Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky, News Consortium, ZEBULON, NC

12/23/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Is Every Life Precious In Our Eyes

The readings at Mass this weekend focused on the Visitation, when our Blessed Mother, carrying the newly conceived Word Incarnate, traveled to the home of her cousin Elizabeth.  Mary was in her teen years, having not even been with a man, when the Holy Spirit sparked life in her womb.  Elizabeth was close to giving birth in her old age.  While today 40 is labeled "elderly" in the obstetrical world, Elizabeth is considered to have been far beyond that age.  Counseling women friends through our Natural Family Planning ministry, I've rarely heard a woman say she'd consider a teen-aged or a senior-aged pregnancy a welcome blessing.

Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky, News Consortium, ZEBULON, NC

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/23/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: unborn, St. John the Baptist, abortion, pro-life, sacrifice, motherhood


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "How are you feeling today?" reads the text message that's just come in.  Contemplating the nearly unabated nausea that already began shortly after I opened my eyes to the morning's light, I type back one word, "nauseous." 

"Cool, glad to hear it, honey. Have a good day!" is the response from my sweetheart of a husband a moment later.

Now before you write my spouse off as some cruel barbarian caveman, who drags me around by my tresses, you should consider a different perspective.  Over the last few years, our family has suffered the loss of several miscarried children and we'd begun to think that our days of childbearing were coming to a close. 

Yes, many of us, from our first grader to our older children were praying persistently for the blessing of just one more sweet newborn head to kiss, but we understood that not all prayers are answered in the manner we expect.

So, one year after our last eternal soul was carried up to her heavenly home, we were overjoyed to accept the gift of a new life in the womb.  Of course, along with the joy came that nausea and a number of other unpleasant physical challenges.  But rather than pray for the removal of these daily crosses, we understood that they are positive signs of a life continuing and a chance to offer thanksgiving to God. 

Oh, to be honest I do complain now and again, but then I gently tell myself, or that wise spouse of mine reminds me,  that each day is an opportunity is relish the time I have with this baby.  Truly, our earthly time together may be limited to days, weeks, months or years.  So, rather than waste a single moment,  I try to embrace the sacrifices needed to grow and protect this child and trust that this offering of my very body is worth it no matter the final result.  Because even if we are called to relinquish this little one before we are ready, he or she was created for eternity and that's an awesome perspective. 

The readings at Mass this weekend focused on the Visitation, when our Blessed Mother, carrying the newly conceived Word Incarnate, traveled to the home of her cousin Elizabeth.  Mary was in her teen years, having not even been with a man, when the Holy Spirit sparked life in her womb.  Elizabeth was close to giving birth in her old age.  While today 40 is labeled "elderly" in the obstetrical world, Elizabeth is considered to have been far beyond that age.  Counseling women friends through our Natural Family Planning ministry, I've rarely heard a woman say she'd consider a teen-aged or a senior-aged pregnancy a welcome blessing.

When we view these circumstances from a proper historical distance though, our eyes are opened to the reality.  Mary said yes to God's plan even though it may have made no sense to her at the time and placed her in very vulnerable position; however, her example of supernatural surrender and heroic trust opened the door for salvation for every human person to follow.  Elizabeth, who suffered the cross of infertility and carried the label of barren for so many years, was now about to give birth to St. John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, "...among those born of women there has been none greater..."  I imagine these joyful mothers scarcely considered the minor inconveniences of motherhood too much to bear.

How simple it is for us today to arrive at knee-jerk conclusions, to offer our opinion based on erroneous ideas.  Our culture fuels a plethora of misconceptions and false opinions around which many form their consciences.   
 
Consider how we mourn as a nation over the devastating loss of life in Newton, CT.  The innocent children, who were gunned down, are rightly upheld as precious, lost lives.  The women, who selflessly donated their lives to protect their students, are honored as they should be.  Our president was moved to tears as he addressed the shocked nation, referencing his own cherished fatherhood. 

On the very same day in our country, we allowed an abortionist to dismember  an innocent, unborn child and called that a reasonable choice that his/her parents were entitled to make.  Rather than offer support and encouragement to brave mothers, who unexpectedly conceive, we encourage the opposing message that strong, free women place themselves first even if it is to the detriment of another life.  The president, who contemplated the faces of his own beloved daughters, has forgotten that they were once unprotected, living persons developing in their mother's womb.

What if one of the teachers, who gave her life so readily for her students, had been pregnant?  Would we count an unborn child among the dead?  Would the church bells have rung 27 times?  What would have been our perspective of an innocent, unborn child slain by Lanza while still within his mother?

Of course, this unthinkable tragedy may lead others to hold their children a little tighter this holiday season.  Perhaps, the parents, who were focused on purchasing presents, will instead take their children to church for the first time and refocus on the true meaning of Christmas this year.  Maybe, a frightened unwed mother saw her unborn child in the faces of those sweet, Newton students and found the resolve to embrace her motherhood.

Basing our perspective on truth is necessary if we are to rightly judge the circumstances we encounter as we live out each day.  If God creates all persons and if He creates all persons in His image, then each person is worthy and valuable. 

Spending a little time thinking about the real life characters documented in the Bible, we meet a diverse bunch through whom the Creator chose to make manifest His plan of salvation.  It is than that we gain a clearer perspective.  Greedy tax collectors, weak-kneed Apostles, adulterous women, stubborn prophets and unborn babies were His ministers to carry out His work on earth.  Of course, those who were living in sin were called out and they ultimately chose the better part, a life for Christ and in Christ. 

My family's openness to life and our surrender to the possibility of suffering allowed Our Creator to reach down from the heights of the universe and form a perfect, unrepeatable person, made in His image.  We hope to hold the result of our openness, to stare deeply into the eyes of this expected child at the appointed time.  Irregardless, though, we stand firm on the truth that our sacrifices will not be in vain because abandoning oneself to the Divine Plan always has an eternal reward.

Nibbling another salt cracker in an attempt to keep my nausea to a tolerable level, I offer this simple prayer, "Lord, thank You for this day, for the chance to cradle this baby in my womb.  Thank You for allowing me the privilege to sacrifice myself for another.  And thank You for shaping my perspective by way of Your cross."  

-----
Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of seven living children with six more heavenly ones who intercede.  Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat and a bunch of chickens.  Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes for the the glory of God.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


ę 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Living Faith

International community has done too little in Syria and Iraq, Cardinal Vegli˛ declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegli├▓ met with Pope Francis last week. The President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Cardinal Vegli├▓ me to discuss the plight of those fleeing the Islamist violence in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Labor Day: Human Work Has Been Raised to the Grandeur of God Watch

Image of For the Christian, all human work participates in the ongoing work of redemption

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

When God Incarnate entered into our created world, he sanctified humankind and the labor in which men engage in order to shape creation. It is in gazing through the supreme lens of the consummation of God's revelation, the Person of Jesus Christ, that the divine light ... continue reading


Pope: 'God wants us to grow in the ability to come together, forgive each other' Watch

Image of Pope Francis drinks a traditional South American drink called mate offered by the faithful as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, addressing more than 12,000 people that had gathered for the pope's catechesis and blessing, touched upon a common human trait that everyone must strive to overcome. The Pope said that while envy, jealousy and cruelty are human instincts, they are ... continue reading


Why Do We Commemorate the Beheading of John the Baptizer? Watch

Image of The Beheading of John the Baptizer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We now refer to this Feast as the Passion of John the Baptizer more often than the Beheading of John the Baptizer. However, given the realities we face in this new missionary age of the Church, the actual beheading rushes to the forefront. We are seeing it in our own ... continue reading


How much power do you really have? More than you think!

Image of YCVF continues to deliver quality learning tools to Catholic students.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this year, representatives from Catholic Team Global donated a batch of XO Tablets to a humble Catholic school. Now, Catholic Team Global is preparing to do it again with support from its members and valued readers of Catholic Online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Challenging the just war theory

Image of The horrors of war persist long after the shooting stops.

By Tony Magliano

Is there such a thing as a just war? Can the massive death and destruction of armed conflict ever be morally justified by followers of the Prince of Peace? For the first disciples of Christ the answer was a resounding "No!"During the first 300 years of Christianity it ... continue reading


St Augustine Teaches Us How to Read the Bible Watch

Image of St. Augustine writing

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bible is not some-thing, but reveals Some-One. In the words of St. Paul to Timothy, all Scripture is inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16) The Greek means God-breathed. They reveal Jesus Christ and our encounter with Him is the heart of what it means to be a Christian. ... continue reading


Spiritual Childhood and Contemplative Prayer Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

One of the greatest joys in this later chapter of my life is an unexpected gift, his name is Noah. He is my grandson. He calls me Poppi. He is seven years old and so very wise. Noah continually confronts me with the utter simplicity, trust, openness and beauty of ... continue reading


How to Avoid Sliding into Pharisee-ism Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest, by Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) hangs in the London Museum of Art.  The painting depicts Jesus, standing before the High priest - with His holy hands bound. The Priest, who at the time I thought was a Pharisee, is looking up with an arrogant demeanor and a pointed finger.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

A priest friend once reminded me that not ALL the Pharisees were so blinded by their self-righteousness that they failed to recognize that the One whom they so often sought to correct was God Incarnate. And, of course, he was correct. The Pharisees were a genuine ... continue reading


What every catechist needs but few have

Image of A complete library of books for catechists should feature the USCCB's full collection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're a catechist, then you're aware of the importance of your role. You provide the core of Catholic education to our youth and adults who are entering the Church. As such, you are familiar with the teachings of the Church and can probably answer most questions ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter