Chelsea Zimmerman
Thursday, July 15, 2010
By Father Mark Mary

This past week we had Chelsea Zimmerman on Life on the Rock speaking about the sanctity of human life. Chelsea is paralyzed from the chest down from a car accident when she was 17. Today, 11 years later, she works for her parents and finds time to blog on a number of pro-life issues.

I was deeply impressed by her positive attitude and her moving forward with life despite her disability. Her life after the accident entails some harsh realities and limitations, yet Chelsea focused on what she was still able to do. She made decisions about what was important to her and what was going to be the focus of her life. One of those decisions was to be close to God, and to try to order her life to God.

She was drawn to the message of St. Therese and her doctrine of spiritual childhood in dealing with weakness and suffering. St. Therese once said that, The goal of all our undertakings should not be a task perfectly completed, but the accomplishment of the will of God. Sometimes we focus on what we do not have in terms of gifts and abilities instead of focusing on Gods will in our lives. Childlike faith is to accept all things from the hands of the Father. As St. Therese once said, Now, little children do not know what is best. Everything is right in their eyes.

We all are tempted to rebel at the suffering God allows in our lives. In and of itself, suffering is an evil. Ultimately it is the result of the disobedience of Satan, and Adam and Eve. But through the incarnation and the paschal mystery of Christ (His suffering, death and resurrection), God has redeemed suffering. He does not take it away or remove the pain of it. But He has made it redemptive through the cross of Christ. By faith, we can unite our cross with His, and, through the cross, we have a new likeness to Christ who suffered for us. He draws close to us in the midst of our sufferings.

Suffering reminds us that we are creatures and are totally dependent on God. Although we do not seek out suffering in itself and we try to remedy it, it is ridiculous to think that we can go through life without it. We could say that just the acceptance of human weakness is an occasion to depend on God. If we are always to trying escape or change some limitation Because it just has to be different! It has to be my way!, we might just stay frustrated either because we cannot change it or because we need Gods help to change it, and we are trying to do it ourselves.

For our modern, self- reliant culture, this seems to be at the heart of our growth in holiness: totally depending on God. It is not passivity. Instead, we are seeking His will above all things and doing what He wants us to do. When we do this, God uses our weakness to reveal his glory. In the words of our Lord to St. Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Oftentimes, our world devalues a life that is filled with suffering. Decisions are made to directly take innocent life because of some illness or suffering. No doubt that the temptation to despair can be great to give up on life, and, certainly, we seek to alleviate all suffering, but suffering does not devalue the dignity and intrinsic value of a persons life.

The life issues that Chelsea often writes about on her blog are at the heart of the Gospel. The Gospel teaches us that mans dignity is that he has his origin and his destiny in God. Jesus suffered and died for each one of us; may we recognize our own worth in the eyes of God.

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