter Triduum begins tonight, with Holy Thursday liturgies: we are going to again be shown the path that brings us to victory and defeats our defects. It is a path of heavy tolls, indeed, and the first and heaviest of them is our consent, followed by our continual “yes” no matter how much we want to say “no” and no matter how unfair it seems, just as Jesus — who could have stepped off the path at any time — continued to say “yes,” through betrayal; “yes” through flogging; “yes” through mockery and contempt, all of it unjust and unfair. The path requires our saying “yes” through every difficulty and then going forward with trust — consenting, even when it seems like the absolute end of everything.

The lesson of this Triduum is that our constant “yes” is always answered with God’s greater “yes” — even if we cannot see that of a moment — right into unfathomable glory.

The path of consent is the only one we can safely walk; we know it is safe, because the Christ has already walked it for us, but we also know — because Christ walked it — that it is difficult; its difficulty is what makes it great, and ultimately powerful.

Yes, it’s frightening. Yes, we will often stumble as Christ stumbled, because our instincts run to “no” and our “yes” is often reluctant; because we are weak, and faulty and we do cling to our comfortable little sins of pride and selfishness.

Offer a prayer for the mother of this beautiful abandoned baby who now knows more that any of us possibly can, about this world and the next, about things seen and unseen. Offer a prayer for the whole world of suffering around us, and for the people who are lights amid its darkness.

And then, let us offer prayers for each other as we power down the computers and take an introspective look at how easily we all throw away love because our instincts and feelings of a moment own us too fully.

I hope your Holy Thursday is fruitful. God bless and save us all.

Sing my tongue, the savior’s glory

Helpful Triduum Reading:
Pat Gohn: The Jesus Moment
Marcia Morrissey: Good Friday: Life is Not Fair
Deacon Greg: Holy Thursday Homily
Dwight Longenecker: One Man Died for All
Marc Barnes: A Whole Series (just keep scrolling)
Thomas McDonald: When the Desire of the Lord Comes to Us
Kathryn Lopez: Thomas More and Us
Mark Shea: As We Prepare
Tony Rossi: Thoughts on Prayer
Julie Davis: “Thou”
Pope Benedict: A Priest Never Belongs to Himself
Holy Week, Prayer and Suffering
New Advent

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • phaedruscj

    Is there a story behind this picture? Its source maybe.

    By itself it is heart wrenching. I’m just curious about how that baby ended up in that picture.


    tears at work are embarassing so I may have to abstain from your site during lunch hour from now on.

    [I am trying to find out -admin]

  • Katherine

    This is the wrong post for this comment, but Eowyn? How cool.

    [I'm sorry? What? _admin]

  • kevin

    Oh my God. Nothing else to say.

  • Our Live Baby, This Dead Baby

    This hits home. Close to home. My sister just delivered a baby boy at home 2 nights ago. A baby that looks much like this one, fair to view, lovely, perfect. I’m stunned but not stunned.

    The spirit of human sacrifice and destruction is on the move in this era outstripping previous eras.

    Sadly, even tho’ I do prolife and “all that”, even I become glazed over spiritually and need these wake up calls. I feel like those German housewives that the American forces forced to walk through the death camps to show them what they were ignoring. I don’t mean to ignore this, I get busy and forget. How could I? I feel very culpable for this child’s death.

    Lord, have mercy on ME.

  • Andrew

    These are the kinds of sins which cry out to heaven for vengeance; it makes me cry and I think there will be a tall price to pay for acts such as this. :(

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  • Jodi

    When I look at pictures like these and think to ask God for justice, and then think a bit more, I am afraid that He will bring justice for the millions of innocents sacrificed, and for the nation that all but encourages it.

  • ahem

    That’s heartbreaking.

  • doc

    The sickening thing is that those who fund and defend abortion would use this as a justification for their continuing to do so when the reality is that the mindset created by legal abortion staunchly defended by one of our 2 major parties is what makes this tossing away of innocent and perfect life more likely now than it was 50 years ago.

  • Mark Greta

    Three philosophies of the US culture which came into full assult after the central government establishment of the secular godless state religion are Individualism, Hedonism, and Minimalism.

    What’s in it for me? Individualism no longer cared about anyone but oneself and put the individual over God and over the society as a whole, especially the one under God. Thus every program is not measured for the overall good of our country or our society, but is designed to allow each to do their own thing and demand society see it as normal. The 50% who pay no income taxes scream unfair to the 1% who pays over 60% of all income taxes and some even agree with them. Kind of like complaining that the one who feeds you for a month at the best resturant in the world does not add dessert.

    If it feels good do it! Hedonistic cry was the new norm as a measure of new rights of whatever type of sex one wanted, when they wanted it and without whoever they wanted it. The secular government joined in to make each perversion legal and fought to make them normal. This of course included the killing of 54 million babies that made Hitler’s holocaust minor league by comparison.

    What is the least I can do? Minimalism fits right in with both of the other two to form our modern American society. What is the least I can do and keep my job? What is the least I can do and still get good grades in school? what is the least I can do and still keep my marriage alive? What is the least I can do and still be physically fit? What is the least I can do and get to Heaven? What made America a great country was not that long ago being told that we should ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country? From that Democrat to Obama is a clear view of how far the party that protects and defends the baby killed in this picture has gone and why their philosophies of Individualsim, Hedionism, and Minimalism are taking this country in the wrong direction.

    Some of the above came from a book by Mathew Kelly “Rediscover Catholocism” to show how many Catholics have lost their way and how we need a major game changer to rediscover and to live the full Catholic lifestyle we are all called to by Christ. There really is no way to be Catholic and to live our lives following those philosophies. But each of us who call ourselves Catholic need to step up our game and to work hard to bring the full vision of the Catholic Church back to its core values which if successful can change our country, our lives, our families, and our community.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Appalled, outraged, heartbroken, stupidfied, disgusted. No word satifies. One can only reach for a prayer. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell…

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Mark/Greta, God comfort and bless you, and may you have a blessed Easter!

  • Peggy m

    my children were born prematurely and did not look as developed as this child.

    I want to shove this picture in the face of every pro-choice person.

  • Peter Burke

    I know what you mean Peggy. My daughter was born at 28 weeks. 4# and tiny. With sideburns for a few days! Small miracle. She is now 23 and has 2 of her own.

    That picture actually makes me feel ill.

  • Katherine
  • Marguerite

    I am torn by seeig this poor child in the trash regardless of how he got there. My baby boy died in my womb three days after his due date last June. He was full term and perfect. To see this poor child tossed out in the trash hurts me far more than losing my son because I know we gave him the proper care he deserved as a human being.

  • Kay
  • korora

    This My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanart struck a nerve for me. For those who do not know the fandom: Fan-favorite background character Derpy Hooves is often depicted by the fans as the loving mother of a background filly from episodes like Winter Wrap-Up, Sisterhooves Social, and Ponyville Confidential. This particular fancomic has a darker than usual backstory for Dinky, wherein Derpy finds her abandoned (but still living) in a dumpster. Her horrified expression as she looks inside says it all.

  • korora

    Struck a nerve is the wrong word; I meant struck a responsive chord in my heart.

  • Sara Lee

    I still don’t understand why people do things like this when there is always the option of dropping the baby off at a hospital or fire station if you feel too overwhelmed. I can’t understand why someone would choose something like this.

  • Dex

    Sadly, this occurence is not new to my country (Philippines). You can hear news of such daily here, where fetuses are found mostly in or beside Churches across the Metro. I even saw a news where they left a baby in a grocery bag hanging from a tree. This is mostly due to poverty , in which of course I consider a poor choice of reason to blame to.

    If they only knew the miracle in creating life (click link below for the amazing video)

    Indeed let us pray for both the neglective parents and the neglected newborn.