Bulletin (January 15, 2005)
At all Masses this weekend, we will have a presentation by a representative of Human Life of Washington. Here is their Mission Statement and Goals:
Our mission is to reestablish throughout our culture, the recognition that all beings of human origin are persons endowed with intrinsic dignity and the inalienable right to life from conception to natural death. To accomplish this restoration, we use peaceful and lawful means of educating and motivating the human heart.
Through educational, legislative, and judicial efforts, we seek reform in our culture's understanding of:
- The recognition of a dignified and comprehensive definition of "human person."
- A return to the critical assumption that all beings of human origin should be considered "persons," and treated as such.
VIEW OF LIFE
- Recognition and promotion of the intangible contributory dimensions of happiness, success, and love by family, social, religious, educational, business, and political communities.
- Response to the spurious belief that some human lives have "quality" while others do not; cultural consensus that all human life has intrinsic value and immeasurable worth.
- A dignified community response to human suffering; one which views compassion as "suffering with" the other.
FREEDOM AND RIGHTS
- A cultural attitude which embraces common responsibility in its pursuit of ethics and freedom.
- Legal and cultural respect for the inalienability of rights.
- A restoration of fidelity to the objective priority of inalienable rights.
- A cultural philosophy which unites individual rights with the common good.
This past week I have been on retreat at the Brigittine Monastery in Amity, Oregon. Their founder was St. Bridget of Sweden. Before I left for the retreat I came across this biography of another Scandinavian saint: Niels Steensen, better know as St. Steno:
Niels Steensen was born in Copenhagen, the capital of Lutheran Denmark, in 1638. He studied medicine at the University of Copenhagen during turbulent years when the plague killed a third of the population and when he and other students had to man the city walls to defend the citizens against a Swedish invasion.
Steno, such was his Latinized name, studied anatomy in the Netherlands, France and Italy for many years. During these years he made several ground-breaking discoveries concerning glands, the brain, the heart and muscle-geometry. Being a true scientist he also made observations of nature in general and through such a series of observations and publications he is also considered to be the founder of the science of geology. In 1669 he published a startling proposal: that the fossils and rock layers of the earth, if studied scientifically, gave a valid chronicle of the earth's history.
His enquiring nature also led him to study the foundations of his Christian faith. This faith was intimately linked to his work as a scientist, and after thorough theological studies, and also with the encouragement of good friends; he was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church. Soon after he was ordained a priest and a bishop and sent to the northern part of Germany.
He died in 1686 after several years of pastoral service, and his corpse was moved to Italy where it is buried in a sarcophagus in the San Lorenzo basilica, Florence. Pope John Paul II canonized St. Steno on October 23, 1998. His feast day is December 5. He is a wonderful saint for our time since his life dramatically illustrates that there is no ultimate conflict between science and religion or faith and reason. St. Steno, pray for us.
Este domingo habrá un representante de la Vida Humana de Washington en todas nuestras misas. Aquí hay una pequeña reflexión sobre el valor sagrado de toda vida humana:
NO HAY VIDA HUMANA INÚTIL
Para el cristiano no hay vida humana inútil, por más que las apariencias sugieran lo contrario. Toda persona, cualquiera que sea su estado físico o psíquico, está eternamente llamada a ser eternamente feliz en el cielo. Aunque a veces cueste entenderlo, también el dolor entra en los planes de Dios y lo encamina al bien de los que le aman.
Una tribulación pasajera y liviana -dice el apóstol Pablo-, produce un inmenso e incalculable tesoro de gloria (2 Cor 4, 13-15). ¿Qué decir, pues, de una tribulación grave y duradera, como puede ser una vida con graves deficiencias físicas o psíquicas, tanto para quien la sufre como para quienes han de protegerla y mimarla? Somos pobres en palabras que expresen su grandeza y el honor eterno que alcanzarán. Considero, hermanos -insiste San Pablo-, que no se pueden comparar los sufrimientos de esta vida presente con la gloria futura que se ha de manifestar en nosotros (Rom 21, 8-18). El Apóstol se gozaba en sus sufrimientos, porque así cumplía en su carne una porción de lo que Cristo ha querido sufrir en su Cuerpo, que es la Iglesia, para el bien de sus miembros y de toda la humanidad (Cfr. 1 Cor 12, 27).
Por eso, la Iglesia -afirma el Papa- cree firmemente que la vida humana, aunque débil y enferma, es siempre un don espléndido del Dios de la bondad. Contra el pesimismo y el egoísmo, que ofuscan el mundo, la Iglesia está en favor de la vida.