As we prepare for tomorrow's first anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, we would be wise to ponder the continuing ways in which we read of God's love for us.
Yesterday's readings presented images of God as loving parent. Jesus talks of His relationship to the Father:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel." (John 5:19-20)
However, the most striking image from yesterday comes in Isaiah: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you." (Isaiah 49:15)
As Fr. Pavlik said in his homily yesterday, the love of a mother for her child is one of the strongest bonds known to man. It is universally accepted as the greatest definition of earthly love. It is inconceivable that a mother could forget this love. And yet, even if she should forget you, God will not. Even if a mother's love turns away from her child, unimaginable as that might be, God's love will stay firm and steady.
It is hard to imagine receiving any stronger words of assurance than these. And these readings from yesterday show us everything that is wrong with today's culture of death. The mother's love for her child is a given, unquestioned. And yet we have mothers today attempting to murder their unborn. Pro-abortion groups don't even seem to bother debating whether or not the unborn child is actually alive. It's all a matter of how you define a productive life, a worthwhile life, a convenient life. Life is what you make it. Not what God makes it, but what you make it.
"Whatever [the Father] does, that the Son does likewise." And so our children grow up observing our callous attention to life, the ease with which we seem to disregard it. Perhaps the child is even aware of another brother or sister who wasn't born, who was prevented from achieving life outside the womb. Is it any wonder that these same children turn a cold eye to their parents as they age? They debate the usefulness of life, the wisdom of medical treatment, the "mercy" of "assisted suicide." Some see the handwriting on the wall and give up, lobbying for their own death as a "quality of life" issue; and you wonder if in some collective, subconscious sense they realize the role they are consigned to play in the play they helped create, and decide to stop fighting.
In these ways and many others, we have truly made a hash of God's love for us. And so we live in the culture we live in. But we take consolation in the fact that God does not make a hash of His love. To Him it remains pure, unchanging, ever devoted. And we turn to Him for consolation, and are received like a loving mother, like a loyal and devoted father, in the glorious honesty of His love.