A few notes from various corners:
We all have seen or possess the bumper-sticker, “Choose Life,” announcing opposition to the horror of abortion.
Has there ever been a time — with states moving to negate any future overturning of Roe, and passing laws to allow even the latest of late-term abortions — when it has been more needed?
Is there even an apocalyptic-like element?
Interesting it is to learn that there was a German philosopher named Eric Gutkind who published a book in 1952 called Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt. It was a book that antagonized Albert Einstein — who didn’t much take to the idea of a personal God (despite his famous quote on dice).
At any rate, by one account, the book “presented the Bible as a call to arms, and Judaism and Israel as incorruptible.” A review in Commentary magazine said “Choose Life” was “genuinely inspired by Jewish tradition.”
But here is the kicker: It was meant, was this book, according to a reviewer, to “challenge a disillusioned generation to ‘prepare the world for the Kingdom of God.’”
Psalms 16:7 says, “I will bless the Lord Who has counsels me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.” So does the heart.
And like everything in Scripture, it proves true in real life: we often are counseled, instructed, and informed in the deepest hours of dark, whether during sound sleep or that halfway state — hypnagogia — between somnolence and wakefulness. In particular, things often are revealed when we turn to prayer while trying to fall back asleep. One thinks of Saint Joseph and his dreams: sometimes the information conveyed is crucial.
In the silent night, we “hear” something we don’t normally hear. We “see” something — or certainly understand something — we normally would not.
There are also extreme states during which the spirit instructs us on one mystery or another, especially at the brink of death.
And so it was in the early 1990s that a ten-year-old boy named Damion Heersink from Dothan, Alabama, lapsed into a terrifying state of illness after spending time at a Boy Scouts camp.
Clearly, something had infected his body. His intestines had swollen. He was hemorrhaging blood. Doctors had to draw a quart of fluid at a time of water from the sac around his heart. Day after day, hour upon hour, it got worse. His parents — his dad a doctor — were sure, at one point, that he was going to die. It went on for weeks, progressing from acute localized disorders — damaged lungs, which permanently lost thirty percent of their function — to clotting blood, as organ by organ shut down.
There were emergency surgeries. There were transfusions. There were desperate filtrations of his blood. A toxin had entered — was exponentially multiplying. At one point his blood pressure all but vanished. The toxins were generated by by the feared bacteria, E. coli 0157:H7, which somehow had entered his system. But the boy’s parents did research that was lifesaving, there was much prayer, and Damion somehow made it. It is the bacteria that often calls national alerts about certain foods, for it kills five hundred Americans a year — rare but extremely dangerous, caused by contaminated food or water.
At one point, a priest went into young Damien’s hospital room for what amounted to last rites.
Was it from a creek that his son, at that camp, had drawn water from? Something he touched, or ate?
The disease had raged like a fire. Every turn was headed to the wrong side. Eventually, doctors were able to grasp him out of a free fall. In the midst of it, the boy had a dream in which he saw himself at the Boy Scout camp helping to cook the hamburgers, which were placed on a plate. Hungry, Damion saw a small piece that had fallen off one of the hamburgers and popped it in his mouth. It was cold. It had not been cooked. But embarrassed to spit it out, Damion had swallowed it. Raw hamburger, along with lettuce, are well-known to carry the bacterium, which comes from cow wastes that contaminate surroundings. Case closed. It was where the lethal bacterium had come from.
Food for thought and discernment on this planet of mysteries wrapped as they say in conundrums that only Heaven understands and occasionally allows us to also.