The Gift of Life. Whose life is it any way and what part does God play in this often debated question? Please join me on a virtual pilgrimage to the ancient City of David in Jerusalem, and the altar commemorating the Church’s first martyrs in Bethlehem, as we search for answers to this important question. No passport necessary.
Book Excerpt. Chapter Twenty: The Gift of Life (The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. By: Karen Sheehy)
Watching the birth of her new born son and holding him for the first time, the new adoptive mother was filled with an extreme sense of hope and gratitude. Together, with her husband, Tom, they gazed upon their son, Joseph, meaning “one who adds”, with awe and wonder. Filled with emotion, a tear of joy rolled down the new mother’s cheek and onto her son’s forehead. Startled, he looked up with the biggest brown eyes she had ever seen. Staring at him, looking so tiny and vulnerable, she instantaneously fell in love and quietly whispered, “Hello, Joseph, my son, I have been waiting for you for a long time! It’s me, your mother, nice to meet you!” Among their immense joy, however, was immense pain; the pain of incredible loss felt by the birth family. One family felt the joy of new life while the other, the sorrow of loss. Joy and sorrow, two opposite emotions but both redemptive and life giving. The pain and loss of the one led to life and joy for the other, so is the mystery of Christ.
But whose life is it any way and what part does God play in this often debated question?
“O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives,” (1Samuel 1:11). These words were spoken by Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah, who was mentioned in the Old Testament Book of 1Samuel. As we read in 1Samuel 1:20, God heard Hannah’s prayers, for she did conceive and bear a son, whom she named Samuel. Here, we find our first clue to the stated question: that this child is in fact a gift from God to a mother longing for a son.
As we continue reading, however, we find that, once this child was weaned, Hannah returned to the Temple and said, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord,” (1Samuel 1:27). Here, we find our second clue to the stated question: that this child belongs to God, who created him for a specific purpose. This purpose is revealed in several subsequent chapters, for there, we find Samuel in the Temple of the Lord, responding to God’s instructions with faithful obedience, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” (1Samuel 3:9). Accordingly, “Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him,” thus all of Israel came to know that, “Samuel was an accredited prophet of the Lord,” (1Samuel 3:19-20). In fact, Samuel was the very prophet who anointed a young shepherd boy, named David, King of the Israel, (1Samuel 16:13).
King David, however, is a mere foreshadowing of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, for David was not only the “anointed” king of God’s people, but also a shepherd caring for his flock, a warrior uniting His people, and a Messiah leading them to Jerusalem in the Promised Land. Here, we find our third and final clue to the stated question: for each soul, made in the very likeness of God, is created for the new, heavenly Jerusalem or Kingdom of God. For just as David built his house or castle in the earthly Jerusalem, so too does Christ, build His Church, a place where all members of His Body call home. Protected by the true King of Kings, and Savior of the world, each life is, in fact, a gift to Jesus and through Him, the Heavenly Father. Each life is precious, and it’s fate and ultimate return home, therefore, must be determined by God, who alone knows when it’s earthly purpose and mission are fulfilled.
In closing, let us pray for the protection of life, from conception to natural death, and the wisdom to see each miraculous gift as:
- the conception of a body and soul made in God’s likeness,
- a soul created for the Kingdom of God,
- a member awaiting initiation into Christ’s Body, the Church, and finally
- a gift to loving parents, who, like good stewards, dedicate their child to God, in fulfillment of His divine pleasure. Amen.
Closing 3:00 p.m. prayer for Divine Mercy.
Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).
Jesus, I trust in You.
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