The Apostolate of the Laity

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

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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.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Thus says the LORD:
"A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are not."
Jer 31:15

King Herod fulfilled this prophesy when upon being frustrated by not finding the Christ child, he ordered the murder of all males ages two and under. The Catholic Church remembers these first Saints to be martyred for Jesus. Friday, December 28th, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It seemed appropriate to share this poem written by Alison Townsend.

What I Never Told You About the Abortion
That it hurt, despite the anesthetic,
which they administered with a long needle, shot straight into the womb.
That they hit the vagus nerve the first time and I fell down when I tried to stand.
That after the second shot my legs snapped shut--instinctively as any wild mother protecting chick, kit, cub.
That I held the hand of a young Hispanic nurse and wept when she said, "You know hon, you don't have to do this."
That I believed that I did, though I nearly got up and left.
That the doctor was crude, saying (when he saw me conscious), "It's always the ones who want to be awake who should be put out.
That dilation and curettage is exactly what it sounds like: opening, scraping, digging out a scrap of tissue that clings.
That mothers both create and take life.
That I crossed a picket line to get into the clinic.
That I wanted to come back another day but knew if I left then I wouldn't return.
That my mind was not, as I let you believe, made up that night at Planned Parenthood, the positive lab slip shining in my hand like a ticket to Heaven.
That this was where the deep root of sadness began to take hold.
That I stood in our bedroom a few days before the "procedure," my blouse open and bra undone, looking at my breasts, marveling at the way they swelled, even at eight weeks, like fruit I'd never seen.
Remembering the rise and fall of my mother's body as she nursed my sister.
That I felt inhabited then.
Incarnate, the cells of my skin glowing, bright and scared.
That I wished we were married, though it seemed uncool.
That I wished you'd said "A baby? Let's do it!"
instead of "It's your body. You decide."
That it was all surgical and neat, not even any blood afterward on the Kotex that made me feel fourteen.
That I dreamed of it for weeks.
That we married years later, that dream torn between us.
That I had wanted to feel the hard bowl of my belly.
That I believed it was practical -- you in grad school, no health insurance, me the one with a job.
That the table I lay on was cold.
That there was a poster of a kitten dangling from a tree limb, with the word "Hang in there, baby" on the ceiling above me.
That I turned names over and over in my head like bright stones: Caitlin, Phoebe, Rebecca, Siobhan.
That the nurse wept with me, like some twentieth-century Southern California fate, midwife to death in her uniform printed with flowers.
That she wrapped my hand in her navy blue sweater.
That I described the thumb-size embryo inside me in all the obvious ways--shrimp, peanut, little-bud-wanting-to-open.
But not baby, never baby.
That I saved the paperwork as proof I'd been admitted to the college of mothers.
That I told you a good story; letting you believe I believed I might not be able to write with a child, that this was the beginning of the end of us.
That though we are kind now, and always cordial when we meet, a decade after our divorce, it is the one thing I cannot forgive you.
That it has taken me twenty years to find words for this story.
That no matter how many thats I write, there are not--will never be enough.


It's normal to recoil and wince at the thought of a soldier driving his short sword into the soft body of a baby while his mother screams in terror and his father fights in futility. How many babies were killed nearly 2,000 years ago is debatable. Some say just a few, others say hundreds. Whatever the number, one was too many, and yet juxtaposed to the more than 4,000 babies killed in these United States by abortion, every day, Herod was an amateur.

It is the great sin of omission that stains the consciousness of the American psyche. We kill our unborn. That's what we do. We the people in order to form a more perfect union have decided that part of being perfect involves the right to kill the the unseen, the inconvenient, the most vulnerable. It is in the American will, and it is this very will that needs conversion.

God bless America? Given the reality of our soul that seems a bit arrogant. Perhaps we should pray, God have mercy on America.

May the Saints of Bethlehem who died in the name of Christ pray for the people of the United States that they may one day stop the killing of her innocent.


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