January 25, 2009

The Weak That Was

It's been a tough week. For pro-lifers, like myself, the Inaugeral felt like a Wake that was waiting for the body. Death arrived in quick fashion as our new President decided more people around the world need to "enjoy" the same rights to kill and have sex without "consequences" as we do in the States. Also, more embryos get to die and be harvested so the living can enjoy a better quality of life.

It's enough to make one want to stay in bed and never get up.

I felt like that this week.

In addition to having to suffer thru the gloating of the pro-death among us, I found myself weeping several times this week because Thursday was the 20th anniversary of my brother's death.

I don't talk about my brother much. It's not because we were not close. We were very close. I don't talk about him much because it's a very painful subject.

My brother died of cancer, and many other complications like spinal meningitis, at the age of 17. A brain tumor was found in the base of his brain when he was 12. He was my only sibling. We spent a lot of time together as kids. I still miss him. I wonder what his life would have been if he lived, if he'd never been sick. What would my life be if he were still in it? How would things be different? Better? Worse?

No one has ever been tactless enough to ask me that if there was a way to save my brother, no matter what it was, would I take it? I've thought a lot about it and the answer is: no. If research developed from embryos could save my brother would I welcome it? No. I would not. Death and murder to save life does not really save it. It kills it. Sin to do "good" kills us.

Death and illness are learning experiences. That's probably a shocking statement but that's the conclusion I've come to. I cared for my brother and my mother. Both had cancer. I buried both of them by the time I was 30, along with some grandparents and cousins.

What did I learn? Outside of the nursing experience, I learned a lot about myself. How much can I take? I can take a lot. In no prior nursing experiences was I particularly close to the Lord. I knew He was there but I pretty much ignored Him. I only invited Him on occasion and I was a poor hostess. I was mired in sin. It's surely a sign of God's mercy that I did not die because I'd surely be in Hell.

"Good" paired with sin kills us. Maybe God would've had mercy on me if I'd died and rather than Hell sent me to Purgatory but that's not my call to make. Sin is sin and I was full of it. Well meaning people can be full of sin. Seemingly cheeful people can be full of sin. Sin overshadows good like an approaching thunderstorm covers a sunny sky. It gradually overwhelms and covers us. We are weakened by it.

I was strong but I was weak. I relied totally on myself and congratulated myself for my tenacity.

I wonder since my reversion what it would be like if I could do it all over again but have the relationship with the Lord that I have now. Would I, then, have made sure my brother received the Final Sacraments before he died? Would I have made sure he had a priest to hear his Confessions, to bring him Communion as he was ill? I did none of those things. Same with my mother. Nothing.

I've learned. I did not make the same mistakes when my Grandma passed last year. I was all over my fallen away Catholic relatives insisting a priest visit Grandma before she passed. She got one. I knew enough not to seriously consider it when she begged me to kill her. That's what it comes down to. A test of what it really means to be merciful. Is it merciful to kill someone who is ill when you kill your self in the process? Is that what self-sacrifice really means? Killing your soul so someone else can feel better? I don't believe so. You can physically offer yourself to physically die in someone else's place (as many Saints have done) but our bodies are nothing without a soul. It's our souls that matter.

When we define quality of life to the conditions of our physical body we miss the point. Sure, it's great to have ripped abs but are Angels in heaven rejoicing over that or over your soul turning away from sin? When we want to kill life because it's not born yet we don't consider its soul any more than we are considering ours. When we think the comatose or the stroke patient would be better off dead because they can't form words or get up and be productive taxpayers we forget about their souls as much as we forget ours.

It really comes down to this: Is it me or is it the Lord? Is it my will or His? A wise priest I know was always murmuring "Your will be done, Lord. Not mine" Words that become more deeply profound to me with each passing day.

I will lose every time I arrogantly make the assumption that I have power over life. My life. Other lives. I can influence. I can make a difference but it must all be in His name, not mine. My hand must be guided by His.

The President may have "good" intentions. He may honestly feel he is helping people by allowing embryonic stem cell research, by allowing our tax money to pay for abortion and contraception in Ghana. Good intentions cannot be good if they contain even the smallest bit of sin. Sin is like a malignant cancer. It spreads and it kills.

This is not the time to stay in bed and never get up. We, I, all of us, need to call upon the Lord and, in His name, do His will to influence others, to make a difference. If you've never before stood up for the true teachings of life, as taught to us by Christ thru the Magisterium of His Church, I cannot think of a better time in history than now.

During much of my life, when I thought I was strong I was really weak. There was a time I wished my brother and mother dead and would probably have "helped" them along under the guise of being merciful or of doing them a good. It's not for me to decide what is good and merciful if I do not even know what true good and true mercy even are. Only Jesus can teach us mercy and goodness. We can only know it when we follow Him.

The President talks a lot, seemingly when it politically suits him, about faith and God. Anyone can talk, it's action that counts. His actions this week, in what he calls choice, are not only choices between life and death, they are choices between heaven and damnation.


Blogger Bobby said...

It's all about feelings.

I thought about this while eating lunch earlier this week. Years ago when the NASCAR Racing computer games were around (from Sierra, not the present EA stuff), I would repait make my online racing car for this week. Instead of the traditional red and black paint job, I used software to repaint the car, change the decals, and made the Monte Carlo white with a red rose on the hood and on each side. The National Right to Life Committee decals also decorated the car.

January 25, 2009 8:56 PM  
Blogger Tom in Vegas said...

I'm quite demoralized about the culture of death taking over the country. You see, what you have with Obama and those who promote infanticide is a subtle and more fashionable form of Nazism. If you don’t include a swastika, and you intermingle the words “love” and “rights” and “prosperity” with the pro-abortion agenda, it suddenly has a different feel. It’s no longer seen as mass murder or infanticide or misogyny. After all, people who wear suits and claim to work for a brighter future for Americans would never advocate such a misanthropic ideal, right? Americans are not stupid. But if you can mislead a few, the rest will surely follow.

I’m so sorry to hear of both your mother’s and brother’s passing. I trust - whether they took communion or not before they passed away - that God is merciful beyond comprehension. Sometimes we lose sight of that and become the Catholic equivalent of bible-thumping, brimstone and fire Protestant fundamentalist. Fundamentalism is a huge mistake for any Christian to commit - tragic if committed by a Catholic.

Hope you have a better week.

January 25, 2009 9:21 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Much love.

January 25, 2009 9:32 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Thanks for sharing that, Janice.

I lost a younger sister to drugs. It still hurts me, too.

Love and prayers.


January 25, 2009 9:39 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

We've had a lot of the same experiences. Thank you letting the rest of us know we are not alone.

January 25, 2009 11:42 PM  
Blogger Angela M. said...

No comment. Just a huge hug.

January 26, 2009 1:30 AM  
Blogger Mary Rose said...

Also giving you a huge hug. Your post is a good reminder why we can never stop our efforts. I am glad God has brought a deeper understanding to you, and also wisdom. We are all flawed in our own ways but praise be to God, He loves us, scoops us up, cleanses off the world's grime, and then places His light within us so that would shine forth into the darkness.

You're one of those lights and I'm glad I met you. May you feel His comforting arms around you.

January 26, 2009 4:27 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

I had a brother. he died of hepatic Cancer. He was three years old.

I often wonder what my life would have been like if my big Brother had lived.

I too lost my mother. It took six months for me tor cry about it.

Yes, Death and Illness are learning experiences.

I have nothing of substance to say, other than that common experience is part of the Communio that binds us in Christ.

January 26, 2009 1:52 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

You've won an award


January 27, 2009 6:32 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

Like you and many of the commenters, I share very similar experiences. Very well said. Obama is just a piece of the mindset that finds life only valuable in a narrow range (I have problems with those hospice workers who have a misguided idea of what "helping" people at the end of their life entails).

May Our Lady comfort you and give you some peace this week.

January 27, 2009 8:39 PM  
Blogger Georgette said...

Beautiful and poignant post,(((((((Cathy)))))))
May he rest in peace and may you and your dear dad be consoled.

And Ray, I'm so sorry about your sister, I did not know. May her soul rest in peace and may the Lord grant you healing.

January 28, 2009 9:15 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Thanks everyone!

January 29, 2009 7:59 PM  

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