Karina Fabian: “I Will Not Give Up on God’s Creation!”

First off, I want to congratulate Barry on his book, Your Guide to Spe Salvi: Saved in Hope. It’s an incredible gift to be able to take a theologically rich document like Spe Salvi and break it down to something the layman can contemplate and learn from. On behalf of those of us who need a little hand-holding in our Catholic spiritual education, thank you!

I must confess: I struggled to write this blog. I’d planned on talking about science fiction as a genre of hope, but this week, I’ve been watching some friends struggle with hope in their lives. One is in the process of watching her mother undergo a traumatic treatment regimen for cancer, while another is dealing with the issues of Nihilism and Christian Nihilism in the form of End Times philosophies. When it comes down to it, both are dealing with the same thing: hope.

My friend recently blogged about her mother’s decision to undergo cancer treatment, despite the slim chance of it extending her life beyond a few months. At the same time, she is preparing to leave this life. My friend wrote that even in illness, even in suffering, her mother was living–her mother was dying–with a certain grace and dignity. That dignity comes from hope–hope in something bigger than herself. Hope in something beyond this world. And yet, she is not ready to give up hope that there is something still for her in this world. Whether or not she had elected to take the cancer treatment, her hope sustains her through the illness and pain. It keeps her from merely giving up or taking the “easy way out,” through suicide or (as our society calls it) euthanasia.

Euthanasia, like the choice for abortion, is a statement against hope. As Catholics, as Christians, as God’s creatures, we should always make our choices toward hope.

Hope, however, is not always the easy choice. It can mean enduring trauma–whether a terminal illness, an unwanted pregnancy, or a world that seems to be slipping into moral or economic decline. It means standing firm and declaring, “I will not give up on God’s creation!”–and then working through the tough times, even when there seems to be no relief in sight, not just because we believe we can effect a better future, but because there’s something noble and grace-filled in the very act of living in hope.

Sadly, some parts of our society no longer believe that–or perhaps don’t want to believe it because of the implied effort and suffering. So instead, they take on the attitude that nothing matters in this world. You’d think that would be an unchristian view, but those my friend calls “Christian nihilists” believe nothing in this world matters because eventually, all the good believers will be called to heaven while the rest get seven years to get their act together or go to Hell. Either way, the message is that an individual life means nothing outside its own gratification, whether psychological or spiritual. That has led to what Catholics call the “culture of death.” A culture devoid of hope that can carry it through difficult times.

He, like so many others, believes this culture of death is taking over, and it’s eating away at his hope.

 Yet while there is much talk about the culture of death, there is even more action taken in hope. More often, rather, I see parents willing to sacrifice to raise their children in moral, loving homes full of hope for the future; people banding together to fight in the political, medical or scientific realms; or individuals choosing to live happy lives despite the trauma and chaos that comes their way.

I’ve seen friends stick through difficult marriages and find comfort. I watched one mother send her autistic son to a boarding school, terrified and clinging to hope that she’d done the right thing, and have him return a changed child, who started his own business that same year. And I see a friend who can find beauty in her mother’s struggle to die as she lived, as a woman of hope. On a larger scale, I see the workers who created the program for my friend’s child, and the researchers who have developed the chemotherapies that have improved the chances for those who suffer from cancer. And what of the scientists who developed the cure for polio, smallpox or other childhood diseases? Or Stephen Hawkins, who continues to use his brilliant mind to further our understanding of the universe even as his body fades?

This is the culture I believe in, the one that inspires me to write about a future where God and science have made life exciting and worthwhile. This is the culture that will take us to the future, a future I believe God hopes for us to live.

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2 Responses to “Karina Fabian: “I Will Not Give Up on God’s Creation!””

  1. Karina Fabian Says:

    A little addendum to my blog: Mary Ann Goetz died of cancer last week. She was at home, with all her children praying around her as she breathed her last. Most of them had been able to come a little earlier and care for her in her last days, an incredible gift.

    Please pray for her soul and for her family.

  2. Kim Richards Says:

    What a beautiful post! I’ve got to send some people over to read this.

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