The magnificence of life is really too wonderful too describe. But I found this description some years ago which summons reverence by its very ability to baffle the mind:
MIRACLE OF LIFE– Consider the miracle of the human body. Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos. Our world on bothsides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder. Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes. These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia. And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function. And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Did all this happen by chance or do you see the hand of God?
Today, many of us march for life, here in Washington, on the West Coast, and in other communities. Today we ponder the great mystery that is expressed in the 139th psalm:
For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for the wonder of my being…Already you knew my soul my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret….every one of my days was decreed before one of them came into being. To me, how mysterious your thoughts, the sum of them not to be numbered! (Psalm 139 varia)
No human being is an accident, no conception a surprise or inconvenience to God. Mysteriously he knew and loved us long before we were ever conceived, for he says, Before I ever formed you in the womb I knew you (Jer 1:4). And, as the psalm says above, God has always known everything we would ever do or be.
It is often mysterious to us why human life is, at times, conceived in difficult circumstances such as poverty, times of family struggle or crisis, or even conceived with disability and disadvantage. But in the end we see so very little and must ponder the mystery of God’s reminder that many who are “last” now are going to be first in the kingdom (e.g. Matt 20:16; Luke 1:52-53).
So today, many will march, and all are called to remember the sacred lives that have been lost. We acknowledge our loss, for the gifts of these children and their lives have been swept from us as well. We pray for women who struggle to bring children to term and experience pressure to considerabortion. We pray for the immediate and sudden conversion of all support legalized abortion for any reason and for a dedication to assist women facing any difficulty in giving birth to or raising their children.
The following video is a shortened version of the masterpiece video called “Genesis” by Ramos David. It magnificently depicts fetal development. I have taken the liberty of adding a different music track since this is a shortened version. The Music is William Byrd: Optimam Partem Elegit (She has Chosen the Best Part), a text most fitting since we pray all mothers will choose life. The full length video is found in higher definition on YouTube by searching under “Genesis Ramos David”
15 Replies to “Thoughts on the Miracle of Life, As We March.”
That is a beautiful post, Monsignor. The beauty of God’s creation! What an awesome God He is. Thanks for posting this and hopefully I will see you at the March!
Your short paragraph actually understates the complexity of human biochemistry and genetics. Human development is an incredibly complex, integrated and synchronized feat. Despite tens of thousands of scientific studies and billions of dollars expended we still have completely novel surprises in biology. You would think the gaps in our understanding would yield humility, and there are are some who respond that way. Sadly though faith is uncommon among scientists.
The mention of how Monsignor’s complex compilation of massive, and meticulously interacting, numbers “actually understates…” boggles my mind upon the original boggle that was brought about by the main text. Then, when we take a look at the five billion, or so, people alive today and know that the statement of intimacy, which is stated in the quoted portion of Psalm 139, my mind goes beyond boggle to pleas to shut down.
Yet, these finite and measurable quantities do not go anywhere near the infinite as stated, among other places, in the “Glory Be” Yes, no wonder God’s Glory is stated as a state of “Being”
However, I am beginning to wonder if, the commonly held belief that faith is uncommon among scientists, is as accurate as portrayed by those who speak on behalf of scientists.
The scientists who do the hard research (and some of the administrators – such as those who advise and suggest a new starting point from the administrators’ objective perspective when the subjectivity of the front line researcher flounders) are not much in the public eye, unless reporting on some new and shiny discovery. The ones we hear from are often those with hard earned scientific degrees and a good understanding of what is entailed in science, in general, and also in the science field of their choice. People who may well deserve the honorifics that go with their academic achievements and serve science well in their supportive positions. However, I doubt if they have that hunger and love for the purity of truth that seems to drive the true scientist.
That hunger whose fulfillment requires one to experience (and often re-experience) the discomfort of shedding per-conceived notions.
A few weeks ago, I met a physics teacher from a local university and invited him to comment on my belief that institutes of science were, at least in part, a bubble of security to keep introspective people safe from those who might scoff. He heartily agreed with me. One may look to 2 Peter 2:12 although I didn’t mention it at the time.
In religion, though, there is faith – right? What appalls me though, is the recently displayed hard scientific data that I have found since I began practicing my once dormant, yet passionate, faith less than ten years ago. Our Lady of Fatima in 1971 and her predictions, some of which have come true in a timely manner. Don Piper, author of “Ninety Minutes In Heaven” who was killed in an auto collision and was brought back to life with prayer and with no brain damage; after an hour and a half of having no blood circulating to his brain. A fact attested to by medical professionals. The only dispute which I’ve encountered was by someone who pointed out that he wasn’t actually in heaven, but merely outside the pearly gates for the hour and a half. So what? Later he was cured of life threatening pneumonia in a miraculous way and in a miraculuous time space as a result of an overnight prayer vigil.
So many more instances of hard data that I would need a lot more space than I care to take up here but, where’s scientific integrity that doesn’t look at this, and more, before saying that our Christian faith is “unscientific”?
Even with the hard data I probably wouldn’t post here today, since I’ve posted on much of this before on this blog, however there’s the critique that, no matter how one looks at it, religion begins with faith.
However, as a peripheral part of a research project which a began almost two years ago, I feel led to a belief that a scientist’s education also begins with faith since that education does not begin on day one at university. It almost always starts in elementary schools with very generalized courses that are taught in a faith based manner. Proofs are usually statements that an end product works because of such and such a scientific discovery, while a lot that’s in between discovery and product is left out. Believe it for now and we’ll prove it later sort of, except (sometimes) in mathematics – which is not so much a science but, rather, more the language of science. Assessing data and theories, with the application of detailed proofs, cognitive thinking and the like, comes later in middle schools and progresses very gradually. Yet the faith basis of elementary school teaching (the end product may be indisputable but its direct connection to a stated scientific belief may well seem tenuous to a budding scientist) seems to light a long burning light in the minds of some young people.
I’ve been instructed not to reveal more on most of the current aspects of my research but, it seems there’s an OK to state this part in this, a timely manner.
God bless us everyone.
How about “… adminstrators – such as those who …” instead of “administrators – such sa those who …” and “… Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 …” instead of “… Our Lady of Fatima in 1971”
I did proofread but, apparently not well enough to avoid having my passion to express serve my love of truth instead of to dominate and distort that love of truth. I caught later when checking the partially posted comment where it still has, “Your comment is awaiting moderation”
On the upside, I get to see how I can fall into the trap which I may criticize others for and have more to learn and to develpo.
We Catholics who couldn’t be there with you are keeping you and all the other marchers in our prayers.
Really amazing! Both life and this video! Let us offer up unceasing prayers for the unborn, the marchers, the American people, and our politicians.
Beautiful video. Thought the music fit perfectly.
We have parts outside of parts.
That is one of the overriding themes of all your blog posts combined:
“Many who are now last will be first, and the first will be last”
Beautiful post, Msgr. The description of the amazing complexity of the human body reminded me of when I was studying physiology during my first year of pharmacy school many years ago. It was a challenging course but nonetheless I also found it to be quite spiritual as well. The awesome complexity of the human body points to its divine designer. That human beings can discover such intricate details of how we’re made is also due to God’s gift to us of the human mind. Praise the Lord!
Deacon, I had an identical experience while studying embryology in medical school in 1974. I found it so challenging to comprehend the diverse and intricate pathways of fetal development that were clearly orchestrated at the hand of God. Who could ever believe that this process was random?!
…During this past week, I have heard several commentators state that, back in 1973, the “substance” in the uterus was understood to be just a blob of matter–as if doctors were in the “stone age” of understanding back then. Simply not true! Well, for starters, our text was entitled, “The Developing Human”. In 1973, development was clearly understood in detail from tiny embryo to fetus to newborn baby. Ultrasound imaging was not yet widely available, but the embryology texts presented detailed images of all stages of development. No mystery. Whew! The process was purposeful and incredibly complex. From the get-go, this was a tiny human being evolving in utero. Praise Jesus!
Monsignor, may I suggest that even when abortion is abolished in this land, that the March for Life should continue. Hopefully, the date of the March will change to the date on which the Right to Life is restored in this country (rather than the day it was taken away – as it is now), and hopefully it becomes a great celebration of victory for the culture of life, but we should never forget the struggle and the millions of precious lives lost.
I find it hypocritical that to my knowledge only one bishop has excommunicated a pro-abortion politician. Where are the other bishops and why don’t they have the courage to do the same? We can march as long as we like, but nothing will change as long as the bishops do nothing to these Catholic politicians who espouse pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage sentiments.
Not sure if you mean excommunicate. or just bar from communion, they are different concepts and have very different legal requirements.
Our pro life zeal leads us to focus on the life of the child so much so that the spiritual lives of the mothers and fathers who lost children to abortion are almost forgotten.
These parents carry a tremendous, life long burden that most people can’t even begin to imagine…a burden that can only be alleviated through the sacraments.
Please take time to pray, right now, as you read this, for their reconciliation with Christ and for the grace of the peace of Christ in their lives.
This is only the beginning of an arduous task. The secularist elitests envision a utopian society governing and culling an obsolete faith based population with the efficiency of computerized mechanization which requires less consumption of natural resources and limits the amount of unecessary ignorance in the world through efficient practicality. Hind sight is 20/20 but only the losers will go through life looking at the world through their rear end. This is no time for high fives. We are in a battle for the minds as well as souls of humanity and we have not yet begun to fight.
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