My Body, Your Choice

My Body, Your Choice

10 March 2024
Fourth Sunday of Lent – Laetare

This past week the world was profoundly saddened to learn that the eldest daughter of the Church, France that is, has inscribed in its constitution a woman’s right to abortion. What that means is that now not only is abortion legal in France, but that it is a fundamental right protected, not just by law, but by the simple fact that you are French. In other words, to be a French woman is to have an innate and inalienable right to murder your unborn baby. It is a right that is being celebrated with rejoicing all over France, and will no doubt fuel renewed efforts to promote a similar outcome in other countries. How did the eldest daughter of the Church reach such a state of perversion? Two and a half centuries ago, the banner of revolt against God was raised in France, and since then has only gained momentum. Much could be said about it, but that is really the topic of a long conference.

This morning I would like to reflect somewhat on what has come to be the principle battle cry of the promoters of baby-killing. That battle cry is summarised in posters all over Paris this past week: Mon corps, mon choix – My body, my choice.

Like so many other slogans, it has a ring of truth, and indeed, there are many cases in which it is perfectly true. A couple of years ago the whole world was trying to force everyone into receiving experimental jabs that many of us refused. No one can force us to receive treatment that we, after due diligence, decline. It was a legitimate application of My body, my choice.

But that slogan, in spite of its fundamental truth, has been twisted by Satan to mean something completely different. Remember how on the first Sunday of Lent we heard Satan use Holy Scripture to tempt our Lord? He quoted psalms to Christ to justify his attempt at getting Him to fall for his tricks. He is perfectly capable of using a bit of truth to get his way. Only he twists it, leaving other important realities out of the picture. He is the master of deception. Already in the garden of Eden he used the trick: look how nice the apple is! It’s good to eat! You won’t die!  He cunningly makes us forget big picture by focusing on the small picture.

In the context of female emancipation, the slogan is used to say: this is my body, and I can do with it what I want.  What the enemy carefully avoids acknowledging is that when a woman is pregnant, there is within her another person, another body who, if they had the use of reason and could speak, would say that very same thing: my body, my choice.

And so the lie is used to promote death. The mother’s body is bigger and she can speak and so she wins the day; might is right. Such is the sad ideology for which so many have fallen.

Let’s take this reflexion further, as today’s Gospel on the multiplication of the loaves invites us. As all the Fathers of the Church acknowledge, the two multiplications of the loaves were a prefiguration of the most Blessed Sacrament. As Christ multiplies loaves, he multiplies His bodily presence for the faithful in the Eucharist. The same omnipotence is at play in each. On Maundy Thursday we will commemorate this tremendous event, but each Mass brings it before our eyes. Indeed, the continued living presence of Christ in our tabernacles reminds us of it throughout the day.

When Our Lord institutes the Holy Eucharist, do you remember what He says? This is my body, which is given for you (Luk 22:19). My body is for you. I give it up so that you may live. I give you my body so that you may choose life. I do not hoard it, I give it, I share it, I lay it down for others.

When a man and a woman get married, they make vows to each other, and those vows mean this: Here is my body; henceforth it is yours, it is no longer mine. In the same way, when a man or a woman consecrates themselves to God through religious vows, they say to Our Lord: here is my body, it is for you, it is no longer mine.

Now, when a woman is with child, it is because she handed her body over to her husband, and that handing over has caused a new life to be conceived in her. Her yes to her husband leads logically to her yes to her child. To both, she says: this is my body, it is for you, I have given up control, because of my love for both of you.

Here, my dear friends, we can see in all its horror the cruel, inhumane slogan of my body, my choice applied to a pregnant woman. What it really means is that when she lay with her husband, it was only about her. If her husband approves the murder of their baby, it only proves that when he lay with his wife, it was only about him. They were both telling a monumental lie, pretending to be about the other, but really only about themselves.

And we can add here that this is where we see what fornicators and adulterers and sodomites and self-abusers and porn addicts and abortionists all have in common: my body, my choice. It’s all about me. My horizon stops at my belly. I don’t care about anyone else, even it means they must die.

The terrifying conclusions are before us: the culture of self is the culture of death.

Did you know that in the healthcare centres of college campuses, the two most sold drugs to female students are contraceptives and anti-depressants? When it’s all about self, you do yourself in, because we are not made for self. Human beings do not find themselves until they give themselves. If you seek yourself, you lock yourself up in a dark prison in which you can only wither away in despair.

This spectacle of horror can give us reason to wonder what this Sunday is all about. The Church tells us to rejoice. Is is possible to rejoice with such a devastated landscape before our eyes?  Yes, it is, for the good news is that the solution to this self-centredness has already been given, and we are privileged to take part in it each time we attend holy Mass or even come before the living presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. There, Jesus says to each of us: This is my body, and it is for you. My love for you is so great that even if you abuse me, I will continue to give my body for you. This attitude is so diametrically opposed to that of the abortionist, which sacrifices others for self. Jesus sacrifices self for others, and thereby gives us the grace to do the same. He gives us the grace to do the same. I say it a third time: He gives us the grace to do the same! To learn self-sacrifice, to give, not to take.

This is why both the act of religious profession and the sacrament of marriage conclude, are sealed as it were, by the holy sacrifice of the Mass. It is why married couples need the Holy Eucharist to be faithful to each other and to their children. It is why religious need our Lord to be faithful to their vows and to their brothers and sisters.

In today’s epistle, St Paul speaks of the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free (Gal 4:31), and he goes on in the next chapter to say: make not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one another (Gal 5:13).

There you have it my dear friends. Life in the spirit, in the Holy Spirit, is one that thinks of others and it produces the supernatural fruits of charity, joy, peace and the others with St Paul enumerates at the end of the same chapter.

Let us not give in to the ambient sadness and despair. The Lord has not forgotten us. In the prophet Isaiah He tells us: Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee. (Isaiah 49:15)

He has not forgotten us. Today He invites us to run with renewed energy to His house: Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her; rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of her consolation.