Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pro-Life Politics and St. Francis of Assisi

The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi seemed like a good day to get off my butt and go to my first Sunday Mass in over a month. He is the saint I chose (who chose me?) when I was Confirmed back in 1988. And if I ever do answer that calling to a religious order (secular order or otherwise), there is a good chance that it will be a Franciscan one.

Today also happened to be a church-wide anti-abortion day.

If this was unintentional on the part of whoever decided the latter, I don't find it accidental.

The priest this morning gave a long, thoughtful, and I thought sensitive discussion on human life issues. He did not budge from his perspective on abortion and while I do question some of the comments he made, I can find no fault with his approach and delivery.

It was very political. That's fine too.

I think, however, that this "issue" is poorly served by thrusting it into the political arena. Reducing abortion cannot be achieved through legislation. And the last thing we really need is another reason for the courts, cops, and lawyers to get into our lives.

Compassion for all is more important to me, personally. Compassion for the mothers, especially. It's been said a million times, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce the fact that among those people who have been through the abortion experience, it's pretty rare for their attitudes about it to be marked by casualness, indifference, joy, or celebration.

I respect that.

The priest also mentioned stem cells, which is also more complex than most people acknowledge. He mentioned euthanasia, which I don't think is anyone's business but the person who wants it. He mentioned war and the death penalty. It's rare to have a pro-life sermon or discussion in which all of this is put into parallel. I appreciate that.

No mention of St. Francis of Assisi except in the announcements before the Mass started. They're blessing pets at some point today.

But the connection isn't hard to make.

Francis wrote a lovely piece, The Canticle of the Sun. Read it here (it's short!): CLICK.

Pro-Life I am. May the life of Creation thrive. May we cooperate with that. May we encourage the health of the planet and universe.

Pro-Life I am. May we move in compassion in our treatment of all creatures, human and non-human alike.

Pro-Life I am. May we extend that not only in our physical and material decisions, but in our spoken and unspoken interactions, and may we nurture our hearts to grow in love.

Pro-Life I am. May the Living Spirit of God recognize itself in us.

Peace and all good.

1 comment:

  1. Francis added the last two components of his canticle -- the ones after "mother earth" -- at a later time. The first of these was added when he managed to end a feud between two leaders of the Assisi community (the mayor and the bishop,I believe), and the last was added on his deathbed.

    In the words of Moses, "Choose life." But I am against overturning Roe v. Wade. Jews believe life begins at birth, and a mother whose life is in danger must be allowed to live to care for her other children. As you said, no one enters that choice easily.


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