OpinionMon Feb 4, 2019 - 5:29 pm EST
Marine veteran: God reveals Himself in the beautiful newborn, the aged, the sick, the disabled
“Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also be found in other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2500)
February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – God is revealed in truth, goodness, and beauty. Sacred art and music, and the natural beauty of God’s creation, are images of Him, His goodness, and His truth. But actions and events involving people can be beautiful, too. An action is beautiful when it is good in a way that reflects the highest good, or virtuous in a way that reflects God, who is Goodness itself. And likewise, the event reveals God’s truth.
It is important to consider this relationship now because the modern way of thinking rejects the idea that anything can be known other than what is observable or measurable according to what some call science. Any other truth is considered relative to the person. Beauty and morality are also judged to be relative to situation, beholder, or the spirit of the age. It escapes those who follow this ideology that without any objective measure of what is true, beautiful, and good, anything is permissible.
I deeply experienced this revealing of God’s truth in beauty 14 months ago in the birth of my daughter, an event that I have found no other words to describe besides beautiful. It is evidence of God’s love that he would allow – no, that he desires – us to share in creating new life. It was an experience of the love that allows us not just to observe, but to partake in the beauty and goodness of creation, the miracle of life. In the beauty of this new life and in the first moments of being a father, I witnessed a glimpse of God’s love for us as our Father. Words cannot adequately describe the beauty of what the Catechism calls “The depths of the human heart and the exhalations of the soul.”
I work as a firefighter and EMT. We are often called to help pick up elderly or disabled people who have fallen and cannot get off the ground. One night last year, we were called to the home of an elderly brother and sister who lived together. The brother had fallen off the toilet and ended up soiling himself while on the floor. Often in these situations, there is a nurse or other caregiver present that takes care of the patient after the firefighters lift him off the floor and make sure he’s not injured. It was late that night and the nurse had gone home. His sister was in no shape to clean her brother up, so we washed him, put clean underwear on him, and put him back in bed. While helping clean the man, I remembered the words of Jesus, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40). God reveals himself not only in the beautiful newborn, but also in the aged, the sick, and the disabled. In that moment I knew that the words of Jesus are Truth.
The mystery of God revealed above is that all life is to be treasured, protected, and cared for, since it comes from God himself. A rejection of any of that is a rejection of God. The recent news of the new abortion law in New York, and the proposal of a similar law in Virginia, is shocking. The cruelty of abortion itself is horrifying, especially to my wife and me, as we are expecting our second child any day now. But equally disturbing is that educated lawmakers and citizens can rationalize and even celebrate a law that permits the helpless victim of a failed abortion to die without attempted resuscitation.
The recent push to legalize assisted suicide is also disturbing. It reflects a general apathy towards life, that if one deems himself to be a burden on family or caregivers, he may or even should commit suicide.
The history of the 20th century shows that it is reasonable to believe a government could task itself with making this decision, and could euthanize those persons whose “quality of life” does not measure up to some arbitrary standard, or those who are a “drain on the taxpayer” – the elderly, the disabled, the prisoner, the addict. I recently took part in the Charlotte March for Life and spent much of the march walking with a wheelchair-bound woman, Mary Ellen Schick, and her husband. Mrs. Schick reminded me of my godmother – a delightful woman, full of the kind of joy that comes from love of God. At the end of the march, a reporter for the Catholic News Herald asked Mrs. Schick why she came out to march that day.
“If babies can be killed,” Mrs. Schick said, “I am next. I hope people will march for my rights.”
In the mystery of human life, in the beauty of new life and even in suffering, we see the image of God. When we care for the least of God’s people, the most vulnerable among us, we catch a glimpse of the depths of the human heart. We see the mystery of God and we understand God created us to love, to give ourselves like Jesus, who loved the Father and loved us to the point of death on the Cross. We understand that we are made in His image and that our lives – that all lives – are part of his creation. God, who is Truth, is revealed in the beauty of life.
Matthew Bosnick lives in Monroe, North Carolian with his wife and daughter. He is a member of St. Luke parish and the Rosary Confraternity. He works as a firefighter and is a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan.