Human

January 30, 2013 § 5 Comments

Guest Post by Juliana Schmit

Leo!

my little boy, the joy of my life
my ambitious two-year-old son
he can walk, speak, and point out a cow
or run away when he hears me say “come”
Be it impatience or gleeful song,
the span of his emotion is clear:
he croons “poor baby” to his crying sister
compassionately drawing her near

he is warmly and vividly flesh and blood
his being thrives with life
I’ve bandaged his bleeding and iced his bruises
and kept his tiny feet covered at night

I’ve seen his eyes, their melty brown light
look wounded when I snap too loud
and I’ve seen them crinkle and shine in wonder
when I hold him and say that I’m proud

he knows he’s a person, a funny one, too
he entertains and adores the spotlight
he knows he’s captured the heart of his father
who rushes home to him each night

Anyone could see the way he grows
in every aspect, every day
but who would look and make the claim
“Boy, your fertilized egg turned out great!”

I’d probably turn and furrow my brow
but before I could even respond
would another exclaim “yes it was nice of you
to let that unviable tissue inside of your womb live on!”

are we looking at the same child, I wonder
could they purposely be so blind
so eager to accept mainstream euphemisms
and dismiss my child with practiced lines?

because this toddler that I’m looking at
is a human now, he always was
there was never a magical day when he changed
from a blob to human flesh and blood

if he started off as merely tissue
not a child, but something dismissable
was there a period of time when the change
took place that made him less discardable?

did it start at his head and work its way down
from blob to boy, he slowly changed
was a third of him a human at one point
and then half of him human the next day?

and was two-thirds of him then human (just not the feet)
was he almost done being a “parasite”?
or did it happen in an instant
with a tiny sparking poof of light

the day the laws made it illegal
for me to “get rid of” him
is that the day my son earned the right
to finally be called “human”?

Others might’ve asked of my unborn son
“but will he have financial opportunity?
because if he’s just going to be one more poor person
we might put his personhood under scrutiny.”  (he might not get that title back!)

Well, he’ll have food and clothes to wear
but if necessities were at risk
his father who is man enough to be a father
would work three jobs to take the brunt of it.

“But if you didn’t know his father,
the child was forced on you, a hurtful burden
surely you would have consented then
that he was a problem and you were undeserving.”

and then I’d hang my head in grief
for women who bear that scar…
but a human created in cruelty and hate
is still a human when it’s torn apart.

My son in his first month, unborn
was human, science cannot deny
and he had the right to be called “human”
even if I’d wanted him to die.

the line of development he’s followed
has never been broken from conception through now
silent and defenseless then
he has become dramatic and loud!

my little boy is running in circles
and jabbering as I type
he knows nothing of “tissue” and “parasite”
and “blob of cells” or pro-choice hype.

I am the only one who carried him
who felt his body growing week by week
and being his mother gives me the unopposable authority
to declare that he was human while he was the weakest of the weak.

everything of intelligence, of study
everything of science, faith and reason
acknowledges that my son who is is my son who was
and he’s always had the right to be called human.

Let’s Call It What It Is: “Human”  by Juliana Schmit
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The March For Life

January 27, 2013 § 7 Comments

Rose’s Note: You may be familiar with my 11 year old sister Genevieve, who has written a number of guest posts for me.  She recently attended the March For Life in Washington, DC, and added her voice to half a million others to protest abortion.  Here are her (completely unedited by me) thoughts on the March and on the babies for whom she walked.

The March For Life

by Genevieve

Again and again I get the urge to march for the murdered children, even if I’m not on the March for Life. This year, though, I was. I think our point has been made each time our feet drum against the ground during the cold day. Now I’m sure there have been many sunny days that the March for Life has seen, but I hear stories of the cold rain, cloudy sky, the cold air choking you as you walked. I believe God does that for a reason. I am most likely wrong, but I think that God makes it snow, rain and makes the clouds cover the sky for a motive: He wants to make us see how sad it is that we are murdering the voiceless babies! In politics, many speak out against something that affects them, but the babies can’t have a say, so it is our duty to make sure they have a full life ahead of them.

My nephew and niece, Leo and Lucy, have impacted my life more than I could have ever imagined. What would happen if I didn’t have them? I would be bored, boreder than usual, and there would be no spice in my life :).  So, marching for the small children that grow up to be the next future doesn’t seem so bad, even if it is in the cold snow and your feet feel like they’re going to fall off. I hope President Obama’s heart was touched today, and if it wasn’t, we’ll keep marching no matter what the weather is like, no matter what the world is like, there will be at least ten people in the world who want whats right.

M4L3

M4L4

M4L2

M4L1

Leo and Lucy:

P__0126

Rose and Genevieve:

Rose and Genny

Bl. John Paul II’s Prayer for Life

January 22, 2013 § 1 Comment

I thought it would be fitting, on this 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade law, to post the prayer written by Pope John Paul II, at the end of his Evangelium Vitae encyclical.  This prayer has been hanging on a wall in my family’s home for as long as I can remember.  I think I have it memorized without ever taking the time to actually memorize it.  Let’s all pray it together and end abortion in our time.

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,

Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life.

Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers

of babies not allowed to be born,

of the poor whose lives are made difficult,

of men and women who are victims of brutal violence,

of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son

may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love

to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel

as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude

throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it

resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will,

the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God,

the Creator and lover of life.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 1995, the seventeenth of John Paul II’s Pontificate.

Evangelium Vitae

Waiting For October

September 28, 2012 § 2 Comments

October is my favorite month.  Although I know the picturesque attributes of fall have been described over and over again on countless blogs and statuses and instagram captions, let me plunge into it one more time, simply because it is so worth it.

 

October in Pennsylvania is a fine and fickle lady;

a graceful, ancient force of nature.

She slowly brings her leaves from green to parti-colored reds and golds

and softens her white-hot summer skies to a cool madonna blue.

Corn husks rattle as she strips them bare; cold earth crumbles between her fingers.

She settles gracefully down on the ground

and spreads her furrowed-field skirts around her,

feels the molding leaves enrich her with their death.

She savors the taste of a well-aged year: a tang

of wild grapes hangs sweet upon the air.

Through her hair the clean autumn breeze is blowing,

redolent with chimney smoke and gray rain coming,

and upon her bone-white back the sun is slowly sinking earlier each day.

Various Thoughts As They Occur

September 19, 2012 § 3 Comments

I see to be writing well when writing in list format, so let’s not change the pattern of success.  Here’s a list:

1.  When I heard that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey would be releasing a new trailer today, I jumped up and down, clapped my hands, and squealed.  This morning, I tweeted about it at least 6 times.  That’s my normal tweet total for a week.  Well, it’s past 10 AM, and the trailer is here!  Radagast the Brown rides around in a sleigh pulled by giant bunnies.  Bilbo runs out of Bag End without a pocket handkerchief.  The dwarves are ridiculous.  Smeagol and Gollum both make an appearance.  Galadriel wears a beautiful cloak and a wise expression.  Gandalf ponders and says something hopeful.  Elrond frowns and says something pessimistic.  In short, my dear readers, this will be a movie to remember.

2.  In my last post, I mentioned the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre, produced by Cary Fukunaga, because I own it on DVD and love it.  It has a different timeline than most of the versions I’ve seen.  I love the way they don’t just skip or gloss over her time spent with St. John Rivers and his sisters.  Using the long, empty time she lives with them to flash back to her life with Rochester made me feel more than ever her loneliness and the depth of her sacrifice.  If you like Jane Eyre and you haven’t seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and watch it.

3.  I am so exasperated from watching political shows and seeing Sandra Fluke titled a ‘women’s rights’ activist.  That’s why I love this site: Women Speak For Themselves.  Thanks, but no thanks, Sandra Fluke.  You don’t speak for me.  Not all of us women think our ‘rights’ should include being able to take the lives of our unborn children through abortifacients while forcing someone else to pay for it.  (After all, we have access to something way cooler.)  (And that’s all.  No more quasi-politics in this post, I promise.)

4.  The Lockout.  In my mind, it’s always spelled with a capital L.  The NHL is officially in a Lockout.  If the season started today, it wouldn’t start.  I can’t prepare for my fantasy draft.  I can’t start a countdown to Pittsburgh’s opening night.  I don’t know when I’ll see Sidney Crosby on the ice again!  The only thing making this Lockout a little easier for me is the knowledge that, unlike a lot of hockey fans, I will still get to see regular live hockey at our AHL Penguins games.  The AHL will keep rolling even during the stoppage.  Who knows what names we might see playing down here?

5.  I’m taking Mervy to the vet on Friday after work.  My poor rattie is missing fur in some patches and I don’t know why.  I think he had a flea problem but I sprayed him with flea/tick medicine from Petsmart and they seemed to go away.  I’ve tried searching for information online but there’s so much out there and I’m just worried that I don’t know enough.  The worst part is, people laugh at me when they hear that I’m taking my pet rat to the vet.  It makes me want to cry.  I love my rats.  I love them just as much as you love your dog or your cat or your moronic fish (RIP, Paul and Joel).  Mervy is the sweetest rat of our four, the little guy who bumbles around the room, happily hunting for new scents and sights; he’s the rat who protected Willy and Freddy when we first got them, the rat who eats slowly and lets little kids jounce him, and has a lil’ white belly, and blunt claws so it never hurts when he climbs up and down my arms.  He sits on my leg for ages, and bruxs (like a cat’s purr) when I rub behind his ears.  I love my rats and I don’t care what people (who have often had NO experience with pet rats before ever) think of them.  So please, say a prayer to St. Francis that Merv is all right and that I won’t have to buy costly medicines for him.  Thank you!

“Everybody Loves A Good Quote”

June 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today in 1936, G.K. Chesterton passed away.  I could post a hundred quotes from him and love each one better than the last.  He was amazing: a man whose writing turned paradoxes into swashbuckling adventures and philosophy into detective stories.  His no-nonsense language could seem strident, until you realized he was also the man who wrote: “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”   My favorite Chesterton book is The Ball and The Cross, because he pits the religious man against the atheist in such a pithy, balanced way that by the end of the book, you root for both of them.  Chesterton keeps you from choosing a side just as surely as he keeps the fervent MacIan and the rigid Turnbull from finishing their long-sought duel.  When I read Chesterton, I want to cheer, I want to laugh and throw the book on the floor so I can clap and say why on earth didn’t I think of that!?  Chesterton makes me want to have deep, theological discussions at a dimly-lit pub with my friends over pints of ale.  And I don’t even drink ale.  So instead of raising a glass of ale to Gilbert Keith Chesterton, writer of the Father Brown mystery stories, philosopher extraordinaire, and Catholic, I will leave you with my favorite quotes of his.  After all, everyone loves a good quote.

“Well, we won’t quarrel about a word,” said the other, pleasantly.  “Why on earth not?” said MacIan, with a sudden asperity. “Why shouldn’t we quarrel about a word? What is the good of words if they aren’t important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn’t any difference between them? If you called a woman a chimpanzee instead of an angel, wouldn’t there be a quarrel about a word? If you’re not going to argue about words, what are you going to argue about? Are you going to convey your meaning to me by moving your ears? The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only things worth fighting about.”
The Ball and The Cross

“The cross cannot be defeated,” said MacIan, “for it is Defeat.”
The Ball and The Cross

The daughter was called a devotee. She left upon ordinary people the impression–the somewhat irritating impression–produced by such a person; it can only be described as the sense of strong water being perpetually poured into some abyss. She did her housework easily; she achieved her social relations sweetly; she was never neglectful and never unkind. This accounted for all that was soft in her, but not for all that was hard. She trod firmly as if going somewhere; she flung her face back as if defying something; she hardly spoke a cross word, yet there was often battle in her eyes. The modern man asked doubtfully where all this silent energy went to. He would have stared still more doubtfully if he had been told that it all went into her prayers.
The Ball and The Cross

“You always go to Mass,” answered the girl, opening her wide blue eyes, “and the Mass is very long and tiresome unless one loves God.”
The Ball and The Cross

“These people have rights.” “Rights!” repeated the unknown in a tone quite indescribable. Then he added with a more open sneer: “Perhaps they also have souls.” “They have lives!” said Turnbull, sternly; “that is quite enough for me. I understood you to say that you thought life sacred.” “Yes, indeed!” cried his mentor with a sort of idealistic animation. “Yes, indeed! Life is sacred–but lives are not sacred. We are improving Life by removing lives. Can you, as a free-thinker, find any fault in that?” “Yes,” said Turnbull with brevity.
The Ball and The Cross

We do not need the learned man to teach us the important things. We all know the important things, though we all violate and neglect them.
G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, October 8, 1910

Evil always takes advantage of ambiguity
G.K. Chesterton in Eugenics and other Evils

Sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.
G.K. Chesterton in Eugenics and other Evils

“The attitude of women in such cases was indeed one of the paradoxes of the place. Most of the women were of the kind vaguely called emancipated, and professed some protest against male supremacy. Yet these new women would always pay to a man the extravagant compliment which no ordinary woman ever pays to him, that of listening while he is talking.”
G.K. Chesterton in The Man Who Was Thursday 

Beautiful things ought to mean beautiful things.
G.K. Chesterton in The Coloured Lands

A century or two hence Spiritualism may be a tradition and Socialism may be a tradition and Christian Science may be a tradition. But Catholicism will not be a tradition. It will still be a nuisance
and a new and dangerous thing.
G.K. Chesterton in The Catholic Church and Conversion, 1926

An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays.
G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

Right is right, even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong about it.
G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News May 11, 1907

God condescended to argue with Job, but the last Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you. He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance.
And I will add this point of merely personal experience of humanity: when men have a real explanation they explain it, eagerly and copiously and in common speech, as Huxley freely gave it when he thought he had it. When they have no explanation to offer, they give short dignified replies, disdainful of the ignorance of the multitude.
G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, 7/17/1920

What is most lacking in modern psychology is the sentiment of Honour; the sentiment to which personal independence is vital and to which wealth is entirely incommensurate. I know very well that Honour had all sorts of fantasies and follies in the days of its excess. But that does not affect the danger of its deficiency, or rather its disappearance. The world will need, and need desperately, the particular spirit of the landowner who will not sell his land, of the shopkeeper who will not sell his shop, of the private man who will not be bullied or bribed into being part of a public combination; of what our fathers meant by the free man.
G.K. Chesterton in Come to Think

Sport is speechless poetry.
G.K. Chesterton in What I Saw in America

It would be the worst sort of insincerity, therefore, to conclude even so hazy an outline of so great and majestic a matter as the American democratic experiment, without testifying my belief that to this also the same ultimate test will come. So far as that democracy becomes or remains Catholic and Christian, that democracy will remain democratic. In so far as it does not, it will become wildly and wickedly undemocratic. Its rich will riot with a brutal indifference far beyond the feeble feudalism which retains some shadow of responsibility or at least of patronage. Its wage-slaves will either sink into heathen slavery, or seek relief in theories that are destructive not merely in method but in aim; since they are but the negations of the human appetites of property and personality.
G.K. Chesterton in What I Saw in America (1927)

I represent the jolly mass of mankind. I am the happy and reckless Christian.
G.K. Chesterton in the Daily News, 12/13/1907

The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.
G.K. Chesterton in The Methuselahite

Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.
G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”
G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

I found many of these quotes on http://gkchestertonquote.com/

Shut Up And Drive

June 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

I went to Pocono Raceway this past Sunday for the NASCAR race!  Jill went up with her co-workers and was kind enough to invite me on the trip.  I’ve never been to a NASCAR race before, although I went to a race in Kentucky with Britt a few years ago that was just as awesome.  I have to say, my favorite part of this past Sunday’s experience was the very beginning of the race.  The noise level  took me completely by surprise.  When the engines revved and the cars started out of the pit row, I had to yell to be heard by Jill.  And we were 40 rows back in the grandstand!  I loved my time, I really did.  A lot of people made fun of me for enjoying the race so much.  Their disdain didn’t make sense until I realized that NASCAR probably suffers from the same problem as hockey: it’s SO much better to actually be there in person.  If I’d had to learn about hockey just from watching it on TV, I’d never have become such a fan.  The same goes for this race at Pocono.  You lose something when you’re sitting at home on your couch in the air-conditioning (if you are lucky enough to have AC).  But actually being there at the track, hearing the National Anthem and watching the jets during the flyover was intense.  Sitting in the bleachers with Jill, we put ice cubes on our arms and our necks to counter the sun beating down on us.  I marveled at how incredibly fast the cars were speeding by me.  You lose that on the TV screen.  All those camera angles, flashes to graphs and charts, commercial breaks, mid-race interviews, and non-stop announcers’ talking…  It cuts right through the heart of the race.  Actually being there, I could feel the stands reverberating with the growling of the engines.  The cars flew by me so fast that it was difficult to understand someone was inside, willing to drive those speeds. 

And I love to drive, I always have.  I’ve always been the person who volunteers to drive on a long road trip, or who thinks nothing of hopping in my car after work on a Friday and driving down to the New Jersey beach by myself.  Funnily enough, a lot of my favorite books have car chase scenes in it; they take place on long rippling roads in dusty, dry Southern France, or through mountains and deserts in Greece where the decisions made while driving turn the driver’s ability almost into a character itself.  Not the car, though.  The car is a tool, and like all tools it works best if it is the best, but in the end the skill of the driver controls the car.  I think I’ve always been in love with the idea of driving, not just as a means to an end, but as a time apart from the world.   You’re enclosed in a car and the world is trapped outside.  The wind blows in through an open window, but the wind is not the world.  There is a remoteness found inside.  As I write this, it reminds me of the feeling I get when I step into a church on a weekday afternoon, or a Saturday morning for Confession.  The world is bustling around outside, never stopping, ever running, but here in the car or in the church, there is a slowing of time.  A sense that I have finally found a relief from motion, a spot where sitting still is completely acceptable.  No wonder I think all my best thoughts in the car.   

This is a long line of musing from a simple NASCAR race, but there you have it.  I was astonished by those drivers.  Theirs is not the easygoing Sunday drive, or the long smooth interstate road trip.  Why do they do it?  For the victory?  For the burnout at the end with the scent of scorched rubber and the fans shouting their name?  The backflip from a car, a spill of champagne, and a trophy?  They cut and weave, speed up and ease off, holding 200 miles per hour of control in their hands.  They cut through the pack with the wind screaming past and maybe they do it because they have to know: Will their control and their skill be enough, not only to see them safe, but give them the victory?

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