Sunday, August 4, 2013

"She is here because the world was created to receive her"



Simcha Fisher at National Catholic Register:

The Earth is a Nursery


Last weekend, I went to Boston to meet with some college friends. I realized, to my shock, that it had been nearly twenty years since we first met each other. We go for months at a time without doing more than liking each other's baby snapshots on Facebook, but whenever we do meet, we just pick up where we left off. The only difference was that, when we first started meeting in Boston as new college graduates, we went bar hopping. This time, we met for lunch at a sit-down restaurant, and one of my friends asked the waitress if she could turn the music down. Nobody had more than one drink, because we had to drive home; and we talked less about concerts and guys and weddings, and more about dealing with high school guidance counselors, and whether or not we were planning to dye away the gray. 
And two of us had babies with us. This isn't especially notable, for our Catholic crowd. But as we sat chatting and sipping iced coffee in Harvard Square, people stopped to stare. Literally every five minutes or so, someone would remark or exclaim over the babies. And the babies were very cute; that's indisputable.

But after a while, we started to glance at each other in bafflement. We're used to people saying, "Oh, what a cute baby!" We are not used to everyone stopping to say it, and to marvel that there are not one, but two -- two! -- babies in a group of five women. A policeman in a cruiser even pulled over, rolled down his window, and said, "Whoa, I didn't know this was the nursery!" 
We smiled and laughed, but after he pulled away, the mother of the younger baby looked around our group, whispering a headcount to herself. ". . . Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen . . . " she said. "Should I run after him and tell him that, among us, we have twenty more kids at home?" 
It was a lovely day, and I talked myself hoarse, and went home feeling grateful to have such good friends to visit, and such a big, happy family to come home to. But I couldn't help thinking of some of the stories my friends had told. In Harvard Square, it was all coos and admiration for the two pretty little babies who were just learning to try to grab Mama's coffee cup away.

But back home, when our family is out in full force, I've had a woman hold a door for my double stroller and hiss, "You have too many children." My friends have been lectured in their church parking lots about their irresponsible breeding behavior. They've been glared at for the high crime of bringing children into a supermarket. People get up and change seats with a groan of disgust when we come into a waiting room, as if the pretty little toddler in sandals and a sundress is covered in oozing sores. That phrase kept coming back to me: "I didn't know this was the nursery!" It's true. Nobody knows. People think you have to have a special reason to have a child (or another child, or another child) when you're married. People think the earth is some discrete entity that was rolling along in space just fine until these foul, pestilent humans barged in out of nothingness and started -- ugh -- reproducing, of all things. 
In a way, the distaste children is easy to deal with. It's so obvious that only bad guys hate babies. But what tears my heart is the people who reach out in wonder and astonishment at a baby, as if she's a novelty, something lovely and exotic, a precious, aberrant artifact that they're drawn to and long for, but cannot understand. A baby is a sweet hallucination, something you enjoy before coming to your senses and getting back to your real life. 
But babies are real life. The earth is a nursery. Of course it is. And we're called to clean up after ourselves, and not be wasteful and not wreck the place up. (Most of the big families I know live in such a way, because of their size, that their carbon footprint is the same or smaller than the average two-child American family; and when the children grow up and move out, they tend to live the same way.) But the only reason it's here -- the only reason it's in the Goldilocks Zone, which makes it possible for a planet to support life, is so that it can support life. It wants to support life. Why else would a planet exist? It's here so that people can live on it. 
You married couples, have a baby if you can! Have another one. Don't be afraid. I know -- believe me, I know! -- that the circumstances are not always ideal. But I'm getting gray hairs. I'm looking at the end of my fertile years, and I'm telling you that the window for having children is actually pretty small. Don't be a fool. Don't join the crowd that looks in astonishment at a little baby, wondering why she is here.

She is here because the world was created to receive her. 

God created the universe for us.

I know that strikes our modern secular sophists as embarrassingly anthropocentric, but truth is truth, however unfashionable. Children are not impositions on our lives, nor are they fashion accessories, as some Hollywood folks who collect them from far-away lands seem to believe.

Children are the reason for creation. They are tangible manifestations of God's love. The Catholic Church understands this, and has taught it for two millennia. The family is the image of the Trinity-- father, mother, and children, and the love between a man and a woman gives rise to a child-- a person-- just as the love between Father and Son gives rise to the Holy Spirit-- a Person.

One of the chief-est manifestations of the sickness of our modern culture is our denigration of children. We abort them in genocidal numbers, and if they are born we tear apart their families in divorce and out-of-wedlock births and when they grow up we render them sterile with government-provided drugs and warn them not to make others like themselves, lest they pollute the earth.

But those are lies. We are each created in His image, and each child conceived is a blessing.

We are here because the world was created to receive us.

15 comments:

  1. Adm G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyAugust 4, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    My compliments, Egnor. The quoted material is good... but your closing comments are inspired. And True.

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  2. Egnor: "God created the universe for us.

    I know that strikes our modern secular sophists as embarrassingly anthropocentric, but truth is truth, however unfashionable."

    It does, it does. :)

    If the universe were created for us, it was a monumental waste of time as it stood empty for 13.6 billion years. And what's with all the empty rooms? We get to inhabit an unimaginably tiny portion of the universe, having no hopes of ever reaching the outside of our Milky Way galaxy.

    "Children are the reason for creation. They are tangible manifestations of God's love."

    Some tough love, I tell you. One in three children died without reaching adulthood in the Middle Ages. He was either incompetent or (given His omniscience) showed reckless neglect for His children.

    "The family is the image of the Trinity-- father, mother, and children"

    The likeness is especially striking in China, with its one-child policy.

    "and the love between a man and a woman gives rise to a child-- a person-- just as the love between Father and Son gives rise to the Holy Spirit-- a Person."

    That's so gay!

    "One of the chief-est manifestations of the sickness of our modern culture is our denigration of children. We abort them in genocidal numbers, and if they are born we tear apart their families in divorce and out-of-wedlock births and when they grow up we render them sterile with government-provided drugs and warn them not to make others like themselves, lest they pollute the earth."

    A sermon that does not Democrats is a sermon that goes to waste.

    "We are here because the world was created to receive us."

    Delusions of grandeur.

    Hoo

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    Replies
    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyAugust 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Galvani lives! No detectable cognition, but the H-reflex (i.e., Hooter reflex) is present.

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    2. How come you're not in church, admiral? It's Sunday, for Christ's sake! Did they forget to wheel you out?

      Hoo

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    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyAugust 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Will a pacifier help, Hoots? Or is our favorite little spasmo meat machine just too hungry for attention?

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    4. Hoo,

      Re the waste of time: Time is only relevant if you are in the stream of it. God is not 'in time', He creates/generates it. Consider how human consciousness can manipulate time and the past (superpositioning, for example). Now extend that concept to a Creator of all, and you will see he does not 'waste' time. He uses it like we would use a tapestry or canvas. Your assertion also presumes that no other life or purpose could be found in the entire cosmos, which is not a given. The 'world' referenced in this post is our world. That does not mean God created no others, or that there not other 'rooms' in His 'mansion' (ie creation).
      Time is a fascinating subject, indeed. Time is never wasted, but always used. With the universal exception of perhaps observing a broadcast of 'TMZ' or reading a 'Twilight' novel.

      Re child mortality: One of the most difficult questions facing humanity is that posed by theodicy and specifically of natural evils. The mortality rates of innocent children (both born and those killed intentionally in the womb) is a hard fact. A hard fact in the Middle Ages, and a hard fact in entire regions of the world today. I would counter your argument in two ways. First I would suggest that any life is better than none. That a soul that has come into being is precious and transcendent. Secondly I would suggest that all life is precious and we should do everything we can within our power as free willed beings to protect children at all stages of development, and that we should do so because we know it is objectively wrong not to. If that is agreed upon, then we must also agree there is an objective right thing to do (ie protect children). If we can agree upon that we must then consider the universal nature of that understanding. If we get that far we can then begin to wonder at the source of that objectivity. Evil is a shadow cast by the obstruction of the light of the good.

      Re that's so gay: Only if you are thinking in sexual terms. I will note, however, that I hold a different view of the nature of the family in comparison to the triune than that expressed in the post. I know where Mike is coming from, but I see it a little differently. Just as sacred, but in a slightly different light.

      Re the Democrats: I would suggest that this kind of madness is not isolated politically.

      Re delusions of grandeur: Au Contraire! A vision of humility and a glimpse of our duty and responsibilities. No one is suggesting WE made everything or that Earth is simply for our amusement, but rather that we serve a purpose and are duty bound to the morality hard wired into us to that end.

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  3. Mike,

    God bless you, my friend. A wonderful post for a Sunday morning. It is by the grace of God that these words should find me this morning, having just attended a beautiful Christening service. The wonder of a child is unquestionable one of the most precious things two people can bring into the world.
    My deepest thanks to you for being the messenger of these most relevant thoughts.

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  4. Guess where the happiest children in the world live? That's right, in the Netherlands. The US ranks near the bottom in this study, just below Greece. Note the high ranking of the 'socialist' and 'atheist' countries.

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    1. Troll,
      I did not see any atheist countries on those lists.
      China, for example, is not listed. I do see several prominent Christian nations, and a lot of pluralistic nations.
      None that meet the criteria of state-atheism.
      As for the value I would place in such data - I don't. It's the UN. That translates to: 'politically slanted globalist bullshit'.

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    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyAugust 4, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Dhimmi, if the Neds are so happy, what the fuck happened to you? You are a hateful, bitter troll, hiding behind anonymity and spouting vitriol.

      Delete
    3. Crusader:

      I did not see any atheist countries on those lists.

      Did you notice my use of quote marks? The top-ranking countries are among the least religious in the world.

      The study was conducted in 29 western "developed nations", excluding, e.g. China and Australia.

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    4. Troy,

      When defining a nation, you need to look to the government and constitution. The founding and mechanism of the nation, not the social trends within.
      The nations on the list are not atheist, with or without inverted commas. They may have large populations of affluent people who have drifted away from the traditions of that land (including religious traditions) - but they are founded and run on ideals that are at their very core religiously tolerant. Further, religious does not denote lack of faith. There are plenty of people who have deep reservoirs of faith who simply do not attend a church for one reason or another. Many of them will not wish to divulge that information or were simply not polled.
      Just as there are (increasingly) many people who value the scientific effort, but do not actually work in a lab or even actively oppose the abuse of science. We could not say that those nations are 'anti-science', could we?
      Again, social trends do not define the nation in which they exist. You may as well say countries that are happy are just so because of the use of smart phones, certain recreational drugs, or even musical tastes.
      Further the very choice of the nations involved belies the nature of UN studies like this. Why exclude the southern hemisphere? The east and Asia? Why compare tiny principalities and republics with VAST nations with separate regions of governance? Such incoherence and inconsistency speaks to an agenda driven paper. Most of what the UN produces falls into exactly that category of work. It is about as reliable a form of data as a Chinese food restaurant that lists 'delicious egg rolls' on it's menu.

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    5. I should also note one of the key statistics for happy kids is vaccination programs. The absurdity of this number should be self evident. Are we to suspect that children sit about worrying if they have been vaccinated against this or that pathogen? That they MAY contract some disease or another? The UN LOVES it's vaccination programs, so it includes this as an indicator. The nations that do not follow their specific regime of vaccination for children (even if it is just as effective or better) are marked down.
      Typical UN BS.

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  5. Wonderful post Dr. Egnor.

    Children are the most precious creations in the Universe.

    My mom used to say "if God made something more precious than children He kept them for Himself!"

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