O Ireland, Where Are You?
A Reflection on the Recent Ireland Vote
My wife and I recently viewed, on two occasions, the new movie that stars Pope Francis, A Man of His Word. Once with just the two of us, and then a few days later with two of our best friends. At a certain point in the movie, the pope had been shown making his many visits to countries throughout his pontificate; one scene in particular that stood out to me was his prayer he gave at the WWII Holocaust Memorial Site in Israel.
The prayer was slowly read by him without the joyful smile we have all come to know. With a serious look across his face, he calls out in sorrow in Italian. “Adam, dove sei?.” (Meaning: “Adam, where are you?) He repeats this calling to Adam over and over; which to some degree haunted to me, but in a good way. Because, while he slowly called out, I heard God’s voice as if God were asking me, “Aaron, where are you?” So, I tucked that down into my, “journal that” section of my memory banks and proceeded to watch the film.
Well, then the following weekend I heard the horrible and disheartening news that Ireland voted to repeal their famous abortion ban. It came as a shock to me and those around me that there could be so many youthful children on television taking to the squares to celebrate their so-called victory. These children actively sought to have access to do such a violent act against their neighbor. A neighbor who St. Patrick, the saints of old, church fathers, the Apostles, and our Lord Jesus would have gone to their death for.
As texts came in and messages were posted on social media, I couldn’t get the voice I had heard from the movie out of my head. So, I immediately went to search the internet for the prayer and was able to recover it, and there read the full-length in silence. I could not believe the prophetic words for that particular time, for Ireland and the world. So, I downloaded it and adjusted a few areas. The edited areas include the proper noun Adam to Ireland, the site of the prayer, and the action of their sin. Other than those few changes, the prayer is retained to its original format.
Prayerfully reflect on the transcribed words. The underlined words highlight the edited areas: which include the proper noun Adam to Ireland, the site of the prayer, and the action of sin. Other than those few changes, the Pope’s words are retained in its original format.
“Ireland, where are you?” (cf. Gen 3:9).
Where are you, o man?
What have you come to?
In this place, this memorial of St. Patrick, we hear God’s question echo once more: “Ireland, where are you?”
This question is charged with all the sorrow of a Father who has lost his child.
The Father knew the risk of freedom; he knew that his children could be lost.
Yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss!
Here, before the boundless tragedy of another Holocaust, that cry – “Where are you?” – echoes like a faint voice in an unfathomable abyss.
Ireland, who are you?
I no longer recognize you.
Who are you, o man?
What have you become?
Of what horror have you been capable?
What made you fall to such depths?
Certainly, it is not the dust of the earth from which you were made.
The dust of the earth is something good, the work of my hands.
Certainly, it is not the breath of life which I breathed into you. That breath comes from me, and it is something good (cf. Gen 2:7).
No, this abyss is not merely the work of your own hands, your own heart.
Who corrupted you?
Who disfigured you?
Who led you to presume that you are the master of good and evil?
Who convinced you that you were god?
Not only did you make it legal end the life of your brothers and sisters in the womb, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god.
Today, in this place, we hear once more the voice of God: “Ireland, where are you?”
From the ground there rises up a soft cry:
“Have mercy on us, O Lord!”
To you, O Lord our God, belongs righteousness; but to us confusion of face and shame (cf. Bar 1:15).
A great evil has befallen us, such as never happened under the heavens (cf. Bar 2:2).
Now, Lord, hear our prayer, hear our plea, save us in your mercy. Save us from this horror.
Almighty Lord, a soul in anguish cries out to you.
Hear, Lord, and have mercy!
We have sinned against you.
You reign forever (cf. Bar 3:1-2).Remember us in your mercy.
Grant us the grace to be ashamed of what we men have done, to be ashamed of this massive idolatry, of having despised and destroyed our own flesh which you formed from the earth, to which you gave life with your own breath of life.
Never again, Lord, never again!
“Ireland, where are you?”
Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man, created in your own image and likeness, was capable of doing.
Each one of us should take a moment to place ourselves in the above remarks. Do not be afraid to even change the issue to another popular issue being tossed around in the court of public opinion. As people of goodwill, we should always be aware of the two greatest commandments: Love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul & Love your neighbor as yourself.