Dear Friends for Life: In recent months, newspapers, magazines and news reporting have shown worsening trends regard current life issues. The slippery slope is widening and people’s lives are hurting. God is gradually being removed from society, leaving a road of confusion, suffering and hidden guilt in its wake.
During my annual retreat earlier this year, Psalm 139 caught my attention with its powerful message on Life and God’s personal relationship to us as individuals. The Psalm is very meaningful and easy to understand. The Psalmist teaches us God’s direction to Life, Happiness and Truth. Containing insights which are very relevant for the modern world, the Psalm can be broken up into four categories: (1) God knows me, (2) God is with me, (3) God created me, and (4)God’s cause is my cause.
While reflecting on the greatness of God’s character to the reality of troublesome times surrounding us, a thought struck me, “What would the world be like without the living presence of God in my life, in the life of the world?” “What kind of choices would be made?” “What would the end results of those decisions be?”
Life is full of “choices.” Everyday from the time we wake-up till we go to sleep decisions are made. Whenever we encounter one, only two avenues are available to choose from: a road which leads to LIFE or a road which ends in DEATH.
Several weeks have passed since my retreat. Gradually I have come to realize that the opposite of LIFE is no-life, that the road to Death leaves a void, a nothingness. By trying to remove God from society and its legal decision-making process, people choose a path of destruction, violence and evil. The devil can only smile whenever man freely prefers to choose Death (nothingness) over Life (God).
Jesus tells His disciples, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Jesus makes it very clear that He, and only He, is the WAY. When He says, “I Am the Way”, Jesus surrounds man with his knowledge. He discerns and separates the good from the bad, or the goodness of an action from the evilness. Next, Jesus states, “I am the Truth”. Why? Because He Himself is that truth. In Jesus there is nothing evil, nothing misleading, and nothing fake. And finally, Jesus says, “I Am the Life.” Here He clarifies that our goal is not an earthly life, but eternal life with Him. Although the current times may look frightening, we are comforted in knowing that Jesus is here to help us. He is the Light of the world. He is its pulsating heart.
Jason Soroski sums it up very well in his commentary, “When Jesus refers to himself as the way, the truth, and the life, he is giving us a better way to live our lives through him. He is showing us that through following him daily in faith, he will lead us to a better, richer, more meaningful life than we could ever find on our own.”
A few current examples will illustrate how man chooses Death over Life. (1) ABORTION. Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human life. The killing of unborn babies is evil. End result: family structure weakens; long-range suffering and guilt feelings of couple; female physical side effects and Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. (2) EUTHANASIA. Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain, suffering or maybe just loneliness. End result: weakens society’s respect for the sanctity of life; kills people who are thought undesirable or worth less than others, eg. disabled or the sick. (3) SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. An abnormal marriage-like relationship, also known as gay or homosexual marriage, between two women or two men. End result: rejects self-evident biological, physiological, and psychological differences; denies the specific primary purpose of marriage between one man and one woman – the perpetuation of the human
race and the raising of children. (4) TRANSGENDER IDENTITY. Based on feeling; claim that the real self is something other than the physical body, in a new form of Gnostic dualism; promotes a radical expressive individualism in which people are free to do whatever they want and define the truth however they wish; riddled with contradictions. (Read “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” by Ryan T. Anderson)
Additional “Dead Roads” include Human Trafficking, Sex Selection, Death Penalty, HIV/AIDS, Climate Pollution, Pornography, and the litany continues. The most recent is laws making —-Infanticide—- legal, allowing the newly born baby to die on the table after it is born. In the United States alone, 19 states – nearly half the country – basically allow infanticide.
The “End Result” of each of these Roads is evil and ends in darkness or Nothing. Without God there can be no happy future, only a huge sick void. Recently, I attended a funeral of a friend’s eldest son who died from cancer. Toward the end of the service, it is customary to place a flower inside of the wooden coffin and touch the hand or face of the body as a departing gesture before cremation occurs. Yet even before touching the body, I could feel the coldness surrounding the entire body. There was no life. Soon cremation would turn it into ashes. Where once was Life, now only an absence, a Nothingness.
Nothingness is the trail left behind when man removes God from society. There is no hope, no happiness, no future. Moses tells us in Deuteronomy that God has set before us Life and Death. Moses clearly encourages us to “Choose Life” that we may be alive. Our life on earth is short, let us choose wisely.
Today, I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live,
by loving the Lord your God,
obeying his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live … (Deut 30:15, 19-20)
Jerry Novotny, OMI
(The Difference is LIFE)
“I sought to hear the voice of God And climbed the topmost steeple, But God declared: “Go down again—I dwell among the people.” – John Henry Cardinal Newman
“Let us take things as we find them: let us not attempt to distort them into what they are not… We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them. We must use them.”– John Henry Cardinal New
Websites by Fr. Jerry
(English) Fighting for the Culture of Life – (Fr. Jerry’s Blog)
(English) Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate