The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hannah's Legacy

77 minutes.

That's how long it took Hannah to leave her mark on the world.

Last Thursday night our Respect Life Committee was pleased to welcome back one of our members who had been gone for the last few of our monthly meetings. He brought with him pictures of Hannah, who is as he describes his "Divine Mercy Baby."

Seventeen weeks into Hannah's mom's pregnancy doctors discovered that Hannah had a severe birth defect similar to Downs Syndrome, but more lethal. Doctors told mother and father that their child would not live long after birth, and encouraged them to get an abortion. They resisted the doctors' urgings. They put up with the side looks that the medical community gave them for daring to bring this child into the world intact. But Mom and Dad gave no thought to early termination.

The couple belongs to the Marionite Catholic Church, and I have to say from what I have read about their Rite, I deeply admire their orthodoxy. They are in full communion with Rome.

Not long after the diagnosis, Dad was praying for a miracle. During the 3:00 hour he began praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and it was at that time Our Lord gave him the news he didn't want to hear. He would be burying his own child. He told our group that he cried the most at that time, but was consoled by his two young daughters.

On March 22nd, about 37 weeks into the pregnancy, Mom went into labor. It was midnight. They knew the child would not live long after birth and frantic calls went out to family to meet them at the hospital along with a call to their parish priest. At exactly 3 a.m., the hour of Divine Mercy, Hannah was born.

The priest had not yet arrived and as they knew death was imminent, Dad baptised his child. Each of the family members took turns holding her. The pictures that Dad shared at our meeting Thursday night showed a room full of joyous people celebrating the birth of this latest of God's creations. There were not tears in the eyes of the family, but smiles on the faces.

Seventy-seven minutes later, Hannah went home to be with Our Lord. The priest arrived shortly thereafter and baptised the child again. It probably wasn't necessary as Dad's actions were perfectly valid, but it certainly didn't hurt. Plus, who knows how long after physical death the soul leaves the body?

So this little life who doctors wanted to destroy in the womb out of convenience and their own judgement of what a quality of life should be has forever changed the lives of her parents, her brothers and sisters, and even folks like me who are inspired by this story. In a view of existence through the eyes of eternity, one's life on Earth is but a blink of the eye, and difference between living 77 minutes or 77 years is negligible.

This is why every life matters. Thank you Hannah for reminding us of that fact.


Post a Comment

<< Home