Monday, December 19, 2011

Behold the Face of God Made Man, the Face of the Baby in the Womb

Nine days before Advent, is a novena of Masses in honor of the nine months Jesus spent in the womb of Mary.  Already by 656 in Toledo, Spain, was this tradition referred to as "most ancient."  We notice that there is a very real shift in the liturgy, in the readings, the beginning of the O antiphons on December 17th, and a noticeable urgency the attitude of the prayers.  We have shifted from approximate to immediate preparation for the Lord's coming.  We were being guided by St John the Baptist, and now we turn to Mary Immaculate to guide us the rest of the way.  As if we are walking along side the donkey with St Joseph and can see Bethlehem on the edge of the horizon.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.
Mass Readings for Today, the 4th Sunday of Advent.

And the Word became a zygote and dwelt among us
Jesus Christ the Lord became a tiny embryo and thus united himself to all embryos to show that their dignity is just as sacred at the first hour of conception as the rest of the nine months they spend in the womb.  The clarification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued in 2008 entitled, Dignitatis Personae, outlines bioethics in relation to embryos and scientific research.
“Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life”
Each embryo, especially because Jesus Christ himself was an embryo at one point in his human growth, has the same dignity accorded any human person.
By virtue of the simple fact of existing, every human being must be fully respected. The introduction of discrimination with regard to human dignity based on biological, psychological, or educational development, or based on health-related criteria, must be excluded. At every stage of his existence, man, created in the image and likeness of God, reflects “the face of his Only-begotten Son…
Therefore any infringement of this dignity of persons in embryonic level of their growth is a grave moral evil that must be stopped.

In vitro fertilization is an infringement of this dignity not only because
1.  "The process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction of embryos" but also because it has the tendency to
2.  "dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act: human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution."
For this reason it must be said that intracytoplasmic injection is also gravely immoral.  However,
Techniques which assist procreation “are not to be rejected on the grounds that they are artificial. As such, they bear witness to the possibilities of the art of medicine. But they must be given a moral evaluation in reference to the dignity of the human person, who is called to realize his vocation from God to the gift of love and the gift of life”
There are many kinds of great medicine that are artificial and totally moral and excellent aids to man living out his vocation.

Other offenses against the dignity of embryonic life of man includes:
-cryogenic preservation of embryos (freezing)
-human cloning
-embryonic stem cell research
-hybridization of man with other animal species
-intraceptive and contragestative processes that compromise the life of the embryo or cause abortion (processes that interfere with implantation of the embryo on the uterine wall or other kind of interference)
It must also be held that genetic therapy or manipulation on embryos to produce a desired personal trait is also gravely immoral.  That is not to say that the use of adult stem cells or gene therapy upon adults compromises any ethical laws, but can greatly advance medical science as a means of healing man's ills in a completely ethical way.

May Our Lady help us to answer the call to defend the dignity of each and every single human person from the moment of conception to natural death.

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