But proud man is a thief and unjust in what he does, because he denies others what they need. He steals what is due God and takes it for himself. Man refuses to give God the adoration and reverence He deserves and places faith in the lies that lead man to believe there is a good way that is not part of God's will (Proverbs 14:12). How can we understand such a terrible blunder?
Consider some examples: a young college student dreams of becoming a physician, but out of prejudice against him because he is Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, or from some other religious or ethnic group, he is told, "you will never be a physician!" The young man feels humiliated, is outraged and vows to himself, "I will be a physician, and I will prove you wrong!"
Rather than asking God to help him succeed, he digs in and bolsters his own arrogance. He blames religion for his mistreatment and rejects religion and God as well. He works to become the very best physician he can be, and does succeed in becoming a physician, an arrogant physician who lives his entire life hating religion, sneering at any who believe in God. He refuses to listen to those who lovingly come to him to tell him about the great goodness of God.
He hardens his heart, closes himself off and is never able to be emotionally intimate with those around him. He spends most of his life working endless hours to accumulate the wealth needed to show that he has "made it" and therefore "prove" that those others who discriminated against him were wrong. Valuing the wealth he can amass more than God and family, he spends little time with them, and the family he takes for granted falls apart (Luke 12:13-21).
His marriages all end in divorce, and his family members are alienated one from the other. He dies as he lived: hating religion and God, wondering if there is any meaning to life at all.
Yes, sometimes we may be disappointed or hurt, but there are different ways of responding to these experiences. Sometimes, we escape into an icy world of our own making, boxing ourselves in, but deep inside all we want is to experience the sweetness in life that we believe somehow exists, somewhere. God does not want us to suffer, but wants us to come out of our shell, to be free and to open to His love - to find that sweetness. We are not to close ourselves off, thinking we're "protected" by feeling nothing.
Losing ourselves in the culture of death, we may convince ourselves that there is no time for His love, that what we are doing is more important, but there is always time for love to govern our hearts. The way that is right for us and the ones that are right for us will never take us away from our destiny, but support us in our mission and help us in the right work. When divine love smiles upon us, we are to open to it, take it and live that sweet life He intends us to have!
Another example of the icy culture of death? A young intelligent woman grows up reading secular, socialist literature and modern philosophy. She listens to the socialists who pose as "feminists," and grows to hate the role of motherhood. Though she has children, she feels burdened by it all, never rejoicing in the wonders of their lives, never spending time with them, never focusing on them. She abandons her children when they are young and sets out to live her life on her own.
She wanders the world and misses out on seeing her children and grandchildren grow up. She, too, hardens her heart and rejects religion and God, but plays with forms of "spirituality" that allow her to think she is good, that she never needs to change how she is. She favors socialism since the government provides free abortion to kill any children that are unwanted as well as healthcare and welfare to help her get by.
She lives out her life believing marriage and family life are burdens, that women should never have to depend upon men, and that all moral restraints are ridiculous. She experiments with drugs, with all forms of sexuality outside of marriage, even with other women, and encourages others to "do whatever feels good." She dies far from her children, without coming to know God or experience his love. This is today's world, just one variation of how proud man lives in the world - sad stories, but tragically, they are real effects of the culture of death.
It is certain that the destruction of marriage and family life and the abandonment of the dear Lord result in the failure to teach many of those growing up about the ethics of life and to help them grow in faith. This is why marriage and family life are so regularly attacked within the culture of death. Only if the older child and emerging adult reasons rightly about his experiences in the world will he begin to perceive the natural moral law and then have the opportunity to find the right way.
Yes, those who embrace the culture of death very consciously attack marriage and family life. 1 They seek to poison the unique relationship that is meant to exist, and can only exist, between man and woman , and between man and God. The culture of death is the way of the thief: proud man, wherever he is found, whatever he does, robs God of the honor and reverence He is due. The culture of death robs man of all the good that God intends him to enjoy, and creates a lawless society with increasing violence and disease, robbing man of life itself.
We have seen that proud man lives as pseudo-religious man if he takes up religion, using it to advance his own status, power, wealth or pleasure, or simply to be accepted by the community around him. Too much evil has been done in the name of religion, whether accepted religions of the world, or the pseudo-religion of socialism.
We see the repeated madness of mob violence resulting in the slaughter of the prophets, the innocent, those of other religions or ways of thinking, or those who are accused of various sins by those who are themselves sinful and imperfect, as all men are. We see those who reject and challenge socialism condemned, persecuted and imprisoned or put to death, just the same as the pseudo-religious have misused their power as religious authorities to persecute and harm the innocent.
Religiosity is just one of the many harmful ways of proud man, and may end in being just as terrible as totalitarian oppression of the people. Religion in the hands of these is wielded to battle with others and amass power, rather than bring the people to God (Matthew 23). When we are tempted to condemn others, thinking we are better than they are, we must remember the words of the dear Lord: "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone (John 8:1-11)."
Proud man ignores even that! In every age, proud man has thought himself to be at the summit of achievement. When wagons, machines, automobiles, or factories were created, when science moved forward dramatically at any stage, when the printing press was invented, man thought this would finally usher in "the golden age of man." Yet, man has only become more effectively violent the more technologically advanced he has become.
When man created technology to soar beyond the Earth's atmosphere and visited the moon, when he discovered antibiotics and the cure to many deadly infections, he thought he had leapt light years ahead in the "evolution" of man. When he created computers and discovered DNA, he thought the same, but man has just as convincingly shown that he is still able to fight devastating wars and reveal man as what he always has been: the most dangerous animal on the planet.
Some of those who favor a gnostic view and pridefully believe they are god , also believe that man is evolving to the highest point in history, yet he reveals himself to be simply man, as we all are, when he complains that someone mistreated him, when he feels insulted that someone disrespected him, or when he feels the pain of a tiny thorn in his toe.
The Lord of the universe will show him the cobwebs and darkness within his mind to help man understand Who is eternal and ever-lasting, and who returns to the dust after a relatively brief sojourn here on Earth (Genesis 3:19; Job 38-42).
When death eventually swallows man as it does any other, how is he "god" of the entire universe? Then, we realize how small we are compared to all there is in this universe.
Proud man thinks that he can violate divine law and the natural moral law recklessly anytime he wishes, yet proud man, lawless man, wishes to enjoy the fruits that only arise from a moral society: a peaceful, prosperous society . When he is disappointed and feels depressed, rather than turn toward the Light and seek God's peace, he is told, "Take an antidepressant!" And large numbers are then drugged, numbed and no longer feel much of anything.
When society begins to fall apart, when more and more individuals abandon the divine and moral law, economies tumble, violence and rioting explode onto the streets, diseases spread and proud man then disingenuously suggests, "It's always been this way!
"We're just better at tracking these things now than before," he says. But people of faith know it's all a lie. A once thriving and orderly society, now led by the proud who reason wrongly, crumbles into chaos and then finally, brutal tyranny - the culture of death's vision how society's members must be controlled.
For these reasons and so many we have considered earlier, the work of the pro-life movement and the work of all the faithful, those who sincerely seek the Truth, is essential in restoring a sense of reverence for life within the hearts of the people, and within the healthcare system and society as a whole.
It is virtue in man that gives rise to the culture of life and protects the vulnerable. It is virtue in man that establishes a just and morally upright government, and clearly, only when those who value these virtues enter government, will that government be just. Then , the policies of the king, President or Prime Minister will be just. Then , the laws made by the councils or legislators will be just. Then , the rulings of the courts will be just! Then , life will be valued and protected!
That virtue only "arises from the desire for ... God; and consequently charity, which is the love of God, is called the root of the virtues (Ephesians 3:17)." 2 Those who come near to God, who desire God, have an authentic relationship with the divine and are the most humble of all.
The efforts of those who are motivated by love and work to protect life must be applauded. Each individual and each organization has their own calling, their own mission, and as they are guided to do, they must continue to serve. Although we do not know what we need to do in the years or even months to come, we do know something that we can do right now.
Many of us complain: "We don't know what to do to change society!" "We feel helpless!" Yet, there is that one thing we know inside that we have not done, however seemingly small or insignificant. That is the one thing I have not done - the one thing you have not done.
You keep telling yourself it is unimportant, day after day, year after year, but the nagging feeling doesn't go away. "It doesn't really matter!" you tell yourself yet again. But it makes all the difference !. You are called to serve. As Jesus tells us:
"... if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash each other's feet. I've given you an example that you should follow- John 13:14
That one simple thing that has been pulling at your heart - that is the one thing you and I must do now, today, in order to find our way. That is the solution! We must become involved in service to those in need and also support the charitable efforts of organizations serving those in need, as we are led to do.
Every journey has a beginning. When St. Francis was called to help rebuild a rundown old church building, he didn't know what would come next, but he did it. When St. Peter was called to follow the dear Lord, he also did not know. When the brilliant St. Dr. Giuseppe Moscati turned down a powerful teaching and research position at the university to continue to care for the poorest of the poor in Naples, Italy, he did not know where this path would lead him.
When we are confronted with human need, we hear the call to serve. We may think what we are called to do in that first step to be ridiculous or to have little meaning at all, but moving from there to the next and the next step, we find a "pathless" path opening up before us. Just as a traveler may find previously unknown pathways having traveled far along a road, we move from loving service to loving service, and find new, previously unimagined and truly blessed possibilities opening up before us.
Many charitable organizations have been started by those who have heard the call and considered the suffering of those in need. They have willed to do and actually done something. You and I have that same power given to us by the dear Lord! Some of us may be called to volunteer in clinics offering free care for those who cannot pay, or to feed the hungry, help the orphans, or minister in some other way.
In giving our lives to those in need , we gain so much more.
In giving our lives to those in need , we enter into a new world of love made manifest in our actions.
In giving our lives to those in need , we find ourselves carried along in His hands!
We must all work together to renew the culture of life - first by opening ourselves up to God's healing touch, and then by helping to reform society. This is done by striving to protect life in a spirit of service to God, the Creator of that life, and to all His children, who are those we serve, from their actual biological beginning till a natural death occurs. It is done by not hesitating to speak the truth, recognizing the sanctity of life in all human beings and sharing that vision with others .
It is done by continuing to do what deep inside we know is needed to be done right now, however insignificant it may seem. As we move along this path, the way forward will become clearer to us.
Meeting with those who are devoted to our Lord, who have reverence for life and have dedicated themselves to this work, can only inspire us to continue and will give us renewed energy to accomplish this work. Working with other individuals or organizations, we may be able to accomplish much more than what we could do on our own.
Many of the faithful and those in the pro-life movement realize that this work is good, vital, and a sacred work, but it is still not enough. If we save one person, that is a most wonderful thing. There are no words to express how valuable that is. However, when we still lose other hundreds, thousands, or even millions, it is tragic! It is an evil that must not continue.
A dark cloud has swept over the world, not just the United States of America or Canada, but over many nations. The culture of death is working quite well with those in governments around the world. That makes sense, because those in power protect those in power, those who are corrupt protect those who are corrupt. The culture of death reinforces itself, and seeks as one of its main priorities, to marginalize the culture of life, of faith, of reverence for life and for our Lord.
Many of us think, "If I had lived in the time of Christ, I would never have betrayed Him." We think, "If I had lived in Nazi Germany during the war, I would have spoken out and protected the vulnerable." "I would have fought back." We flatter ourselves and think, "If someone were in need, I would take care of them." But what are we doing now ? There is a terrible disappearing of the vulnerable occurring right in front of us! It is not announced to the world, but it is happening!
Elderly, disabled and other patients are hastened to their death, while their death certificates are falsified to declare their death to be from "natural" causes. The surviving family members know the truth. Healthcare professionals cannot reveal what they know about this stealth euthanasia in any particular case, because they are fearful of losing their career and being destroyed financially, due to the frightening penalties imposed by the healthcare privacy rules.
So, today, we have elderly, disabled and other citizens being disappeared, and what have we done to protect them? Those who hold onto power through the culture of death realize that there is nothing more radical, nothing more life-changing, and nothing stronger than the faith God gives man. Nothing threatens the culture of death more than realizing and sharing the simple truth.
The way of life we follow, the principles that guide the culture of life, and the grace given to us by the Author of that life, establish true reverence for life and for God in the hearts of the faithful. They establish the blessed community. The culture of death has no power to destroy it (Matthew 16:18).
The marginalization of the culture of life is an attack on life and the source of life, Himself. The marginalization of the culture of life is designed to seduce man, to manipulate man to abandon the Way, and therefore have man willingly do what the culture of death cannot accomplish by force.
When enslaved, imprisoned, burdened or threatened, man in this world can think of nothing but freedom and surviving to live another day. He struggles against the tyranny that arises out of the culture of death. He struggles to overcome and achieve freedom and to survive. The yearning for freedom and life experienced by man is part of his recognition of the natural moral law, that these are inalienable human rights derived from our Creator. Man is intended to be free and to live a complete life till a natural death occurs.
When man cries out or fights for his freedom and survival, we honor that brave and just quest, recognizing these as heroic acts. When the vulnerable, who often are incapable of speaking out for themselves, are victimized, exploited and killed, their desire to live and their struggle for freedom and life are no less important. While those in the culture of death declare some as non-persons and deserving of death, we actually need to be more humane in how we treat the vulnerable.
Yes, all of us are created equally human beings, but all are not able to fight to defend their rights or lives. The stronger and able must defend the weaker who are unable. Those who are not yet born are also unable to express their desire to live and to be free, or to defend themselves, but that does not make their cause less important!
How are we to protect the freedom and life of the vulnerable, of all human beings? As we have seen, although we strive to establish just laws and rulings, it is not enough to pass a law or have the courts rule this way or that, or strike down any prior court ruling. We cannot simply blame others, even those who are promoting the culture of death.
We cannot even blame those who rightfully may be deemed to be the "architects of the culture of death" 3 , having provided the philosophical and societal rationale that has helped to lead modern society astray. It is true that Karl Marx, Nietsche, Freud, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger and others promoted secular, anti-life agendas, but as individuals within society, we did not have to choose to accept their ideas!
It is each individual who has gone astray, each family that has gone astray, multiplied by so many across all of society, which has led to a widespread culture of death. Yes, it is the people themselves, ourselves, who have abandoned the way of faith, who have betrayed God and gone astray.
While misguided individuals may rule that women have the right to abort a pregnancy, and thereby kill their own child, it is each woman who must recognize the life within her and choose to care for that precious life. It is each man who must also choose to care for that very same life - the child arising out of their love. Having the immoral court-sanctioned right to kill the vulnerable does not mean we should choose to kill the vulnerable!
Unfortunately, we too often travel mindlessly along in our lives, not considering the harm we do to others. We are self-absorbed and full of self-pride. We have forgotten what it means to value life, not just our own life, but all life. We have forgotten what it means to live a moral life. We have forgotten why life should be respected, why we should care, why the vulnerable must not be allowed to be exploited, victimized and horrifically murdered.
As we have seen, proponents of the prevailing worldview in the culture of death tell us, "Question everything!" "Do whatever you wish!" They think that anything we believe about the reality in plain sight around us is flawed. They tell us our worldview and philosophy of life mean nothing and have no impact on the outcome we see in society.
However, when we find ourselves tempted to accept such nonsense, we who work in healthcare know that exactly the opposite is true: absolutely everything we do matters and can have life-changing effects on our patients!
We must consider our own experience in the world - how every moment we spend together with our children or parents is absolutely filled with meaning, or that if we don't go out and obtain food, clothing, shelter and other necessities, or if we do not defend and protect ourselves and others from harm, we will eventually die.
Even those who insanely tell us "it's all relative!" sadly realize the opposite is true when someone they love is wounded or dies. In moments like that, we all know it is very real. It matters! We can believe what our senses tell us. Our senses, along with our reason and other abilities, were given to us by God to help us navigate this world!
Basing our lives on anything other than right reason and common sense guided by the divine and the natural moral law is simply pure madness! Those who doubt that our worldview or philosophy of life matter need to consider the power of water to cut through stone. Over time, year after year, erosion due to flowing water has cut through soil and stone, and is thought to have carved out some very deep canyons.
The "bearing" we take day after day, month after month, and year after year as we sail the seas of life matter! Like Odysseus, we will never arrive home until we humble ourselves, acknowledge God and open our hearts to the way of faith. We must "sail" in the right direction to arrive at our true destination in life!
When we go astray philosophically or betray God and violate the divine and the natural moral law, everything else is affected. When a large number of individuals go astray, even a great nation's wealth will be destroyed. There is no separation between the economic issues confronting us and the social issues. They go together and affect each other (Proverbs 8:1-36).
It is no mistake that the culture of death detests the wisdom of God and seeks to suppress it at every turn. Wisdom Himself speaks and says:
... he who sins against Me injures himself; All those who hate Me love death- Proverbs 8:36
And that is exactly what many in society today choose to do! They put the divine and the natural moral law out of mind. They despise the way of faith, reject God, and reject His wisdom and law.
Rather than honoring their mother and father, for example, they shamefully eagerly look forward to the gain they make when their elderly parents are medically killed and they can inherit the house, the bank accounts, and the rest of the estate! Or, they look forward to the time when they need not care for those who once gave them life and raised them.
Others are relieved when the natural consequence of their own choices, their voiceless and unborn child within, is medically killed. They attempt to forget their act to kill their child and choose to "get on with their lives," - not to the life the dear Lord intended for them, but to the life they want to live. They often find that guilt follows them for the rest of their lives.
They choose not to consider the price paid by those they victimize: the loss of their very life! Those who choose to act in such heartless ways forget that when their own time comes, when they become the weak and vulnerable, as all of us do, a society composed of the heartless will not care for them, either. They sadly realize later that we are accountable for everything we do in this world.
We need to awaken an awareness of the sanctity of life within each individual. We must renew a sense of reverence for life and respect for the ethics of life so that man lives a moral life within this world. Each of us must find a way of reaching out to God, connecting with Him, praying unceasingly, and listening to His guidance. We need to hear the words given by the Holy Spirit with receptive, listening minds. We need to walk where we are led to go.
So many of you ask, "When will this world change?" You cry out in anguish, "Why was my loved one killed?" "Why does it have to be this way?" You tell us, "I want justice!" Yet, justice is never delivered by those who form the culture of death, by those who seek their own power, wealth, pleasure, status and fame at the expense of the defenseless.
Those who are corrupt policemen, politicians, judges, priests, attorneys and bureaucrats protect those who commit crimes while enriching each other in the process. They care nothing at all for God, the divine law and the natural moral law. This is the culture of death that obliterates all in its path, whether in a brutal Roman Empire, Nazi Third Reich, Soviet Union, other tyrannical regimes, or in the death mills known as "women's health" abortion "clinics."
In the case of those tyrannical regimes, some will say, "We can only defeat such evils by fighting, by waging war and removing them from the world." But what will we replace them with? A society similar in many ways to theirs?
The Allied nations fighting Nazi Germany harbored elements of the same type of thinking that motivated the Nazis. Religious and ethnic discrimination flourished in many nations of the world and the willingness to conduct immoral medical research and experimentation or involuntary treatment has continued for centuries.
Many nations long ago adopted policies towards the vulnerable that are now duplicating those implemented by the Nazis. Forced sterilizations, mandatory abortions, involuntary euthanasias and involuntary medical experimentation upon the vulnerable are all well-known to be widely practiced somewhere in the world today.
The willingness to use, misuse and even kill the vulnerable existed within the societies composing the Allied nations during World War II. In fact, support for the sterilization of those deemed unworthy to reproduce, the extermination of those deemed unworthy of life, and others, thrived in the United States and other Allied nations at the same time the Nazis implemented these practices in their territories.
For example, while the Nazis were conducting their evil experiments on the unwilling, American physicians were conducting their own immoral Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1932-1972); they left African American citizens untreated for syphilis, and failed to inform them they had the disease. The physicians allowed the disease to spread to their wives and children and others in the community for decades in order to observe what happened. They cared nothing for those they deceived and mistreated, and who suffered and died unnecessarily as a result of their inhumanity.
When in these days you have seen such victimization, even medical murder of the innocent, you say, "I want to prevent this evil from ever happening again!" Yet, what you desire can only be accomplished when society and the individuals comprising society change - when we all significantly change - when you and I really change (Matthew 5:20). Our loved ones will be protected when you and I do something. Believe! It does not have to be this way! It is we, all of us who comprise society, who have not paid enough attention to Him.
The philosophy that guides the healthcare system matters. A medical ethics that is not moral is no ethics at all. Rather, it is a form of sophistry used to justify wielding medical decision-making as a tool that selects those who are to be served and those judged to be unworthy of life and therefore, one way or another, made to die. For healthcare to again respect life, those who work within its halls must change.
That change we desire never occurs within us in the future . It always occurs, if it does occur, now in the present, within you and me, standing before the ever-present risen Lord. He does not call us to change sometime in the future. Be ready to receive Him the very moment you are reading this (Matthew 25:1-13)!
St. John the Baptist did not call sinners to repent sometime in the future, and Lord Jesus does not call us to wait until there is some sign or miracle or other event. He didn't tell us to wait till He returns or till someone else arrives before we changed. He calls to us now, and whenever you or I do heed that call, it will be for us in this moment, right now (Acts 22:16). Realizing that the change occurs within us, now and now and now, we need to pray and listen for His voice now and forever!
We have not opened doors to work together with others when He would have us work together. We must open ourselves to be led by God to serve along with others who are called to the work, and do successfully together what we have not been able to do alone. This is the work of the truly blessed community. What will come from a true alliance in spirit, working to renew reverence for life in the hearts of the people, nobody can tell, but we can know that it is beautiful, and worthy of striving to accomplish.
The spirit of reverence for life, the culture of life, must be renewed in each generation, in each individual's heart, in every healthcare professional's and administrator's heart for there to ever be a safe haven for the vulnerable who are being slaughtered in every niche of healthcare: in the hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, clinics and death mills. To man's shame, for those who are targeted today, healthcare has become death care.
When we note that the ideas of reverence for life or love are not emphasized in healthcare education and actually not taught at all, it is not surprising that "healthcare" today includes imposing death! Students may learn everything there is to learn about a disease, or about medications to treat those conditions, but still not know much about what it means to truly be human when serving a patient as a caregiver!
A student can spend years studying nursing, medicine or any other healthcare profession and never hear the phrases "love the patient" or "love God." Without being taught to acknowledge God and the sanctity of life, how can healthcare professionals be expected to revere life and protect it? Once we acknowledge God, we can see that prayer is perhaps the most important tool to find success in this effort.
There are those who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia, but if healthcare professionals do not acknowledge Him or have faith in Him, and if the people do not have faith, then that message will ultimately fail (even if there are some short term victories).
We must communicate truth to the people and provide the information they need to realize what they have forgotten or never knew. We must ourselves awaken to God's leading and restore a true sense of right. We must share the ethics of life with others so that man turns away from his terrible error.
This is how we can find a better way. 4 In many cases, it may take years or even generations to turn society back toward God, to renew the sense of reverence for life, but it is a worthy cause. We, ourselves, each one of us, must give ourselves to Him more completely every day. Like an onion's layers being peeled away, we find layers and layers of self-pride, anger and forgetfulness underneath. Each day we can let go of all of that and give ourselves to Him.
Any evil in us is really the absence of good, as darkness is the absence of light. Evil 5 has no substantial nature of its own, but is the misuse of what is. As good promotes the well-being and life of man, evil harms us and all it touches. Out of a spiritual blindness and a lack of right reason, we, as proud man, do the wrong, thinking it to be the good (Matthew 15:1-20). Proud man is a blind man who does not see the right way. He turns away from the light.
Because proud man does not know how wrong he is, how harmful his actions are, he is dangerous like a wolf, a wolf that has gone mad and may bite anyone at any time. Underneath it all, proud man just wants to be loved, but being unwilling to admit he has any need for change, he would rather be alone than open his eyes to his own wrong.
"Leave me alone!" proud man angrily cries out should anyone challenge him. He isolates himself and closes off his heart to those around him, all the while pretending that everything is "just fine." Inside, he suffers even more deeply as time moves on.
One day, if he is fortunate and opens to see things as they are, he will begin to understand. We can forgive man who does wrong, because it is clear that he really doesn't know what he is doing (Luke 23:46).
We can forgive ourselves, because we, too, have not known how wrong we have been. We may weep for those who are harmed, for all the violence that arises out of proud man's heart, but we must focus on the answer, because bringing light is the only answer to the dark. Ultimately, we must seek His forgiveness.
Proud man does evil in disturbing the natural order of things and by failing to choose, will to and act for the sake of the truly good. He lives without peace, just as shallow waters are easily ruffled and muddied. He becomes angry for no good reason. He holds grudges and seeks revenge. He brings war and death to those who he thinks may have offended him, and he is offended very easily. He kills the innocents, the elderly, the disabled, the ailing and the unwanted.
Some may be tempted to think that we must focus our lives on fighting the evils of this world, bringing lawsuits against those who do wrong, or even attacking them violently. Although there are times when we must use force to defend the right, we must remember that like a wrestler clutching his opponent in the ring, if we fill our hearts with anger and immerse ourselves in fighting evil, we become tied up with it. We may lose our way in the struggle, rather than focusing on the light, rather than focusing on the dear Lord (Matthew 26:52).
We may be tempted to hate those who do the evil and forget to love all, or forget to have compassion for those who harm others out of blindness to the true good. If we simply strive to apply right reason to everything we do in healthcare and in our lives, looking to True Man for guidance, we will find the way, and good to those we serve will be done. Yes, we must protect the vulnerable and stop harm from occurring as we can, but first and foremost, we must embrace Him!
Otherwise, we take the path of proud man who ignores the warnings given to him as he goes astray, not just once or twice, but over and over and over again. We are told, "Don't do this!" but because we want to become rich, or we want to be respected and make a name for ourselves, we don't listen. We are told, "Stop!", but because we want to get whatever it is we desire , or because we don't want to lose whatever it is we care more about than God, we don't listen (Revelation 9:20-21).
The dear Lord sends others to us again who share a word of caution so that hopefully, we will act prudently, wisely. We still arrogantly and stubbornly ignore them, thinking that we know better. We tell ourselves, "We'll make it work!" We try to convince ourselves that what they say is irrelevant, ignorant or backward, or, we recognize the truth in what they say, but ignore them, because we want what we desire. When we still ignore the wisdom sent to us, we invite disaster, and end up only later bitterly realizing, "They were right!"
He sends others again and again. Day after day, month after month, year after year, in our very own lives, He sends people to us to help us get back on the right path. In the past, He sent prophets and elders and the wise in all times and places. He searches us out and brings us back if we will allow ourselves to be brought back.
He will ask us, "Do you love Me?" And when we say, "We do!" He will tell us, "Feed My sheep (John 21:15-19)!" Care for others! Feed those who are hungry! Clothe the naked! Shelter the homeless! Heal the sick! Teach those who do not know the way! This is how man in the world truly becomes man as he was meant to be.
Our Teacher is a wondrous God, a great God, an almighty God. He guides us even today. When we open our ears to hear, and when we act according to His will, it brings a great blessing to all of us. We were created to do wonderful things, to have dreams of what might be and to make those dreams a reality.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.... - Psalm 46:1-4
It is not so much how fast we travel on this journey through life. The really important question is whether we know where we're going, whether we are on the right road, and what we do while we're on this road. Without a compass to guide us, we travel from one monstrous disappointment to another, struggling through that desert of our own making.
Yet, He is the compass who shows us another way. He encourages us. Finally, we realize that we can no longer remain proud man and find our way at all, or be able to serve rightly. We cannot remain arrogant and easily offended by those who challenge us and expose our error. We realize we must tame our self-pride and be humble enough to accept His gentle correction and guidance (Revelation 3:19).
When we finally realize the absolute futility of doing everything wrongly - as proud man can only do - and that He holds the answer to all we seek, we surrender completely to Him with full devotion. 6 When he sees that we are then faithful in doing even the small things, He will show us the right way.
When He was abused and mistreated, True Man was not offended, because He is not proud. Like deep ocean waters that are not easily troubled and are never muddied, even if angered, He remains pure and is quick to forgive those who turn away from their error.
True Man sees how lost we are as proud man, but He gives His life for us. He loves us so much that He wants to help us find our way home, and so He came to live as man in the world. He
"... was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. - Isaiah 53:5-6
True Man has shown us a way, a humble way.
If we see and acknowledge our errors - how terribly wrong we have been...,
If we finally decide to choose to, will to, and actually do the right, avoiding the wrong,
If through faith we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, accepting His forgiveness, He will come to us (Revelation 3:20).
His Holy Spirit will teach us many things, guiding us as we journey in this world (John 14:15-31, 1 John 1:9). We will focus on the Light and practice sacrificial love, as He did. We will leave the darkness behind. If we are to live by the truth, we will come "into the Light (John 3:21)."
We may doubt and think that only those "special" ones, the "saints" are capable of living in this way. We may think that we are just "small fish" and the saints are "big fish," and that we can never be like them, but younger fish can grow into big fish when they eat enough good food and mature. The saints were all "man," just as we are, but chose to change their hearts and how they lived.
They became something more, not through their own efforts alone, but through the grace they received when they sincerely opened themselves to Him. They were nourished by the bread of life and were cleansed with the blood of life (Matthew 26:26-29; John 6:1-59, 63). They heard the words of the dear Lord and took them to heart and followed Him. Proud man refuses to eat and drink what is truly good , and therefore, never grows into what he is meant to be.
If we think only the saints can live that way, we have misunderstood much of what the dear Lord taught, because much of what He taught has to do with any one of us who desires Him (those of us who are very young "small fish") being capable of coming to Him, knowing Him, finding forgiveness and going on to live the life man in the world is meant to live (Matthew 19:14).
Just like those who achieve great success in this world, those who are considered saints are those who have failed, but never gave up, never stopped reaching out to Him! 7 They remember that the Lord has said,
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9
Knowing He is with us, we can get up again, try again, and never stop trying (Proverbs 24:16). If we are to make this change in our own lives and in healthcare and society, wherever we may live, we must take refuge in Him. Even if we believe we are doing "good work," if we care more about any possession, any status, power, pleasure, knowledge, wealth or anything else in our lives, than we care about Him, we still remain proud man and are lost (Matthew 25).
If we care more about getting revenge for the wrongs done to us or others, we still remain proud man and are lost. The cycle of anger and hatred never ends that way, and nothing we do with this mindset will bring peace to our heart or goodness to society! Nothing will change. Only when we let go of our vengefulness and forgive can we ever see that we must have and then share reverence for God and for life with others - only then can we see that this is the answer.
Although man never perfectly fulfills the law and is therefore, condemned by his sin, accepting God's grace through faith in the Lord Jesus frees us and transforms us. Then , we will see how wonderful the divine and the natural moral law is, how it guides us, how it lives and breathes life into all we do, making each act an act of love (Matthew 5:17). Then , we will see that His grace helps us act with authentic justice, mercy and faithfulness, and enables us to possess wisdom, or prudence, as well as truthfulness, temperance, and fortitude.
It is no mistake that He has given us the capacity, the drive , to love, and that we do find ourselves overcome with this transforming love. He created us this way, that man and woman, each one of us, experience and reflect the love He has for us and then share that love in this world. It is right that we love and care! It is the highest fulfillment of the divine and the natural moral law - that which all of right reason leads us to do.
Man is capable of such great good when he acts with the right motive, in the right way, at the right time, under the right circumstances! We admire the accomplishments of others when they work hard, perfect their skill and show the world what man can do. In every field of endeavor, self-discipline accompanied by the application of the moral virtues results in excellence. It is no mistake that man is capable of so much. We were created this way!
When proud man acquires power and position, he keeps himself aloof from the common man, considering himself one of the elite, looking to see that others consider him great, even "a god" among others. However, man would do better to strive to be true man - then, he will be faithful to the God that truly is. When the man of faith finds himself in a position of power, he humbles himself and regards every person he meets as an equal in life with something important to share. He is down-to-earth and approachable, serving the lowly with just as much attention and care as he will give to the most powerful.
When through the application of our God-given abilities we reach higher and farther, solve problems and master new technology, when we create, the dear Lord is the first to applaud the accomplishments of man. There is a true beauty that arises in any work of man done in the right way, for the right reason, and in harmony with the divine and the natural moral law. When others perceive that beauty, they are inspired. They suddenly forget the problems that had been troubling them. They find love bubbling up from within spontaneously.
We will be amazed to see this love arise here within our own lives as we reach out to Him when we sincerely seek to serve Him and our brothers and sisters in this world. We will be overcome with awe when He shares with us what we truly need. You have a question about what to do? Ask Him! ... believing in Him, that He will answer, and He will! He says to us, now, in this moment:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you, then, though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask him!
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 7:7-12
If we are to follow True Man's teaching and demonstrate the compassion He had for us all, we cannot avoid making sacrifices so that His justice is accomplished in our work. There is no real compassion and love without the self-sacrificing way of the cross: this path cannot be taken without allowing the pride within us to die (Luke 14:27). There is no true joy without letting go of our attachment to those things that we thought would bring us joy.
It is only when our eyes are opened and right reason guides us that we perceive the true value of life and therefore care deeply for those we serve. This is what charitable love is: considering others to be truly dear to us 8 and doing all things with great care based upon this valuation. When we consider each one we serve to be dear, just as dear as many value the most precious jewels, we have reverence for life.
But what happens to those whose lives have not been held dear and who have been abandoned in their early years? We may wonder what happens to these children who have been wounded when raised within the culture of death. It is likely that they are left to grow up without learning much at all about the divine and the natural moral law or God.
They may, if they are fortunate, be told by someone once or twice about God, the Lord Jesus, the Bible, and stories of the prophets and saints mentioned in the Bible when they are quite young, but then what? Some of the children will remember what was said, because truth resonates within them, and they will hope to learn more.
Yet, the children will attend a government-run school that has scoured all textbooks of uplifting material so that no mention of God occurs in the classroom. The children may drift through the years not knowing where to turn.
Like all children, they just want to be loved. Eventually, the children may meet a teacher who is full of faith and shares real love with them. He somehow communicates to them that God really is and loves each one of us. Proud parents often give rise to proud children, but proud child still has free will. He can choose to open his mind and heart to what he learns from those who share a bit of light. He can choose to search out the truth and find what he knows deep within is real.
Finally, it is God who will touch him, and it is the child himself who will either finally embrace the One who loves him and experience the love that was denied him in the home, or reject Him and repeat the mistakes of his parents.
The child, and later young man or woman, experiences this world and may lose himself in an unrestrained, hedonistic enjoyment of the entertainments and experiences of life while stumbling along, searching unsuccessfully for a love that lasts forever, a love that will never disappoint.
If he is fortunate, he finally reaches out and finds the love he had been seeking all along - He embraces the Lord who is the King of love. The dear Lord calls the child to Him, embracing him, and the child answers, "I am yours Lord, always, only yours!" "My body, and all that I am - these are yours to use as You will!"
The child raised within the culture of death may be pierced with anguish for an entire lifetime - having likely experienced parental divorce, and the ongoing rejection of his own parents and family because he chose to accept the dear Lord. He suffers knowing that they have not found the way of life and then waits patiently through the years hoping that they may also open their hearts to Him.
Man, once child, is comforted by the Lord's grace, even when members of his family obstinately harden their hearts (Luke 12:53). He knows that "If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10). He tells the Lord, "Take me! Use me! ... all the days of my life!"
We who seek to establish a culture of life must offer ourselves in just this way, no matter what others may do. We enter into a new world filled with the love streaming from Him into our hearts. Through His grace, we who are imperfect and weak may carry others when they are weak, overcoming obstacles together as they arise in our path.
But, even if we do not know what the future may bring, we must move forward in the spirit of sacrificial love. We cannot afford to hide behind the pretense that everything in our lives is acceptable or that we have all the answers. Even if we attend religious services but then forget Him and all He asks, what good is it at all?
We have been put on this Earth to do something. We have been called to be and do something special and uplifting that only we can do, in our time, in our space, for those around us. If we turn our back and walk away, we may be swallowed up in darkness, and lose sight of the Sun so completely that we give up all hope of ever finding our way home again (Jonah 1-4).
But we can choose differently, act differently and open ourselves to what He has to give. Empowered by His grace, we who are imperfect help others who are also imperfect, and understanding this, our love and compassion grows. This is the heart of advocacy.
We will stumble along, hoping to do our best, but in striving to do that best, we realize the dear Lord is pleased that we seek to do the right, that we seek to be as He would have us be, that we take refuge at His precious feet and find all we ever need (Psalm 118).
When we allow ourselves to be found - when we no longer hide from Him by losing ourselves in the world (Genesis 3:8) - when we accept His grace - only then will we finally return to our true home .
Only then will we be ready to hear what He has to say. Only then will we better understand through right reason what His will is for us in this world. The life of man, lived rightly is a love story, the story of man in the world and our Beloved. Shall we not please our Beloved? Through marriage and family life, loving and serving each other, or even through living dedicated solitary lives, we serve life and in serving the lives before us, we serve Him.
We who are concerned about the plight of man, who see the suffering masses and wonder what we should do, and who feel the urgency to act and help those who are stricken, must hear what the Lord Jesus says to each of us, to me, to you, right now:
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." - Matthew 25:40
Choosing to and willing to follow His teaching, to serve all our brothers and sisters in this world, to reach out to Him, we travel along His way. After a while, we leave the ways of this world behind. For us, every moment is dedicated to Him - every day an opportunity to glorify Him by serving those in need. We are in the world but not of this world, and the majestic and sparkling glory of the dear Lord becomes palpably present.
His way involves the practice of the virtues in our own lives, in our actions, and in how we interact with all those around us. To the extent we act virtuously, our acts are good . "Virtue denotes a certain perfection of a power," 9 and the virtues taken together perfect each "power" of man, such as his power of intellect, will, desire and emotional natures. Prudence (practical wisdom), justice, temperance, fortitude, mercy, fidelity, and other virtues, - all work to bring man into alignment with His will.
The virtues not only align man with His will, but impel man, guiding his thoughts and actions so that all that man is , and all man can will to do and actually do, moves toward God who is Life . We can see then, that it is virtue infused into man through grace that enables man to live according to the divine and the natural moral law and establish the culture of life in healthcare and society as a whole.
Just as a freight train has tremendous momentum in moving forward, when the virtues reside in man, especially those imparted through grace, he has something like an almost irresistible "momentum" of being and a habit or tendency to do rightly that flows toward his ultimate happiness which is found in God.
Like a great river flowing over many miles and waterfalls to ultimately join the Ocean, man is carried along in the right direction through the virtues, working irresistibly for his own true good and the true good of all he meets along the way.
Just as cloth, once dyed, is transformed and made into something new, man is forever changed once the dear Lord has touched him. The man who has opened his heart to the Lord finds himself uplifted and cleansed, and possesses the virtues (Revelation 7:13-14).
For men and women such as these, everything done becomes worship. Every day and every moment - sacred. Every person they meet is an opportunity to serve Him. If they teach, they teach for His sake. If they design, build, maintain or repair objects, they do it for Him. If they work to serve in any way or bring healing, they do it so that His glory is manifest in how they help.
There is no separation between the "sacred" and the "profane." All is sacred, because everywhere they turn, and in every moment they live, He is with them! (Matthew 28:20) Moses removed his sandals because the presence of the dear Lord made the ground holy (Exodus 3:6). For every step taken, we know that we stand on sacred ground, not only because He created all of it, but because He is here with us right now!
Thus, individual men and women, who collectively comprise all of society, live self -governed lives according to right reason which affirms that which is truly just (Deuteronomy 10:12-21), and the culture of life flourishes. When each healthcare professional is therefore dedicated to the true good of the patient, all who serve promote his well-being and life, protecting the patient from harm and assuring the very best in care.
It is man, the "rational animal," who considers what he is to do in this life, who decides and wills to do and then acts. So, when man acquires that right reason , he thinks and wills rightly. He acts morally, and because he possesses the just and right attitude toward God, opening to and adoring Him with all his being, he also moves forward on his inner secret journey and encounters the dear Lord's radiant smile and unfathomable love. When we open ourselves to His Holy Spirit, our intellect is illumined; darkness is left behind.
We experience the truth that "... in Him we live and move and have our being ... (Acts 17:28)." We find ourselves speechless before Him. Words no longer suffice to explain - we are immersed in His unfathomable love.
As St. Thomas Aquinas said shortly before he passed on:
"I can no longer write, for God has given me such glorious knowledge
that all contained in my works are as straw ...." 10
We need not try to remember - we are irresistibly called into His presence! One day, we will find ourselves with Him, praising Him always. He has promised us: we will not be hungry or thirsty anymore. Though we may have suffered much, as we dwell in His presence, there will be no more tears (Rev 7:13-17).
We may dance. We may cry.
We may whirl around and leap for joy or we may sigh.
We may laugh. We may shout and sing.
We may pray and kneel before Him.
But with every breath we take, reverence for Him overflows from our being (Psalm 23:5). With every beat of our heart, reverence for the lives of those we serve pulsates within. This is the real solution, the only true solution to the evils in healthcare and society as a whole. Though we are imperfect, we are made to be acceptable in His sight, through grace. He speaks to each one of us and says,
"... I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless." - Genesis 17:1
If there is anything worthy to do in this world at all, it is to walk with Him, to do His will, loving Him and serving others with a merciful and loving spirit, every day of our lives (1 Peter 1:13-25).
This is the way to restore the culture of life. These are the ethics of life that must guide man's conduct in the world. When man follows these ways, there will be peace and goodwill in the hearts of all men who live in this world.
There is only one power that can restore the culture of life, and that power is His! When we allow His wisdom to guide us and His power to strengthen us, those who are in need will be cared for by those who have true reverence for life .
1 Hillary White, Group marriage is next, admits Dutch 'father' of gay 'marriage' , LifeSiteNews.com, March 12, 2013 [ Back ]
2 St. Thomas Aquinas, " Whether covetousness is the root of all sins? ," "Of the Cause of Sin, In Respect of One Sin Being the Cause of Another," "Treatise on Habits in Particular," Summa Theologica FS, Q 84. [ Back ]
8 St. Thomas Aquinas, " Whether love is the same as dilection ," "Of the Passions of the Soul in Particular: and First, Of Love," "Treatise on the Passions," Summa Theologica FS, Q 26, article 3. [ Back ]