Life, chains, and Life Chain Sunday.

Three items to wrap up my weekend:

Life: My sister just gave birth to our family's newest little darling--a boy, a sweet, precious, mellow little boy. Upon seeing him for the first time on the day of his birth, I couldn't help but cry. One day, I'll get to say to him, "I've known you since the day you were born." Granted, that means I'm getting older. But what a wonderful time of life it is. Praise God.

Chains: Sean is still enchained with his persistent pain. We're to the phase with his treatment that we expect to see, any day now, some improvement. We'll continue looking for that first little glimmer of relief over the next few months. In the meantime, he limps and struggles when he's at home, and puts on one hell of a brave face when anyone else is looking. A dear old family friend (one who has known me since, yes, about the day I was born) sent us a watercolored card with this message on the front: Don't quit before the miracle.

Life Chain Sunday: I wish I would have brought a camera with me to Life Chain Sunday today. Unlike last year's rather weak attendance, this year, at least 60 pro-life signs dotted Ruby Avenue. Standing on the corner, holding a "Women Do Regret Abortion" sign, I couldn't help but smile: We were men and women, young (15 months) and old (maybe 75 years), Catholics and other Christian faiths. We all stood in the beautiful October sunshine, publicly defending life, waving to those driving by with happy honks, and smiling at those with flipping middle fingers (to which I always think, "Stop flipping me off and steer").

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman for the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement marking the 40th anniversary of "Respect Life Month." In it, he condemns the recent decision of the Department of Health and Human Services to call both surgical sterilizations and all FDA-approved abortifacient drugs as "preventative care," making them mandatory in private health care plans:

The decision is wrong on many levels. Preventive services are aimed at preventing diseases (e.g., by vaccinations) or detecting them early to aid prompt treatment (e.g., screening for diabetes or cancer). But pregnancy is not a disease. It is the normal, healthy state by which each of us came into the world. Far from preventing disease, contraceptives can have serious health consequences of their own, for example, increasing the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS, increasing the risk of breast cancer from excess estrogen, and of blood clots that can lead to stroke from synthetic progestin. Mandating such coverage shows neither respect for women’s health or freedom, nor respect for the consciences of those who do not want to take part in such problematic initiatives. 
Here's the part I'm still thinking about (emphasis mine):

The founders of our nation understood that religion and morality are essential to the survival of a freedom-loving society. John Adams expressed this conviction, stating: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” 
That's just it: Secular society today would happily see both morality and religion vanish (or be persecuted out of existence). 

And so life, chains, and Life Chain Sunday all have their part to play in building a culture of life. Bringing new life into the world means that we try and raise those people who are happily bridled by both morality and religion--I know I am. The chains of suffering in life keep us close to the Cross, waiting for our miracle. 

And Life Chain Sunday? It shows, among other things, that morality and religion are far from vanishing. In fact, they're right there, on the corner of Ruby and Mission in Spokane, Wash. 

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