For the gift of life
Today, we have gathered here, before the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Our Lady has traveled the long journey from Vladivostok and continues to travel through Europe - the Theotokos. We gather, united in the unbloody sacrifice of Her Son, begging God with one voice for the restoration of the culture of life and family in Europe and around the world. Here, we have the opportunity to venerate the relic of the skull of St. Luke, which was obtained from the Metropolitan Chapter of St. Vitus in Prague. St. Luke is also considered the author of the original Icon of the Theotokos -- a rare and multivalent coincidence. These two wonderful testimonies of our Christian life, both past and present, will help us to better understand the historical significance of both, the past, and of what is happening today. Let us reflect profoundly upon these views of the current situation, so that we may pray with an even greater urgency and act with a greater efficiency.
To each observer of the current events, it has become increasingly clear that we have reached a sort of a fundamental milestone. It is an either-or argument: either we choose well - that is, for life - or we make the wrong choices for death, not only for ourselves as individuals, but for the majority of the human society. And for the majority -- let's face it -- prevail certain elements of insouciance, which only indicate a disguised form of helplessness. We are atomized, we are individualized, as practically all depend on the state (i.e. government), its organs, and those who dominate the financial world. People say, "But somehow it will manage itself," and that is a very dangerous carefreeness.
In the past, death was caused by wars, people were dying from hunger and sickness. Nevertheless, somewhere in the background, there were healthy families, who would take care of the restoration of the destroyed world, replacing those who had died. It was always bad, but there still remained hope of being able to start all over again, because the disasters were seen from today’s perspective as confined to the local areas. Today, in Europe, where people do not know war and famine, and diseases are largely handled against life ( in the name of what is now called population control due to “overpopulation”), people began to die (or not give birth, which is the same) by other means: contraception and abortion, a wide support and promotion of same-sex couples -- the deception of sexual "freedom," bringing with it HIV [and other infectious diseases]. These means are now understood and widely popular on a global level; eventually ending with euthanasia and beyond. Against these threats, seen as a flood of global proportions, we can only seek one protection: a global prayer to stem this tide against life.
Presently, we are witnessing negative consequences of such behavior: financial, demographic, but also a significant health crisis, where it is evident that sin is not just in a moral and religious category; sin has always had social implications and specific consequences. In the demographics of this crisis, we can see how full-blown these consequences have become, alongside the enormous problems with pension reforms and a free health care - or at least one accessible to all citizens. There are insufficient human and financial resources ... The insufficient number of younger people -- children -- leads to the fact that many elderly live now completely abandoned. We are oblivious to the ideal of the common good because we prefer a good fictional individual. It should not be forgotten that the good of the individual is inextricably linked to the common social good. Unlike fictional individuals, Christianity is able to solve this dilemma for the good of the individual and for the society, as a whole. It can be solved only by love, the love taught and presented to us in the Holy Sacraments that Jesus offers us.
Today's Feast of the Passion of St. John the Baptist presents to us an urgent concern about marital fidelity. It is not something secondary, it is not something obsolete, despite of the current statistics, this should seem relative, yet it is not. These things do not change! -- On the contrary, seen against the form and content of Christianity, the content of the Decalogue remains immutable. The unity of marriage is sacred and the Church asserts and secures a healthy life through the Sacrament of Marriage -- and even life itself – for future generations. Whatever profanes the institution of marriage, which goes back to the root of the very existence of mankind on this planet, prevents mankind to meet the goal that God has for man. And this is serious matter. It is no small thing; it is something that should concern us as conscientious Christians. We cannot bury our heads in the sand! It concerns us all -- and very much! And this global action for saving human life on the broadest, international level is proof that we as Christians are beginning to realize it. And that is a good sign.
Jesus says: I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God is the giver of life. Where there is no God, there can be no life; where there is no God, there can be no light, because He is Light. And humanity can move forward only in the light. Where there is no God, we are walking in darkness. And whoever walks in the dark, sooner or later, strays. This should be clear to everyone.
Let me give you one statement, perhaps trivial, but in practice rarely applied: only if we saw everything in context, if we understood each individual action with all the consequences it entails, only then would we be able to discover the whole truth. In our existential concerns, the whole truth is contained, and not just a partial truth - the truth fabricated for subjective purposes, derived only from a partial and selected context. Here on earth, we can only see a part of all the relationships, we only have a small part of the information that can lead us, with still more leading to the total truth, such that, if we embark on the path of truth, we must humbly follow it. If we knew the full truth, we would be completely independent of decisions in factual matters, those, as such, affecting them significantly. And because we do not recognize it in this world and will never fully comprehend it, we humans cannot decide on the most fundamental questions of human existence: and that fundamental question, which is now at stake, is the question of being and non-being - of life or death. We have, sadly, sought to build at God's level by "playing God." Nowadays, some - so called “social engineers” – imagine themselves the masters of the world, over which they claim absolute power, so as to determine the absolute values of human life and death.
The basic question in this world is that of being or non-existence [as it relates to the question of basic human dignity which God gave every person]. Every human life, every human birth is one great miracle. It is not like the birth of an animal. Animals cannot love; they cannot create anything spiritual. To kill an unborn child is to kill the human spirit and it is the greatest example of the decline of human civilization. This is evident in the often quoted words of Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To be or not to be," first uttered more than four hundred years ago. These words apply not only to our personal lives, but to the meaning of the entire human existence. They summarize the fundamental question of every human life: to be or not to be.
The biggest drama of world literature, which explores the human soul, addresses precisely this issue. We may choose: to decide on our own (then it always ends tragically), or to leave it to God (and then it ends triumphantly, even if a nation can lose or be defeated). For Shakespeare, where people wanted to solve the problem of the existential self by themselves, it ended tragically: everyone eventually (except one) died. This was Shakespeare's message to humanity and we must learn it well.
Life -- even the most miserable one to look at -- is the greatest good that we have here and that God gave the world. Nothing can match it. Therefore, what we must appreciate most is this greatest gift from God. We cannot recklessly destroy it or, otherwise, artificially manipulate it.
We all know that we are sinners and need God's mercy. We do not (nor cannot) condemn sinners, but we must clearly condemn sin. It is our Christian duty. We must pray for the Lord to enlighten those people who are involved in murder; those, who maintain that human life is only a [random] mass of cells, somehow developing into a living organism, but when "removed," decomposes once again, - leaving nothing but a terrible emptiness. If this were the case, then mankind would have only one option: to disappear from this world as soon as possible. And we do not want this, because this is a huge fallacy.
Let us seek the Truth. If we find It, we will find the Source of life, which is Eternal, which shall not pass away. The surest path to the Truth, to Jesus, to the True God and True Man, who is the Truth, is His Mother Mary, who gave Him flesh, who delivered Him for us. Whoever accepts Her, whoever prays to Her, whoever flees to Her - cannot be disappointed. Through Her intercession, we always end in a loving encounter with the True God, who is Love.
August 29, 2012 + Bishop Ladislav Hučko