Behind the humble majesty of Christmas, we find three powerful reminders of the sacredness of love, and life, in the core of our faith. We have just celebrated the feasts of the Holy Family and the Holy Innocents, and we are headed for the feast of the Epiphany, wherein we commemorate the journey and adoration of three wise, and brave, kings for our newborn Savior (Matthew 2:1-12).
Placed as we are in this profound juncture of our liturgical year, we might also dwell on the decisions of another set of three kings regarding babies.
The First Pro-Life Decision
Scripture tells us the story of two prostitutes who ask King Solomon to settle an argument between the two of them over who is the mother of a particular baby (1 Kings 3:16-28). The wise king asks for a sword to divide the baby in half so that both can have part of the baby.
Ultimately, Solomon decides that the essence of motherhood is unconditional, unselfish love willing to sacrifice, not chained to convenience or self-interest, free from bitterness or resentment and, above all, recognizing the mutual relationship between personal responsibility and trust in the Will of God. In awarding the baby precisely to the woman willing to sacrifice her own interest for the baby’s safety and welfare, Solomon embraces the sanctity of life over self.
A King’s Right To Choose
If wise Solomon showed us the majestic heights to which noble rule can rise, then Herod demonstrated the pathetic depths to which ignoble rule can sink. Consumed by insecurity and doubt, this king chose the convenience of mass murder in a vile and feeble attempt to maintain a grasp on the false illusion of a temporary throne.
Is not abortion merely this, the pathetically selfish attempt to escape personal responsibility, or the equally tragic victory of the material over the spiritual? Is not the very essence of abortion yet another cry of rebellion against the omnipotence and rule of God over life? Is not abortion a morally immature “solution” steeped in self?
In murdering innocence for self-interest, Herod embodied this society’s rampant selfishness and greed, and provides us with a tragic contrast to the noble decision of Solomon.
The history books tell us that King Henry VIII murdered a number of women out of lust and a twisted desire for a male heir to his throne. Like Herod, Henry’s respect for life did not extend beyond the tip of his crown.
Both kings made fateful, tragic decisions guided only by their own arrogance, selfishness and blatant defiance of all that is decent and honorable. Henry twisted the sanctity of marriage to fit his whimsical desires just as he twisted the sanctity of life to conform to his whimsical notions of loyalty and royal divinity. Likewise, Herod twisted the sanctity of life to conform to his own paranoid insecurities and pathetic cowardice.
Similarly, the woman who had no problem dividing the baby twisted the sanctity of life to conform to her distorted notions of justice, fairness and personal rights. Like Herod, Henry chose a buffet morality wherein he could pick and choose his moral menu according to his whim and taste.
In essence, all three of the kings discussed here sought termination. Solomon wanted to terminate injustice, selfishness, arrogance, and greed. Herod and Henry, on the other hand, wanted to terminate potential they perceived as threatening.
Both rulers allowed their insecurity and self-interest to dictate their desire to end something. Given that we cannot end something which does not exist, the desire to “terminate” implies the admittance of existence.
I can remove an unsightly mole from my face for cosmetic reasons, or because I fear that said mole will develop into cancer. In the first instance, I want to remove the mole because of what it is. In the second instance, however, I want to stop what the mole may become; I want to stop the development of something into a potential I perceive as harmful to my welfare and comfort.
Most women who have abortions do not do so simply because they do not like how they look when they are pregnant, or because they fear that they will be pregnant for life. Also, people do not tend to end a process they perceive as good or beneficial.
Combining these two premises, one can conclude that women who have abortions fear what the unborn child within may become for them, be it an inconvenience, a hassle, a bad reminder or memory, an obstacle or, as some leaders will have us think, a punishment.
They are taught to see pregnancy, and the unborn, in this way by a society steeped in selfishness, greed, manipulation, exploitation, and a total lack of personal responsibility, sacrifice, or control. They are used by despicable individuals and organizations like Planned Parenthood, which exploit their fears or confusion for profit, yet have the utter gall to pretend that their actions are noble, caring, or selfless, much less sacred or the work of God.
The law teaches us that the loss of potential can be an actionable offense. This, at the end of the day, is the true evil of abortion, for this heinous evil against life is rooted in the tremendous, tragic loss of so much potential for good in a world which so badly needs that good. How much of the good from scholars, scientists, educators, pioneers, role models, and saints have we lost to abortion! How many souls have we lost, and will continue to lose, to its vile enticements!
Adam and Eve learned the hard way that the devil loves to paint God’s blessing as a curse to be overcome. Herod saw the innocent as a threat to his lifestyle, and Henry shaped his morality according to his own subjective whim, taste, and convenience, pathetically clinging to earthly goals and gain.
In a sense, both men were ultimately enslaved by their own insecurity and tragic efforts to escape personal responsibility and accountability, allowing themselves to be trapped and guided by the twisted standards and moral measures of their day. Their ultimate standard was self, and their ultimate fate was self-inflicted and self-centered.
Solomon, on the other hand, had a much different standard. His standard was respect for the Will of God, as well as trust in The Almighty’s Wisdom and Justice.
We must pray for the victims of abortion — the unborn, the fathers, the mothers, the families, and our society as a whole. God help, however, those who profit from this evil, and who multiply their wrong by pretending that this evil can, in any way, be a good for any reason, much less a blessing or some sacred right, or that abortionists can somehow be saints or noble angels. Ultimately, these greedy ghouls are the true purveyors and promoters of this sin, and they will face the eternal consequences unless they reverse their tragic course.
The Feast of the Holy Family reminds us that true love of God and others begins in the family that places God at its center. The Feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us of the sacredness of life, which is so threatened today. The Feast of the Epiphany reminds us that we each have gifts given to us from God, which we need to return to Him with interest in His service.
As we ponder the thoughts and actions of Herod, Henry, and Solomon, perhaps we may realize that our standard must always be God and others over self. It is no coincidence, I believe, that these three great feasts are followed, by less than a month, by the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in which greed, selfishness, and arrogance manipulated fear, confusion, and misinformation in the interest of, you guessed it, self.