Orthodoxy, relics of the saints or earthly appearances by saints who've long gone
to the heavenly kingdom are frequently described as emitting a strong fragrance,
sometimes compared with incense.
For at least
10 years I've been boycotting the San Jose daily paper for personal reasons. You'll
note that I try even to not use its name lest I help its rep and inadvertently
build its power. But Saturday's main headline was so large that I couldn't miss
it as I walked past a vending machine outside Starbucks. It said: A bitter Shiavo
That, I reflected, just goes to prove the biblical
principle: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them,
because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about
all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 'For who has
known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?' But we have the mind of
Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).
Terri Shiavo's killing may
seem to have left a bitter legacy in American politics, especially by those on
the left or those who supported her adulterous husband's decision to end her life,
but in a Christian perspective her suffering and death were far from pointless.
At the very least, the ordeal she and her family were put through heightened the
sensitivity of millions of people about the power of the American courts, and
the abuse of that power, that would willy nilly deny a human being food and waterto
the point of deathon the dubious testimony of only one witness, a witness
who had already taken a second wife, albeit a common-law one, and started a family
that could make him look less than loyal to anyone, I would think, but the only
judge who actually rendered a ruling about removing Terri's feeding tube. There
were many lessons here not only about the culture of life, the culture of death,
civilization's definition and support of marriage, parental rights, compassion,
and other ethical considerations. Even just to the extent that discussion of ethical
questions was advanced among people who usually don't "go there," or
would rather not...just that is a sweet fragrance emitting from the death and
ashes of Terri Shiavo.
two days later the world lost Pope John Paul II, who had tried to intervene to
help save Terri Schiavo and who is credited with coining the terms "culture of
life" and "culture of death" to describe the mass slaughter of the Western World's
innocents through abortion.
Both Terri's and the Pope's passing,
in the week following Easter as observed in Catholic and Protestant communions,
at least metaphorically emitted a sweet fragrance for all believers; Terri's by
teaching us much about ourselves and our times, and the Pope's also for teaching
us the dignity of a natural death and committing oneself to God and His timing
in matters of life and death.
And the forced reflection on
the papacy of John Paul II has, I think, made the world cognizant of what a great
man he was in the last quarter of the 20th century and into the 21st. After he,
in cahoots with America's "Cowboy President," Ronald Reagan, freed Poland
and then the Soviet bloc from the tyranny of Communism, the leaders of the European
Union "thanked" the Pope by ignoring his fervent pleas to note the formative
influence of Christianity in the Constitution of the Union. What could have been
a more appropriate tribute to that man, and the times he so centrally influenced,
than to grant this reasonable and salutarily right and proper request?
it's still not too late.
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005