There is an important “logion” (utterance) of Jesus on his way to the cross that speaks powerfully to this modern age of ours, and is fulfilled in a gruesome manner in our times.
It is the word of Jesus to the women who lamented him as he made his way to Crucifixion:
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
In this text is a likely historical context rooted in the First Century. But Scripture, as I pray you know, was not written merely for First Century Christians. It also speaks to our times. In fact it may speak more ghoulishly to our times than to the First Century, as we shall see. Lets take a look at the First Century context, only briefly, and then turn attention to our owns times.
The First Century context of Jesus’ words is surely rooted in 70 AD and the terrible culmination of a 3 1/2 Year war of the Jewish people with the Romans, (66-70 AD – The War actually culminated with the fall of Masada in 73AD). Jesus had spoken of this terrible war extensively in i the the Mount Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1 – 25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36), and He even wept as he looked upon Jerusalem just before his Palm Sunday entrance:
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:41-44)
And now, as these woman weep for him, we weeps for them and their children. For indeed, the says are coming, in forty short (biblical) years when they will see a destruction so overwhelming that, as Josephus records, 1.2 million Jews will die. And the terrible and suicidal phrase of asking the mountains to fall on them etc. are a Jewish way of lamenting that death is preferable to the calamity that is upon us!
And so we see the First Century fulfillment of the passage. Indeed, those women who lamented him had little idea about how awful it would get for them and their children, for sin and rebellion, hatred and revenge, would have their way, and boil over like a cauldron. 70 AD would bring a bloodbath like the world had never seen until that time.
But what of us? How, does this text speak to us? It a word or three: Horribly, poignantly and prophetically.
It does not take a genius to see that the Lord’s words are true for us in ugly and sickening ways. Our bloodbath is far worse that 70 AD. 55 million are dead from abortion in America alone since 1973. And add to that the 100 Million + who were killed in the last century alone for ideological purposes in two world wars, a cold war, and the pogroms and systematic starvation of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and their successors.
Though we like to think ourselves civilized in comparison to previous centuries, our blood bath is far deeper than any age before. True, we murder our millions in less publicly brutal ways. We do not experience hoards of warriors descending from day to day on unsuspecting cities. Our brutality takes place in more hidden ways, out of sight if you will, in concentration camps, abortion “clinics”, killing fields, and remote locations away from cameras.
Yes, our murder seems more abstract, but it is not. The death toll is almost unimaginable. And meanwhile we go on considering ourselves civilized.
And the Lord Jesus, looking beyond 70 AD must have seen our times and had them in mind when he said to those women of old that they would see an enemy (Satan): dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.
Yes, Satan has deceived us with deceptions of power, distortions of freedom, and crushing lies of “choice.” 55 million dead in American alone since 1973, our children dashed to the ground.
The Lord goes on to say, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ Yes, and those days are here, days when people celebrate barrenness, have themselves surgically sterilized, and celebrate contraception. The days are here when the greatest danger seems to be the “terrible and fearsome proposition” of getting pregnant, of having “too many children.”
Yes, the days are here when most people cry out: blessed is barrenness, blessed are small families. Life it would seem, is a terrible burden to be contracepted and aborted away and some awful threat. It is an age that cries out “Blessed the career women who has not stymied her life and progress by the terrible and terrifying prospect of children.”
Yes, said the Lord to those ancient women, in effect, “You think this is bad? The days are actually coming when things will be so bad and so dark that people will celebrate NOT having children, will celebrate barrenness.”
But the Lord does not stop there. He goes on to describe quite well the culture of death so literally lived out in our times: people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
One may argue that this is just a Jewish way of speaking that indicates despair. Perhaps. But we live it out quite literally in our times, for it is the refrain of the culture of death. And what is the culture of death? It is the mentality that increasingly sees the death or non-existence of human beings as the “solution” to problems. In our times there has arisen a group of radicals who see human beings as a hindrance to their ecological goals, and they seek population reductions and even dream of a pristine earth without humanity. They peddle History Channel programs such as “Life after People” as a kind of fantasy of their vision and advocate contraceptive and abortive policies that see mankind as the problem that must be eliminated. In effect they cry to the mountains “fall on us” and dream of a world that is “post-human.” They even peddle disaster movies as though they were longing for it all.
You may say, I exaggerate. Fine. But would you ever dream we would be were we are today in fifty short years of social engineering, and anti-life policies?
Jesus spoke to the women that day of their own time, but surely his words describe our own times in sickening detail, times where barrenness is exalted and the fertility of large families treated with shock and even contempt, times where extremists have infected the modern psyche with notions that human beings are worse than roaches on this planet and that things will be better without us, or with dramatically fewer of us.
Of times like 70AD and times like these Jesus says, “Weep.”
Yes, Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. (Matt 5:4). And who are those who mourn? They are those who see the awful state of God’s people, that God is not know to them, that they do not glorify God or even know why they were made, they are confused, deceived, and misled. And some, seeing this are mourning and weeping, they are led to prayer and action, to speaking out, and pointing once again to the light, from the dark places of times like these.
Mourn with Jesus, and pray for a miraculous conversion for times like these, times which seem eerily consistent with the dreadful things Jesus prophesied.
54 Replies to “In times like these: Some very eerie and prophetic words spoken by Jesus on the way to the cross.”
What good points, Monsignor! 10 months ago I gave birth to my third and final child, a beautiful and sweet baby girl. Only my church friends regarded her as a blessing, but many others were less than enthusiastic. Perhaps because most liberals consider more than two children to be excessive and environmentally damaging, and partly because I was getting divorced right as I got pregnant with my third baby. But I was glad! She is my husband’s parting gift to me.
The obstetrician practically ordered me to get sterilized, but of course I refused. I told her that I was getting divorced and didn’t need to worry about future pregnancies anyway. This led to an embittered lecture on me “taking responsibility for my own sexuality.” I have not even held hands with a man since my baby was conceived–But the doctor is just voicing the widespread belief that a sex life is a necessity for anyone under the age of say, eighty years old. Not true! I am happy to be pursuing a life of chaste celibacy. I’m glad I didn’t let that doctor bully me into getting sterilized!
I have a question–why can Al Gore produce four children and the rest of us have to close up shop?
The rules created and espoused by the secular humanist social engineers and environmentalists do not apply to themselves. You may compared it to the modern Golden Rule of today that states: “Those who have the gold, rule”.
The only thing God expects of us is that we live our lives as Jesus taught us to live. He will take care of the rest when He see fit.
I think that this is the most powerful post of yours that I’ve read, and accompanied by that video, is a real motivator for increased prayer and evangelization for me. Also for much more bible study and study of the catechism to learn more fully exactly what the Church teaches. It has been my experience that the more I do these things, and do all that I can to increase my relationship with Jesus Christ, the less fear, and more peace that I have, and the more effective that I can be. Your posts have been a large part of that. I thank you.
Can’t help but think that it’s been 40 years since Roe v Wade given your reference to the timing of Christs crucifixion and Masada.
This is a very sobering piece. One way to look at Jesus’ words “people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ ” is that people are commiting suicide in record numbers – the elderly, our teens, and even our military. Because people have no faith and because they are so miserable, they long for death and non-existance.
The year before I returned to the Catholic Church, I underwent surgery because I learned through genetic testing that I am a carrier of a gene that promotes ovarian cancer. I had already lost 2 sisters to cancer and a third sister was battling it. I took everyone’s recommendation and went ahead with preventative surgery. At times I have wondered if I did the wrong thing, and I have mentioned it in confession. But I also think maybe I’m here today because I had this information. I don’t know. It was a tough decision, and made without a Catholic perspective.
I am only a lay Catholic grandmother, but unless I am badly mistaken you are beating yourself up over nothing. You had the surgery to save your life, the infertility that resulted was an unfortunate side effect, not the purpose. I needed a hysterectomy for serious medical reasons a good decade before I would have become infertile due to age. The fact that it prevented me from having any MORE children was not the intent……I was just blessed with children already when this occured. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but please don’t carry the weight of false-guilt.
Humanae Vitae makes very clear that surgery to prevent cancer is acceptable even when it has the undesired/unintended effect of making a woman sterile. The health of the woman is one of the issues this document gives as a legitimate reason to limit having children.
Yes, correct. Sorry I haven’t been able to be part of the discussion, but it would seem clear here that we are dealing with double effect, so long as we do not directly intend the sterilizing qualities but only endure them as an unfortunate outcome.
Well, that’s good to know! Thanks for these informative responses!
I first came to know this verse from Scripture in college at a secular university. I about stopped dead in my tracks in agony… I knew that the Lord was also looking forward to today.
I just finished reading (and reviewing) “do no harm” by British author Fiorella De Maria, which is a novel set in Britain, focused on Britain’s “Living Will” law. I strongly recommend the book (or if you REALLY are too busy, at least read the review).
Certainly there will come a time when we will be asked to stand up for our faith and proudly take whatever punishment society dictates, or publicly cast incense to Caesar along with the crowd. The time may be now.
Thank you for this post. It tends to bolster some of my own thoughts about this age and about myself. I have thought of “blessed are the barren” in terms of myself as “blessed.” I have never married and have no children, therefore I am “barren” but rightfully so. But I am “blessed” because I do not have to watch my own beloved children and grandchildren living lives of sin and degradation and headed to hell for all eternity, just by following the culture of today. Or worse yet, shaking my fist at God and His Holy Church, declaring that my homosexual son with his “spouse” or my aborting/contracepting daughter is right, sending myself to hell by making idols of my children. In these times perhaps the spiritual deaths are the most numerous of all. Certainly they are the most terrible. May God have mercy on us.
Be not afraid!
Monsignor, a very penetrating article, I would like to think you preach like this in your parish, I have yet to hear my priests discuss the life issues in their homilies, maybe for fear of offending someone, but the truth of our faith needs to be told, hopefully with our new Pope at the helm things will change for the better in our parishes.
I highly recommend Fr Robert Spitzer book “Ten Universal Principles – a brief philosophy of the life issues” chapter 3 on Natural Rights and the comparison of the Dred Scott and Roe v Wade cases is a great insight on the failure of positive law vs natural law.
“The First Century context of Jesus’ words is surely rooted in 70 AD and the terrible culmination of a 3 1/2 Year war of the Jewish people with the Romans, (66-70 AD – The War actually culminated with the fall of Masada in 73AD).” Revelation 11:1-2: “ And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and it was said to me: Arise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that adore therein.  But the court, which is without the temple, cast out, and measure it not: because it is given unto the Gentiles, and the holy city they shall tread under foot two and forty months:” Forty-two months is 3 and 1/2 years.
Also with 42 months: Revelation 13: 5 “And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies: and power was given to him to do two and forty months.” The ‘him’ in Revelation 13: 5 is one of the two beasts; I think think it is the beast that the Whore of Babylon is riding and that turns on her.–and that is evidence that this beast is the gentiles and that the Whore of Babylon is the holy city, Jerusalem.
I remember back in the 1980’s realizing that abortion had been decriminalized for ten or more years. I couldn’t understand why the adults didn’t do something about that. That it must have been more than the quirk of circumstances that allowed that to happen.
Thanks so much Monsignor!
I was thinking so much of the same thing yesterday.
It makes so much sense to us, but to the wider culture, there is just no connection.
I was blogging about it yesterday and as I was writing I just felt a knot growing in my stomach and I wanted to cry.
It is so hard to help people see the Truth, even our own families think that we are crazy for embracing life.
I am so grateful for you, and all the voices of reason, that guide us.
In the past, slavery was out in the open and people who are witnesses to this evil won’t put up with this.
But now the killings (abortions) are in private, thus, making it very difficult to stop this. I wish the abortionist and the receptionists at these killing facilities have souls. They are so merciless. These are the people who work at the death camp (Planned Barren Hood) and what happen to these people? Why are they so harden? How could they work at such a place?
How could we have arrive at this point? Everyday, they see the little hands, feets and the babies’ brains suck out with a vacuum into a jar? HOW COULD THESE PEOPLE WORK THERE, day after day!
We are at the lowest point. We are “conditioned” by the secularists to become harden and it won’t be long when the State will use the “harden” people to destroy the Christians.
We are conditioned and the acceptance of evil has come incrementally. Even those who work in abortion clinics truly don’t see the truth.
Monsignor, WE can only HOPE and PRAY that Pope Francis can unify our Catholic Church within so 1.2Billion Catholics can truly be ONE—and—that he can be a catalyst to end ALL these schisms in Christianity. As you once posted, if there is no pope, then we are all popes. 2 billion Christians that are united should be able to turn this world around.
Peace of Christ
Wonderful reflection. The first time I came across this passage in the Stations of the Cross four years ago, I began to think how it is Jesus could speak of our times. But yes, the dreadful times are upon us. Blessed are the barren now, with death the cure.
Monsignor: Thank you for the great article. I have seen this point written-up before and think that it’s exactly correct (i.e., that Jesus was telling the women crying about the Crucifixion that there would be something even more deserving of weeping that would occur at the (present) time when people say “Blessed are the barren”). In any event, I would add one related point about the people then saying to the hills, “fall on us.”
That language appears twice in the Bible. Once in Luke 23, which you reference, and secondly, in Revelation 6:
“Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16* calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17* for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?'”
It seems that the consequence of the actions during the era when people say “Blessed are the barren” is that the “great day of their wrath has come.”
Excellent post. Did you see the figures that recently came out of China? They are beyond comprehension – and this is where our own country is going, just at a slower pace.
I just finished the new book “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting” by Jonathan Last. It’s a good but scary description of the economic disaster that will unfold in the West because of self-limited fertility.
I’m surrounded by peers (Millennials) who are afraid of marriage, but even more fearful of babies. When I got pregnant on my honeymoon, one friend said with pity in her voice, “Oh honey. Why didn’t you use protection?” In shock, I said, “Why would I need to ‘protect’ myself from my husband and our baby??”
Next, I got to deal with the assumptions of the medical industry. My OB gave me an impossibly early due date. When I challenged it by pointing out that I didn’t have sex before my wedding, I got back, “It’s OK, we know no one waits til the wedding anymore.” (My daughter was born 9 months + 5 days after the wedding.)
When I conceived a second child, my joyful announcement was greeted with questions about whether I was “done” having kids, and when I was planning to go back to full time work. I usually give some variation on the answer, “We will have the number God wants us to have. Whether I work outside the home again someday or not depends on my family’s needs.” Many people respond to this by looking at me like I’m pathetic, confused, and ignorant.
Just a few years ago, people praised me for being a successful engineer, as though being female and going into that particular business represented some monumental accomplishment. Now I am doing the difficult and often lonely work of bearing and raising children, and all of a sudden it seems my work has minimal value to others. It’s a hard transition, to go from being esteemed for my daily office work to being scorned for living out my vocation.
I am a mother and software engineer. Being an engineer is my career, but being a mother is my vocation.
Rather than looking for the earthly awards, I focus in obtaining the one award from the big boss
, Almighty God. This had heeled me keep focused, though I agree can be difficult.
Sarah, you are so blessed by God. Try to ignore all the negative feedback from the fertility police. What is more wonderful than a baby…who will live forever? My husband and I were unable to have biological children, because I got uterine cancer in my 20’s. We do have one adopted son, but I so wish our home was filled with children. I admire people like you so very much. Do you read the blogs of other women who are rejoicing in the blessing of their children? SueElviswrites.blogspot.com is a great place to start. She has seven living children, one died right after birth and she has had several miscarriages. Her blog is a joy to read. You are not alone. God bless you for being open to life…so few are these days! Enjoy your babies 🙂
oops! Make that http://sueelviswrites.com Enjoy!
Patricia, thank you for these kind words. (And thanks to Sarah, and Vijaya too.) And Msgr. Pope, thank you for this blog. Perhaps I should make more effort to plug in to the Catholic blog community. It is an interesting reality that we live in: one where we must seek instruction and support in digital format from people who are physically many miles away, so that we have the courage to face the people who are physically near to us, yet feel as though they are millions of miles away in terms of their attitudes and beliefs.
Lord knows you can’t just reference the proximate culture to find support if you are trying to remain open to God’s plan for your family size instead of trying to decide it for yourself. I am physically surrounded by other women who either don’t want kids at all, or can’t wait to get away from the one or two kids they do have. These people who are terrified by babies and annoyed by children aren’t exactly profiles in the kind of courage and generosity that I hope to display in my own life.
if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”What does that mean? I’ve never heard an explanation.
Generally it is held to mean “If they do this to an innocent man, what will happen to the guilty?”
I had always taken it to refer to good (merciful) times and bad (judicial) times. Such as, in Jesus’ time, the wood was green while He lived among them, dry after He was gone (at least for most Jews who didn’t celebrate the Eucharist), and eventually culminated in collapse.
In this time, the wood has long been green for foolish, wealthy societies that exalt sterilization while wasting a period of great mercy; in relative comfort, peace and security. It could become dry at any moment if God were to lift his mercy; with a global economic collapse and widespread, incredibly destructive wars and an eventual culmination in collapse.
Have I been way off base on this? Please let me know. I’d like correction if I’m wrong.
Green is when there is still sap and water in the wood; dry is when all the life has gone out of it. We’re getting there rapidly.
Wood is “green” when you cut down the tree. If you make things out of green wood they will warp as the water it dries out. Only when it’s dried is it ready to build things with (or burn — green wood isn’t good to burn either). I interpret it to mean, “if they do things like this now, while Christ is still alive and Christianity is new, what do you think they’ll do after his resurrection, when they see what Christianity is REALLY all about?” In other words, “If you think THIS is bad, just wait…”
Sarah, I think you might enjoy the Divine Office of the Kitchen 🙂 Here’s a link: http://manwithblackhat.blogspot.com/2007/07/divine-office-of-kitchen.html
Very well written. One small correction please, “hoards of warriors” should be “hordes of warriors”.
This time as all times has a mysterious place in Gods providence. We must work the vineyard through evangelization but always remember what Jesus said to the Jarius’ family who laughed at Him. As He was going to the house of his dying daughter, they met them along the way crying out to forget it she is dead (interestingly we feel our culture is dead). Jesus points out she is only sleeping (are most of our fellow citizens or Earthlings sleeping?) and answers their scoffs directed to the father “Do not fear, only believe.”
Friends, we KNOW who wins! The merit is in the fight. The fight against the rot that Monsignor describes. Keep going! Do not become discouraged. We have the sacraments providing Sanctifying Grace which is that Divine Power that allows us to do that which is humanly impossible. Go! Talk. Write letters. Post Truth where you can! He Is with us!!
“Friends, we KNOW who wins! The merit is in the fight.”
Amen! Love this! Thank you.
More often than not I get strange looks from others (Catholics included!) when I reveal my family size; which is two and a half times the national “norm” of 2 children per family. What I perceive as a blessing is literally seen as a joke, by many others. Honestly, I really do wish I could have had another daughter or two (only have the one, and what a blessing she is…), but I’m getting on in years and my wife is past the child-bearing stage. So I thank God for what He has given us, which is already so much more than we deserve.
God bless you, Msgr. Pope for another of your thought-provoking articles.
Sort of a side note here…my family and I love to see large families, and my wife came from a family of 8. I grew up telling my Mom, “I’m having twelve kids!” Well, God in his wisdom blessed us with one daughter. People inside and outside the Church assume we contracept, and we get the “I thought you were REAL Catholics.” That’s kinda tough to live with too.
What is it like being a fisher of man in a city like D.C.? Tuesday justice Roberts and his liberal cohorts stand to drive a stake in the heart of the defense of marriage act right down the street from your church. His lesbian cousin will be there anxiously waiting for his historical condoning of her wish to marry her partner. I don’t see anything in the news about the majority of citizens who voted for the DOMA.. It must be like Lot witnessing the rise and fall of Sodom.
Great reflection… so true in our times…. a time when national and international governments and organizations spend billions to control population… giving contraceptives-abortifacients-abortion-sterilization services to women… calling pregnancy a disease and a punishment… killing unborn babies… harming and deeply wounding women… killing women through the ill effects of contraceptives-abortifacients-abortion-sterilization…
“For if such things as these are done when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry.”… And when the ill effects of contraceptives-abortifacients-abortion-sterilization make women infertile, women resort to invitro, surrogacy, etc… killing more unborn babies… experimenting on the unborn babies…
AND MANKIND CONTINUES TO ACT AS GOD…
“But would you ever dream we would be were we are today in fifty short years of social engineering, and anti-life policies?”
Well, of course, but then I am well under 50! OK, kidding aside, a very thoughtful and provocative article, Monsignor. Thank you.
There is such prophetic teaching in Jesus words regarding issues of life. His words also accord with the implications of SSM as the law will provide children to legal parents and not the child’s mother and father. This separates man from woman, child from mother etc, perhaps there is some great prophetic meaning here also.
If JPII had not put the Catechism out on public bookstore shelves, I would never have become Catholic, but, more importantly, my husband and I would never have stopped contracepting. Thanks be to God, He has blessed us with five children here and two in heaven. I am almost 50 now, yet my older children are still sorry that it appears we will have ‘no more babies.” It is a heavy load to have as many children as God may send you, but it is a load that strengthens you and gladdens your heart. For you who are younger, BE NOT AFRAID and welcome Christ as He comes to you in the “little stranger” of your children. Times are dark now, but God’s will is everything and His strength will sustain us.Don’t worry about anything else but doing the will of God–all works to good for those who love God;).
Regarding “green” and “dry” times–think of the 1950’s, when the Catholic Faith was “green,” esteemed, followed, and a real power in modern life. Then, after the 60’s, the “wood” of the Faith began to go “dry.” Many branches and leaves (faithful) have fallen away in a time of great apostasy.
Now is a time for those of us still on the Barque of Peter to climb down into the hold of the ship and to hang on for dear life (in Christ), and to beg Our Lord to carry us in His hand as we encounter the crashing waves of a flood of secularism, relativism, and, an elevating tsunami of hatred against Christianity and Christians. But, as Our Lord said, not a hair of our heads will be harmed. We must stand firm and persevere, not fearing those who can kill our bodies, but only Christ, who, as Judge, has power to cast us body and soul into Hell. Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that we may be MADE WORTHY of the promises of Christ!
Most of the boomers reduced their family size and their children, who many never get married, do not reproduce and replace themselves will have no one to look after them in their old age. Will the grandchildren of boomers be willing to spend time and treasure on caring for their grandparents and parents when they know that they have been survivors of the abortion age. Won’t precious health care be allocated to those who are younger and who have productive life ahead. The cross of the unexpected baby is the cross that is handed off to the next generation to care for the elderly of society.
Thank you, Monsignor, for your thoughts on this matter. I am pregnant with our fourth child and I am distressed by the number of times people have approached me to ask if we’re “done” or suggested that we’re crazy to have four children. What’s especially distressing to me is that these comments usually come from other parents at my child’s Catholic school where the “acceptable” number of children seems to be two. May you suggest a charitable reply to these comments and questions which may help me to convey to these parents the tremendous gift they have been given in their fertility?
Great article, Msgr. So many wonderful comments – KyPapist, you are so right. I know people with homosexual children and they approve – never thinking of their souls. Sarah, Linda, and Suzanna, do God’s will and don’t let others get you down.
Thank you, Monsignor, for this wonderful post! Like many of the commentators above, I had more than 2 children – I had 2 of each 🙂 My oldest is 30 years old now, but even when I was expecting my children, I’d get the “Did you plan this?” or “Aren’t you done?” or “Wow, that’s a lot of kids!” or “You do know what causes that, don’t you?” comments. It was also interesting how many of them came from complete strangers – especially if I was shopping with my kids. I always had to laugh though, because my mother had 15 children. Yes, you all saw that number correctly – 15. So my response was always that to me, having a family of 4 children is not large – it’s actually kind of small.
Personally, I was always able to handle it charitably that way, because it was the truth. I was then able to explain how it helped me learn responsibility and selflessness (you can’t be the center of attention with 14 other brothers and sisters), yet my parents did make each of us feel very special as individuals. God blesses people with big hearts – and to those with really big hearts He gives lots of children! I also learned how to work with a lot of different personalities and how to stick up for myself. I learned self-control, delayed gratification and that I wouldn’t “die” if I didn’t get the latest and greatest new “thing” on the market. My siblings and I turned out more “normal” than many today, without the neuroses and depressions that plague many people. Obviously, family values played a large part, along with our Catholic faith. While I know it wasn’t always easy – for my parents or for my husband and I with our 4 – the hard times don’t last forever either, and the good memories are really good and do .
I think we have to start being more vocal about being counter-cultural. We need to be the strong voices, along with being the strong examples, that say that this is the preferable way to live – the way that is the most fulfilling and blessed because that is the way that God designed it to be.
Perhaps the most charitable response for mothers (and fathers) like Suzana would be something along the lines of: “If God wants to stop blessing me with these wonderful children, then I’m fine with that, but if He wants to continue, I’m happy with that too!” or, “I think people are crazy for settling for only 2 children – our family life is so much richer because of all of our little blessings from God!” or, “why would I want to limit God’s generousity?”
This passage really stood out to me in the reading of The Passion on Palm Sunday !
It would seem that the opening lines of Genesis on the creation of man have been inverted:
We are no longer in God’s image and likeness, we are mere beasts; we can no longer make claim to the self-evident distinction of male and female, we are now gendered ; we can no longer be fruitful and multiply, we are chemically or homosexually barren; we can no longer subdue the earth, we are the polluters and the pollution that must be swept off of the earth.
May God help us.
It seems the Holy Spirit wanted this message to be heard for I have always puzzled over this station, this moment on the path to Golgatha. It seemed so strange. This year, upon hearing of Jesus speaking to the women, I flashed to the idea that he was fortelling of the time when blessed are the barren would be the accepted norm. My husband independent of me told me of the same understanding and same (up until this year) puzzlement at that particular scene. Now, there is this article and it is once again bringing home, we must weep, and pray for Him who makes all things new. (We are not pollution Rick). We are sinners in dire need of God’s deep and abiding mercy and who need to recognize He carrys this cross for each of us individually out of greater than we can fathom love.
Please, please continue to speak these words.
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