Thursday, November 12, 2009

BEATITUDES, BABIES AND BASEBALL: The Persecuted Right Fielder

"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matt. 5:10-12.

This essay here concludes a nine part series which examines whether abortion is consistent with or opposed to the beatitudes at the core of Christian faith and action. Each essay examines a beatitude in three relationships: our relationship with God, with His laws and with others, particularly the least favored of humanity. Each begins with mention of a famous baseball player who demonstrated some characteristics of the beatitude. Can you recognize this last player before reading his name?

9. The Persecuted, but Appreciated, Right Fielder. After he was traded to his third team in his first four years in the major leagues, he won the League’s Most Valuable Player Award twice the next two years, edging out the established hometown hero. Sadly, many people criticized him as an unworthy upstart when he passed the home run record then held by America’s greatest sports hero. Instead of being rewarded for this accomplishment, he faced a lot of hostility from the baseball public. "They acted as though I was doing something wrong, poisoning the record books or something," he said. As they had done for their other superstars who preceded him, though, the Yankees accorded him honor and retired the jersey number of this right fielder, Roger Maris.

Christ calls us in the last Beatitude to accept persecution not to pursue excellence, but to pursue Him. The characteristic of this Beatitude is fellowship with Christ, His law, and those least fortunate among us because He is with them also. The beatitude reminds us that this fellowship embraces also those who have gone before us in His name.

The prochoice side, however, calls for the destruction of the least fortunate among us. It persecutes those who would protect them. Its laws stand in opposition to God’s laws and disregard those giants, the prophets and saints who suffered persecution themselves for the sake of Christ.

We must choose which team we will be on. Let it be His team and let us strive to be the best teammates of those closest to Him, the unborn who are presently least among us. Then, they will grow in size and stature and become the teammates we will need in our declining years. Let us recognize the sacrifice made by those mothers in crisis pregnancy who maintain the lives of their unborn children. They are truly heros whether they raise those children themselves or place them with others to do so. Let us remember too the sacrifice made by the men and women daily who have stood on the front line of the abortion holocaust for the sake of the unborn, and ultimately for their mothers and families, especially when they have been persecuted for doing so. Finally, when we pass from this earth, may we be part of that victorious celebration with Him, the prophets and saints, and all those millions of people who were not permitted to walk this earth.