John Paul II Novena: Day 9

JPIILastAppearance

Pope John Paul II gives his blessing as he appears at the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 23, 2005. Looking gaunt, Pope John Paul II appeared at his studio window Wednesday and blessed faithful in St. Peter’s Square. In the approximately one-minute-long appearance, the ailing pontiff raised his hand in blessing a few times but didn’t speak. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito) Photo: PIER PAOLO CITO Image and caption Source

Today our prayers turn to women who are dying. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people die in nursing homes and the hospital. It’s never easy and it’s never pretty. John Paul II in his final days on this earth gave us an example of dying with dignity. All to often, we just want to take people out of their misery. We want to end lives that are no longer useful to society. What we don’t understand, however, is that all life is sacred. All people have an inalienable dignity. Lives don’t have value based on what use we can get from them. They don’t have value based on how much pain or stress they cause. In dying, John Paul II offered the world his strongest statement on the infinite value of life.

“A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.” ― Love and Responsibility

Lord, be with those who are dying today. Let them know your love in their final hours to face their final transition with courage and grace. Give them the comfort of knowing that they will be leaving this world to meet You. Be with their families and caregivers. Give them the patience and strength to support their dying loved one. Give them, too, the comfort of knowing that they are handing their loved one off to You, You who are trustworthy and worthy of all praise.

Let us conclude by praying the Litany to John Paul II:

Kyrie eleison,
Christe eleison,
Kyrie eleison,
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
Blessed, John Paul II, pray for us
Perfect disciple of Christ, pray for us
Generously gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, pray for us
Great apostle of Divine Mercy, pray for us
Faithful Son of Mary, pray for us
Totally dedicated to the Mother of God, pray for us
Persevering preacher of the Gospel, pray for us
Pilgrim Pope, pray for us
Pope of the Millennium, pray for us
Model of industry, pray for us
Model of priests, pray for us
Drawing strength from the Eucharist, pray for us
Untiring man of prayer, pray for us
Lover of the rosary, pray for us
Strength of those doubting their faith, pray for us
Desiring to unite all those who believe in Christ, pray for us
Converter of sinners, pray for us
Defender of the dignity of every person, pray for us
Defender of life from conception to natural death, pray for us
Praying for the gift of parenthood for the infertile, pray for us
Friend of children, pray for us
Leader of youth, pray for us
Intercessor of families, pray for us
Comforter of the suffering, pray for us
Manly bearing his pain, pray for us
Sower of divine joy, pray for us
Great intercessor for peace, pray for us
Pride of the Polish nation, pray for us
Brilliance of the Holy Church, pray for us
That we may be faithful imitators of Christ, pray for us
That we may be strong with the power of the Holy Spirit, pray for us
That we may have trust in the Mother of God, pray for us
That we may grow in our faith, hope, and charity, pray for us
That we may live in peace in our families, pray for us
That we may know how to forgive, pray for us
That we may know how to bear suffering, pray for us
That we may not succumb to the culture of death, pray for us
That we may not be afraid and courageously fight off various temptations, pray for us
That he would intercede for us the grace of a happy death, pray for us

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us

Pray for us, Venerable Blessed John Paul II
That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ

 We ask all of this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

To read more about John Paul II’s teachings regarding death, read:

An article about him titled “John Paul II: Dying with Dignity”

His Address to an International Conference on the Elderly

Last but not least, his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life)

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Edith Stein on the Abuse of Persons and the Earth

lovepeopleusethings“But also, given man’s fallen nature, this one-sided endeavor to achieve perfection easily becomes a decadent aspiration in itself; our desire for knowledge does not respect limits placed on it but rather seeks by force to go beyond these limits; human understanding may even fail to grasp that which is not essentially hidden from it because it refuses to submit itself to the law of things; rather, it seeks to master them in arbitrary fashion or permits the clarity of its spiritual vision to be clouded by desires and lusts. In the same way, the decay of man’s dominion is seen when we consider his relationship to the natural riches of the earth: instead of reverential joy in the created world, instead of a desire to preserve and develop it, man seeks to exploit it greedily to the point of destruction or to senseless acquisition without understanding how to profit from it or how to enjoy it. Related to this is the debasement of creative art through the violent distortion and caricature of natural images.”

– Edith Stein, The Separate Vocations of Man and Woman According to Nature and Grace

I think she covers just about everything in this quote. Pollution and exploitation of the earth. Ignoring ethics in medicine and science. Our desire to control everything and everyone. In that last sentence, I even think she’s alluding to pornography. This is one of my favorite Edith Stein quotes.

By the way:

I’ve noticed that you have all really liked my quotes from Edith Stein. I am pleased to announce that our next Ladies Night Out will feature a presentation by Anne Costa on Edith Stein!!!! 
 
Please join us on April 7th @ 7 PM at Stein’s Restaurant in Camillus!!! 
 
Please RSVP with Rita Condon at elizabethministryrita@gmail.com or
(315) 673-9458.

Birth Control in the Doctor’s Office

In the “IT HAPPENED TO ME” section at XOJane, I recently saw a post by a woman who went to her doctor’s office for a new prescription of birth control.

She had went to the office and filled out all the paper work. When she was called up to the desk, she was handed a form letter that stated that the doctor on call would not write prescriptions for birth control or refer anyone for an abortion.

She had to go out of her way, although she admits not far, to find a doctor who would give her the prescription she wanted. She posted about all of this on Facebook. Her situation gained so much attention, her story ended up on the local news.

As a Catholic woman, I’m not sure where to begin with this story. The doctor had every right to deny her a prescription for birth control. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 1782:

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

Our conscience, well-formed, is to be our guide in everything. It seems that, at least in a few key areas, this doctor’s conscience is very well-formed.

However, as Ephesians 4:15 tells us, we are to “speak the truth in love.” Now, look at this letter:

It says:

Dear Patient,

Please be advised that because of reasons of my own medical judgment as well as professional ethical concerns and religious values, I only provide one form of birth control, Natural Family Planning. In addition, I do not refer for vasectomies, abortions nor prescribe the morning after pill or any artificial contraception. If you are interested in the latter, please be aware that you may approach your own family doctor or request to be seen by another physician.
Some patients also come to a walk in clinic for prescriptions of narcotics. The distribution of those drugs is controlled. Narcotics have a high potential for side effects, including addiction and they should be prescribed by a regular physician who is able to follow you. It is your responsibility to ensure that this physician will be renewing your prescription on time as I won’t do so in a context of walk in clinic.
With deepest respect,
Edmond Kyrillos, B. Eng., MD, CCFP
Ottawa Ontario

Note that the doctor doesn’t really explain why artificial contraception or abortion is wrong. He didn’t even bother personally signing the letter. He didn’t bother making two separate letters, one for women seeking birth control and the other for patients seeking narcotics. (And he sounds very condescending to the patient seeking narcotics, but that is beyond the scope of this post.)

In her post on XOJane, she talks about this as a “radical” view. This only shows how much work still needs to be done in helping people understand where pro-lifers are coming from. If it’s “radical” to be against birth control and abortion, it only shows how far our society is from a true view of the dignity of each and every person. You don’t have to believe in Jesus to agree that Natural Family Planning is better than artificial birth control. This is evidenced in the growth of Natural Family Planning groups that are not faith-based like this and this (The later group does promote the barrier form of birth control. We do not condone that form or any form of artificial contraception.).

She talks about the walk of shame leaving the clinic:

It almost felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt truly embarrassed having to leave in front of a group of people because of something that someone thinks is shameful and not right. 

Shame is not the way to spread the truth. I can understand that in a public clinic, the doctor may not have had the time to sit down and explain his views to every woman who walked through the doors, but he could have at least put more information in the letter. Or at least sign it.