Thursday, August 23, 2007

Listening in

I've had this thought gnawing at me for a long time and I'm apparently now in a sufficiently cantankerous mood to pull together a post on it. Of course, blogging when cranky is always a dangerous proposition, but we'll see where this goes.

One day some time last year (see, I told you it was a long time) I was standing outside my kids' school waiting for the bell. As per the norm at a Catholic school there were a few groups of parents, mostly moms, waiting and chatting with each other. Some were chatting about kids' TV shows, some about a recent party or sporting event - the usual not-entirely-inane banter that goes on between parents of young kids. Before I go on I should remind you, kind reader, that this is a Catholic school which requires its students to be Catholics or minimally baptized Christians and which sits within shouting distance of a rectory, church and Jesus Himself in the Holy Eucharist in that church. This is a place where holiness, sanctity and purity should be oozing out of every opening. Should being the operative word.

There was one other group of mothers who were wrapped up in quite a different conversation. They weren't talking about the Wiggles, Thomas the Tank Engine or Saturday's soccer game. They were comparing the relative benefits of the shot, the patch and the implant. Not the ones to help you quit smoking, no. The ones to help you commit potentially mortal sin any time, for any reason, with any one without any potentially messy consequences. One then chirped in delight at the thought that "they're coming out with one that makes you only have a period once a year!" I'm sure the Virgin, whose statue looked out the window, was most excited to hear about that little development. After all, why let nature interfere with some good clean hedonism?

I'll admit - I froze there, partly in shock at what I was hearing. At least, I'd like to think it was more shock than my unwillingness to grasp the opportunity God was placing before me. To this day I still wrestle with that situation - what would have been the right thing to do? Direct confrontation? Silent prayer? Somewhere in between? Feel free to unload in the combox what you would like to think you'd do.

If nothing else, for me this whole situation was and is a reminder of how far we still have to go as a Church and each of us individually to bring the light of the twin pillars of the Culture of Life, Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae, to the very people to whom they were written. It also reminded me that we cannot be a lampshade to the light of that truth - we are called to reflect that light, not stand in its way. I pray the hearts of those ladies are opened to the truth, the gift, that is Life and that they may receive it as a gift and not discard it as a toy they've already played with too much. And I pray that I may some day do better than to impersonate a human fly catcher with my mouth hanging agape in stone silence.