Mike’s Meditations: From Pro-Life to Prostitution
By: Mike Van Vranken, Spiritual Director
Jesus lumped prostitutes and tax collectors together (Mt 21:31 NAB) when speaking of sinful ways. God’s Wisdom compels us not to be lured by prostitutes (Proverbs 9:13-18). As adult Catholics, we realize that “prostitute” in the bible has a much larger meaning than some pelvic sin. It refers to any time we sell our physical, spiritual or emotional body for some type of financial, material or physical gain. As an example, if I put my prayer life, family and/or friends to the side while I work too many hours for financial security, I’m a prostitute. If this workaholic lifestyle causes pain and disease to my body, I’m also a prostitute.
Over 17,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the last 6 months; many very painfully and alone. We struggle with decisions of keeping more people safe and yet helping those who have lost income, jobs and businesses. In making these decisions, are we diligent in seeking God’s wisdom and not the world’s?
It seems the Catholic Pro-life movement has been very quiet where Covid-19 is concerned. Where are the outcry’s for the lives of the 5 million Americans who have tested positive; many with terrible pain and suffering, many with seemingly long-term damage to their bodies, and the many, mentioned above, who have died? Where are the Pro-life voices demanding safer conditions for those in nursing homes and retirement facilities? Where are our Pro-life Catholics, crying out for safer environments in our prisons and jails? Where are the Pro-life advocates for our tireless doctors, nurses, first responders and other health care workers? And, of course, where are the Pro-life concerns in our parishes to financially help those who are unemployed, who can’t pay their rent or mortgage payments, and for many, whose jobs will not return? Why do we not hear Pro-life demands for the Church and for Congress to help so many Americans around the country? And remember, it was announced February 13th, before the reality of the virus had reached our consciousness, that American credit card debt was at an “all-time high.” In other words, the economy was nowhere near as strong as people have told us.
I have, of course, heard many Pro-life cries to “open up the economy.” And yes, I agree, we need to get as many people back to work as quickly as healthily possible, and as soon as healthily possible. But, if we make “opening the economy” our focus, haven’t we put the financial aspect ahead of our Pro-life beliefs? How many of us would argue that not one unborn child should ever be destroyed? Yet, are we willing to put a small percentage of living Americans at risk so we can “open the economy?” Are we putting dollars ahead of lives and justifying it by saying it gives people an income again? Truthfully, are we prostitutes; believing that the virus is dangerous, and yet allowing others to be at risk so money can freely flow again?
In a graphic image of the early Church, we read that not a person was needy, they shared everything in common, and no one said: “that’s mine, you can’t have it” (Acts 4:32-34). Talk about a Pro-life Church! They helped each other; they shared their goods, including their money. Should the Church be paying rent and groceries for those who have lost income, lost jobs, lost businesses, and lost a loved one who was also their breadwinner? Should the church be helping re-design prisons, jails, nursing homes, retirement centers, schools, workplaces and anywhere that people congregate because of our Pro-life beliefs? Or, have we aborted these Pro-life values for the value of the U. S. dollar?
In this month of September, I urge you to ask these questions to God himself, rather than request someone’s human opinion. What is God’s take on this? Will you dare to sit with God in the silence each day this month and ask him: God, am I Pro-life; or am I a prostitute? Tell him how it makes you feel to even ask the question. Does it make you squirm a little? Ask where that “squirm” is coming from. Sit and listen for his answers. Not only during your prayer time, but throughout your day, and maybe even in your dreams at night. But, be ready, because he will answer you? In a paraphrase of Deuteronomy 30: 15-19, hear God saying: “The commandment I am giving you today isn’t too much for you. I set before you Pro-life and prostitution; choose life, that you and everyone else, may live.”