Artificial Contraception Can Do Irreparable Damage to Human History


I could probably sit here and rewrite every encyclical and Church document on contraception, but you have probably heard about it, read it or are not interested in hearing it again.  So I won’t do that.  Instead, I’ll share some thoughts on contraception, parenting, and family from a very purely Franciscan perspective.

 I don’t know how many people know this, but Francis of Assisi was one of seven children.  We only know the name of one of his younger brothers, Angelo.  Since we don’t know the rest, nothing is ever mentioned of them except that they existed.  There is also a passing reference in one of the early letters of one of the friars to a certain Brother Giovanni who was Francis’ nephew.  It’s very interesting, because that was Francis’ birth name.  He was baptized Giovanni Bernadone.  He was born while his father was away on a trip to France.  When he returned, he found his first-born son and gave him the nickname, Francesco, Little Frenchman.  As far as we know, he was the first person in history to be named Francesco. 

What does this have to do with contraception?  Well, let’s pretend that Francis had never been born in 1182.  There would not be over one million Franciscan men and women in the world.  There would not be over 100 Franciscan saints and blessed.  We probably would have had to wait for the Christmas crib to be invented by someone else or it may not have been invented.   The world would not have had all of the ministries that the Franciscan order has provided for the Church during the last 800 years.  Catholicism would not have come to the Americas the way that it did.  Many people do not know that Christopher Columbus was a Secular Franciscan or that the first missionaries to the New World were Franciscan Friars.  The City of Los Angeles was named after Our Lady of the Angels or the Portiuncula, the first house of the Franciscan order.  Sacramento, California and Corpus Christi, Texas were named after the Blessed Sacrament, which devotion was spread through Europe by St. Francis of Assisi and his sons.  Let’s not forget San Francisco, California.

Teresa of Avila would not have read the writings of Francisco de Osuna, the Franciscan mystic who inspired her during her early years as a Carmelite nun or she would not have had the strong spiritual guidance and influence of Brother Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan saint who was her spiritual friend and often her confessor.  He was also her greatest teacher on detachment.

Mother Teresa would have had to look in another direction for her inspiration when writing her constitutions.  The two saints upon whom she drew were St. Benedict for his guidance on the contemplative life and St. Francis of Assisi for his guidance on spiritual childhood and total obedience on the Will of God.

This brings us to the most important question of this blog entry.  Are we aware of the value of one life?  Are we aware of how one life can change history?  How different would history be without Francis and his sons and daughters?  What great holiness, intellectual and pastoral achievements have been made within the Church and in the world, because someone allowed the grace of God to work in their lives rather than interfere with the natural process of love and procreation.

Francis of Assisi was just one person, a single man born 800 years ago in a small mountain town in Italy.  Nevertheless, his influence is very much alive.  Had his parents chosen to follow the path of contraception, none of this would have happened.  Francis would not have been born.  Under his guidance and inspiration, millions of men and women from every continent on earth, for eight centuries, have been inspired to serve God and neighbor in ways that have changed the world.  One single life, one drop in the great ocean of humanity, has served as the means through which God has given so many gifts to the world and so many graces to the souls of men and women. 

It is easy to think that we can use artificial contraception once and it will not make much of a difference.  However, what if that one time had been the time when Francis of Assisi was to be conceived?  What if that one time had been the moment when you and I were to be conceived?  If you have children, imagine the world without them.  Had your parents chosen to use contraception and you had never been born, those children whom you so love would not be here.  One single moment of interference with God’s plan for humanity can be the most destructive act that any human being can commit.  It can change history.

Published in: on July 4, 2010 at 2:31 AM  Leave a Comment  

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