CBS News correspondent Dr. John Lapook has an important story about a Zika outbreak in the Rio Grande Valley, affecting 18 pregnant women in the area thus far in 2017. Dr. Lapook interviewed the mother of adorable baby Hugo, pictured above, who said of her newborn, “I feel so happy, I’m so in love with him.”
Let’s hope that Dr. Lapook’s responsible, compassionate, human life-affirming approach to the challenge of the Zika virus inspires other journalists, news and opinion, to keep their eyes on the ball: to fight the Zika virus, not the babies affected by it, by suggesting that their lives are somehow less valuable, less precious in the eyes of God than other babies.
Here is the link to the CBS story:
The passing of Natalie Cole is shocking and sad beyond words. The only thing I can say for now is that perhaps God decided to take Natalie home at the very dawn of a new year, precisely so we could reflect on the gifts He bestows upon us, even as our world deals with all manner of evil. Natalie and her father were special gifts to our country, and indeed to the world. Heartbreaking as Natalie’s passing is, reflecting and rejoicing over God’s immense gifts to humankind, like the talents of Natalie and Nat King Cole, is actually a blessed way to start off a new year.
Rest in peace, Natalie. I love you. I miss you already, and I’m profoundly grateful that you shared not only your talent, but your beautiful heart, with the world.
In yet another airplane interview, Pope Francis said to reporters and the entire world that “Catholics don’t need to breed like rabbits.”
Simply put, there are no words to adequately describe the heartlessness of that statement, no matter how he or his legions of yes-men may try to contextualize it.
So to all the big, beautiful and loving families of this world, whatever your creed, I say thank you for bringing love into the world. Each conceived soul is a gift from God, not an economic asset or liability on Pope Francis’ or Planned Parenthood’s spreadsheets.
One day people will see that. Until then, we must keep our hope alive, and rejoice in the love that does exist in this world, expressed in so many ways, including by parents whose hearts are filled with joy and excitement with the addition of each new child in the family.
Recently, the Catholic cable channel, EWTN, aired a program with the Rev. Paul Check, the executive director of Courage, a Catholic organization dedicated to helping same-sex attracted Catholics who desire to live according to the teachings of the Magisterium live celibately and, thus, find peace and happiness. While Rev. Check’s psychological and theological assumptions about homosexuality were as disdainful as any other conservative Christian, Catholic or Protestant, he made one point that those of us who view homosexuality as a precious, naturally non-procreative gift from our heavenly Creator ought to consider: nouns, and sexual identity labels in particular, have their limitations in the spiritual realm. Amen to that.
Though religious conservatives like Rev. Check may never see homosexuality, like this writer does, as God’s natural offering to men and women who desire sacred, naturally non-procreative sexual union, that does not mean these conservatives don’t have anything to offer human sexual progress, and progressives like myself: namely, people who have no hang-ups about the human body and sexual desire, but who wish all people would stop denigrating the lives of others, including their sex partners, and especially our unborn baby brothers and sisters.
A photo from Reuters/CNS of the Central American refugee children, sleeping at a federal immigration processing center in Brownsville, Texas. These centers across the Mexico-U.S. border are the real cities of Los Angeles of our time.
Fifty years ago today, just a few weeks before Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington, a miracle happened: a baby girl was born. She would grow up to become a global superstar, but most importantly, she would be faithful, even in the midst of inner battles, to the mission God gave her: to bring love and joy to this world through the gift of song. The baby girl’s name was Whitney Elizabeth Houston. Her family would call her, simply, Nippy.
Over a year has gone by since Whitney passed away at 48 years of age. For many of us, the sorrow will really never go away. And yet, for me anyway, the more that time passes, the more that sorrow swims alongside a flowing, gushing, and unadulterated gratitude: gratitude for Whitney, and gratitude for God for giving our world such a miracle.
Down below is a link to one of Whitney’s 1991 hits, Miracle. This line from the song resonates with me now as it did back then:
Nothing should matter
Not when love grows inside you
A voice of love is crying out
Don’t throw love away
There’s a miracle in store…
Ironically, on this day, August 9, we also remember the dropping of the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945. As Whitney sang in Miracle, we all have love – individual talents from the Creator – growing inside each and every one of us. It is always we human beings who throw away that love, who throw away the “miracle in store,” when we use our talents for war and other destructive purposes, or perhaps countenance or, quite commonly, live in fear of, those who do.
It is never, ever God who is throwing away the love that was put inside of us from the moment we were conceived.
It may sound like a stretch, but perhaps God decided that baby Whitney should be delivered into the world on August 9, simply to get us to stop throwing our hands up in the air when war and injustice take place, asking – and indeed shouting – “Why God why!”
God is always, always doing his part: giving us miracles of love inside each of us to work with, every single day. Miracle upon beautiful miracle.
Despite her battle with the dreadful disease of addiction, Whitney never threw away her miracle. Even in the last few years of her life, when her voice was wearing down, she still was faithful to her call – singing from the depths of her soul the best she could. She gave, and gave, and gave.
Generations yet to come will be blessed by God’s generosity that came in the form of this beautiful person, just as we have been so blessed.
Happy 50th Birthday, and rest in peace, Whitney Elizabeth Houston. Yes, we will always love you.
Here is Whitney’s video for the classic song, Miracle:
Your love is eternal.
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