“Be not afraid,” Pope John Paul II reminded us over and over again during his papacy. His words echoed the message of the angel Gabriel first to Zechariah and then to Mary, as these two saints confronted the news of two out of the ordinary conceptions. Yet when it comes to our children, and out of the ordinary conceptions, we are still afraid.
I know a Catholic woman, a generous-spirited wife and mother, who is afraid to let go of her fears in the matter of Senate Bill 80 (SB80). Her child has juvenile diabetes and she is afraid to embrace the gospel of life developed so beautifully by our late Holy Father during his many years of teaching. She would like to think that JPII knew what he was doing when he asserted the inviolable rights of the human being from conception “on behalf of all the embryos which are often subjected to freezing (cryo-preservation), in many cases becoming an object of sheer experimentation or, worse, destined to programmed destruction backed by law.”
But her son has juvenile diabetes, and her heart is fearful. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) of Delaware supports SB80 in allowing the experimental use of “embryos that would be thrown out with the trash”. How can she believe that her own Church is a beacon of light on this issue, when the foundation that has given her the most help for her son in his illness tells her otherwise?
“Be not afraid,” the angel told Joseph when he discovered that his betrothed was pregnant with a child not his own. “Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” How could he believe the whisper of an angel in a dream, when the best lights of his religious tradition told him to divorce her privately?
We live in a world of a thousand conflicting voices. Blue state and Red state quarrels slash through our body politic and set neighbor against neighbor, church against state. How difficult it is to hear the voice of Christ -- and of Mary, of Joseph, of all His saints -- exhorting us to look beyond our fears and trust the soundness of His teaching.
Isn’t it time we put our political divisions behind us and listen to the voice of the Lord as He speaks through our Catholic wisdom? Nobody who trusted in God has ever been put to shame.
On Thursday, January 19 the Delaware House of Representatives will vote on SB80. Call your legislator. Tell him or her that you do not support the destruction of human embryos, even for noble purposes. God is already guiding our scientists to cures for diabetes, Parkinson’s, and other diseases that cause us to watch our loved ones suffer. Nobody can outdo the compassion and generosity of our Lord. He bled his life out on the Cross to win our joy and our trust.
Be not afraid.