As I’m still sitting by a Christmas tree and a manger scene as I write, I’m sort of stuck at the moment on Christmas and the reality that it needs to penetrate our lives. And I’m finding myself haunted — as we all ought to be, and some of us are, inescapably, with a deep suffering — by the approaching 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.
Toward that, I’m just rereading Anne Lastman’s Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain for a review I promised The Human Life Review about it. (I interviewed Lastman about it recently for National Review Online here.)
It’s a book I almost missed — it comes from an Australian publisher, Gracewing — but a Dominican priest friend pointed me to it and I am grateful. And now I may be a little obsessed with it. I think people need to read it, slowly and prayerfully.
It comes from both the experience of two abortions, walking with women (like herself) who have had abortions and regret them, and a clearly intense prayer life, with a mystical window into the piercing of the Sacred Heart of our Lord as we continue to live in this culture of death in the United States, where abortion is legal and we all too often compound the evil, call it by pretty names (and pink sneakers) as a mask, and look away rather than help with alternatives.
Speaking of the story of the birth of a blessed child, with Christmas very much in mind, here’s something of what Lastman writes in Redeeming Grief:
God Himself is present at every new creation. He has a plan for each and every child and that plan is for that new creation to be shaped into the image of his Son Jesus and live with Him forever. He alone endows the new creature with an immortal soul, and in each new creation God is glorified. Each new creation is so special, so important that new structures are put in place to accommodate the new being. The universe changes completely because someone who has never existed before is now brought into existence. In fact so important is the new creature that God commands his angels to guard and protect it (Ps. 91:12). To conceive a child means to become pregnant with a word of God, a desire of God. A “Yes” of God. He has whispered, “let there be a new life, and let my son’s image be repeated. Let creation mirror my image again.” When a new child is conceived God unites a part of Himself (breath) to flesh (soil) and the encounter edifies and changes both. This is why abortion is so abominable, because it is the rejection of God. Abortion rejects the “something new” envisaged by God.
As with Christmas, fiat is so much the story. Understanding the intensity of the love of God for his people has the power to change everything. So if we say we’re believers, we have such an obligation, that starts with understanding the love of God and basking in the reality of the Trinity, the source of all strength, which gives us hope and grants us grace.
Will we say “yes” — day in and day hour, hour by hour?
It’s as concrete as the Trinity gets, isn’t it? It’s an invitation into a glorious freedom -– living life with these Three in One. It’s where love is known and wounds are healed. It’s an image to live the new year with and in. It’s an image to mirror with our lives as we live deeper in its reality, knowing the love of the Father, the depth of the sacrifice of the Son in this love, and the counsel of the Holy Spirit, always ours for the taking. Living in truth and compassion as we know the misery of its rejection all around us, including in our own hearts as we sin again. We can embrace His mercy and walk with Him as we show people with the fiat of our lives again and again — availing ourselves of and giving thanks for God’s love and mercy and guidance — in this greatest alternative reality.