On the ride home from the ophthalmologist’s office, I noticed something rather strange. As I looked out on the world, I could see that trees had individual leaves on their branches – they weren’t just amorphous bunches of green. I was able to see the world in greater detail than ever before and my school work steadily improved. I could see things in the distance that I had previously been unable to distinguish. With the assistance of new lenses, I was able to see the world as never before. The commandments function as kinds of “lenses” for us. Each of them permits us to see the world, our relationship with God and our relationships with one another with a new kind of clarity. The fifth commandment, “You shall not kill,” enjoins upon us a respect for all life, most especially human life from the moment of conception until the time of natural death. The commandment does not simply mean that murder is forbidden, but rather encourages us to examine more deeply all that we do that either deprives or supports the gift of life.
The fifth commandment links together a host of issues – from abortion to euthanasia, capital punishment to the Just War theory, and many more. It weaves them together into a “seamless garment” that seeks to cherish the gift of life from many perspectives. As the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin wrote, the fifth commandment challenges us to form a consistent ethic of life. I first met Dave Hunt and Kim Schneider when I was pastor of St. Jude in DeWitt. At the time, they were engaged to be married and I was blessed to witness their marriage in 2010. They sought me out several years later in the midst of struggles to start a family. I suggested they seek the assistance of specially trained health care professionals who make use of a specialized form of natural family planning to assist couples who are having difficulty conceiving. I was thrilled when Dave and Kim contacted me several months ago to let me know that their first child is due soon. I hope their story can assist other couples in similar situations.
Chelsea’s St. Louis Center seeks to serve the mentally impaired and their families by teaching the center’s residents how to live more independently, allowing many to eventually return to their families or to the community. Society often seeks to sweep the mentally impaired under the rug in order to keep them from view. Father Enzo Addari and the other priests and talented staff of St. Louis Center instead seek to help them take their rightful and dignified place in the world. The Fifth Commandment provides us with new ways to see the wondrous gift of life that God shares with us. It also challenges us to be faith-filled stewards of that gift. And so our journey in FAITH continues. Father Dwight Ezop is editor of FAITH Magazine and pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Fenton. Email: editor@FAITHpub.com.