Sunday, March 4, 2012

Giving Life to Little Souls

Emily Rapp and Ronan.
I was greatly saddened by an article (reported by LifeSiteNews) by Emily Rapp, who says she would have aborted her son, had she known during her pregnancy that he had Tay-Sachs disease (which results in blindness, paralysis, and death at a very early age). She writes:

If I had known Ronan had Tay-Sachs… I would have found out what the disease meant for my then unborn child; I would have talked to parents who are raising (and burying) children with this disease, and then I would have had an abortion. Without question and without regret, although this would have been a different kind of loss to mourn and would by no means have been a cavalier or uncomplicated, heartless decision. I'm so grateful that Ronan is my child. I also wish he'd never been born; no person should suffer in this way—daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain—with no hope for a cure. Both of these statements are categorically true; neither one is mutually exclusive.

I don’t doubt this mother’s love for her son, and I don’t doubt her sincerity in wishing she could have saved him from his suffering. What mother doesn’t want to save her child from harm?

But her statement tells me something else about her. She does not know God as the omnipotent, loving, merciful Father He is. She doesn’t know the salvific value of suffering. She does not know that regardless of the suffering we endure on earth, it is nothing compared to the eternal happiness and perfection that is offered in Heaven to those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow him faithfully.

In the big picture, it really doesn’t matter whether a person’s life “is worth living” according to the standards we earth-bound human beings use to measure such a thing. Every life is worth living because it means a soul has a chance to enter Heaven and to exist for eternity in communion with God.

Holy Innocents
Once a soul has been conceived, parents are duty-bound to protect it and do everything within their power to help that soul get to Heaven. Killing an unborn baby takes away that soul’s chance for Heaven, even though we have assurance that the soul will be happy and without any suffering (see "Second Thoughts on Infants Who Die Without Baptism"). A newborn baby should be baptized as soon as possible to ensure entrance into Heaven should death befall the child in the early years of his life.

Had Emily Rapp aborted her son Ronan, she would have robbed him of his rightful chance for his place in Heaven. And just as a mother wants to prevent her child from suffering, so also does she hope for and strive to provide the very best for him. To that end, I hope Emily Rapp has had her son baptized. Then at his death, after she has watched him suffer in ways that she could not alleviate, she may rest assured that little Ronan’s soul is in Heaven, in the arms of God, and feeling no pain or suffering whatsoever. Denys the Carthusian describes Heaven like this:

My soul, how great and what priceless happiness will it be for you to see the God of infinite beauty face to face, and to be a partaker with Him in the depths of his sweetness. What will it be to possess forever, the All-High God, our only and changeless good! In Him, happily to hold and to possess, in overflowing measure, the fullness of all beauty, and of all that can be wished: yea, and safe in eternity to have your heart's wish; ah! Think what it will be! To taste a peace that is of God and made by Him: to plumb the depths of the sweetness of his love! What will it be, o my soul, to be caught up by the love of your Creator, to be made a partaker in the Godhead – how thrilling – how much to be longed after! And then, to be close locked in God's most loving arms, so that no one shall nor ever can tear you away from before the glowing gaze of his joyous countenance, nor from the embrace of his love!

There is no gift that surpasses that.

But…it’s not just the conceived souls about whom we must be concerned. There are also the souls who exist in the mind of God, and whose conception awaits a couple who will say “yes” to God’s invitation to give that thought life. The contraceptive mentality of our society has prevented untold numbers of these souls from coming into existence, all because we put our own selfish desires and concupiscences ahead of God’s plan for life, all because we “aren’t ready” or “we can’t afford another child” or whatever other reason we come up with that we think trumps God’s perfect will.

Pius XII, in his Address to Newlyweds (March 1941) said:

It will depend on you whether those innocent souls, whom the embrace of Infinite Love desires to call from nothing, shall come to the threshold of life, in order to make of them one day His chosen companions in the eternal happiness of Heaven. But alas! If they remain merely magnificent images in the mind of God when they could have been rays of sun that illuminate every man who comes into this world (John 1:9), they will remain forever nothing but lights extinguished by the cowardice and selfishness of man!

Openness to life means more than being anti-abortion.

It also means more than being anti-contraception.

It even means more than being pro-NFP.

It means…being opentruly open…to life. It means seeking God’s will in everything – especially in the conception and birth of children.

I’ll have more to say on this issue, but haven’t yet molded my thoughts into an essay; if you’re interested, keep checking back!  In the meantime, listen to this sermon by a priest who touched my conscience with his comments about NFP, the duty of motherhood, and the souls that are lost due to the contraceptive mentality of the world today.

1 comment:

  1. Is there a link to the full Address to Newlyweds (March 1941) ? Please email me at


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