The holiness of BE-ing

The holiness of BE-ing February 27, 2005

Newsweeks Christopher Dickey makes report that is so odd, I wonder why Newsweek printed it, because it seems terribly unfocused. Reporting on Pope John Paul’s seeming refusal to pack it in, Dickey writes:

Even as the aged pope’s body shuts down in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease, his will to live—and to impose his will on the Roman Catholic faithful—remains as stubborn as ever.

In the days before he was readmitted to the hospital…the pope insisted on making public appearances…The pope also spoke through a new book, “Memory and Identity,” published last week. Though culled from tape-recorded dialogues with a pair of Polish philosophers back in 1993, the text was updated in the pope’s own special, confrontational way.

Yet this same pontiff who continues to assert his will in the daily life of the church has given his doctors no instructions about how to sustain his life, or not, should he slip into a persistent coma…Having spent a generation imposing his will on the church, the ailing John Paul has yet to make known a living will to guide his doctors.

All emphsis are mine. I’m not sure what Dickey’s point is. He clearly finds the pope a tyrant who (Dickey repeatedly charges) “IMPOSES HIS WILL” upon those poor Catholics who bend under his whip. (Can you see me rolling my eyes?) and he clearly didn’t much care for the Pope re-asserting his Petrine primacy, or for the Pope’s new book which is – yes – confrontational. As I wrote here, it is extremely confrontational and will be deemed even more so by the secularists, because it’s entirely possible that JPII is the last man of global importance who is going to say what he says in uncouched, unPC language. Dickey seems not to like that the Pontiff saw fit to include the factory-like, efficient destruction of human babies with the factory-like, efficient destruction of Jews and others.

And Dickey seems just flabbergasted, no confounded…no, he seems almost downright insulted, that the Pope has not put forth a living will, with instructions on when the plug may be pulled so we can stop this damned impositioning of his will upon the oppressed Catholic people, and maybe finally get a pope in there who will get on board with the times! Let’s go, JP, baby, move it on! We want a Pope Jason who is gonna start living the age throughout the faith and come to speed with abortion, divorce, gay marriage and euthanasia! If only the Pope had left some instructions, we maybe wouldn’t have bothered with the tracheotomy, the other day!

Shrug. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s the sense I’m getting from Dickey, here. He thinks the pope has left no instructions.

Dickey doesn’t realize – probably does not want to realize – that the pope, by NOT leaving “instructions” is giving us a tremendous instruction. He is saying, “leave what is alive, alive. The living person may not be living the life YOU’D like…but it is the life they HAVE, and it’s not your job or anyone else’s to get in the way of it, or shorten it, when doing so may very well be interrupting a larger plan that you (because you are not God) simply cannot comprehend.”

I think we are living in a time of extraordinary grace and instruction. At a time when a man is trying to get the courts to allow him to starve his wife to death, we are watching a man who stubbornly wants to use his own body to teach us the great lesson: that every life has value, even if that life is in a less than mobile condition, or even if that life holds just enough consciousness to comprehend love, and to understand abandonment. He is demonstrating the remarkable power of faith and prayer. And most importantly, he is demonstrating that, far from “imposing his will,” on things, the pope continues to serve at the pleasure of the Almighty, and that he will continue to do so, despite the displeasure of Mr. Dickey.

I look at this – the questions Dickey asks – and I realize, he’s not even talking about “mercy killing” or euthanasia. Like poor, messed up Michael Schiavo, Dickey is basically wondering why these old, infirm, useless folks are still around? What GOOD are they? What use?

Beware the urge to utilarianism. Everything does not have to be of “use.” Nor does everyONE. It is enough to BE, if BEING is what you have been called to. The Pope is not a CEO. He doesn’t have to DO anything. He just has to BE. Terri Schiavo does not have to get up and dance a jig to be valuable. She is valuable in her BEING, as the object of her family’s love. And God’s.

“When you have become God’s in the measure He wants, He, Himself will know how to best bestow you on others. Unless He prefer, for thy greater advantage, to keep thee all to Himself.” St. Basil

As America watches the case of Terri Schiavo unfold, John Paul II staggers the ambition and reason of the world, and teaches, without a word spoken, the truth the secularist do not want to hear. One man, nearly rendered mute, his body broken, is nevertheless unbowed in the face of their scorn, and he will not be deterred.

As the world watches the unveiling of a global hunger for freedom and democracy – another sort of testament and insistence to the power and wonder of a God-given life-to-life, George W. Bush staggers the ambition and reason of those same people, those same secularists. And they do not want to hear him, either. One man, occasionally tongue-tied but nevertheless able to deliver his message, stands unbowed in the face of their scorn, and HE will not be deterred.

Both men are accused of “imposing their will upon the rest of the world.”

No. They’re just doing the right thing. And God has a hand in all of this.

I wonder…I can’t help it, I wonder. Are we at the cusp of something Glorious?

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