From the book of Jeremiah, 1:4-10:

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

My spiritual director keyed me in to this passage as I dwelt on the blessings God has given me, and whether I am wasting them.  She was trying to strengthen, I think, the sense of God’s presence and purpose in my life.  If I stay close to Him, nothing will be wasted.

My wife is due any day now with our second child, and when the spiritual director asked how this passage was affecting me, I noted that it was doing so greatly, and over a couple of generations now.

If it’s not already, this passage should be a clarion call for Catholics on the matter of abortion.  Truly, I don’t encounter very many professed Catholics who are pro-choice.  Sometimes I’ll hear about exceptions, but it’s not as divisive as the issue of gay marriage, for example.

This passage took me to those exceptions.

As someone physically incapable of being in the same situation, I can only say that there is surely not enough consolation in the whole world to make up for the trauma of rape.  I hope that my closest encounter with rape will only be the disturbing thought of it; even then, if my eyes are pointed in the right direction, I am sure that I would rather die than suffer it.  If it happened to someone I love, I would become murderous.

What occurs to me, however, might constitute a fragment of the divine consolation that awaits those victims.  In other words, God would even wring the rag that has soaked up your tears, and out will come holy water.  He will raise up the lowly, and is there anyone more lowly than a fetus conceived through rape?  (If you need evidence of this, consider the context:  These fetuses are offered, too lightly, as the sacrifice given for exceptions to any rule against abortions.)

God did not make the rapist a rapist.  The gift of life which He endowed in that man is complementary to the gift He endowed in you.  Taken by itself, this gift is the awakening of each new generation, and an awakening to the miraculous of the generation becoming parents.

Moreover, that may be a prophet growing in your belly.  It will surely be someone uniquely called, uniquely “set apart” by God.

Perhaps most of all, there may be nothing more God-like that any human can do, than to fulfill the term and give birth to that person.  To my mind, there is nothing I can possibly do which would be so grace-full as that.  (It now occurs to me that so many stories featuring a male hero through history have only been my gender’s attempt to match the heroism of a woman in labor).

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