“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them!” (Psalm 127: 4-5)
The psalmist here extols the gift of family life. The blessing of children in a family is a sign of God’s creative power which is meant to effect society and extend its’ reach through a lineage of fruitfulness. I have been blessed by God with a full quiver of five children. However, in our society this is more commonly referred to as a full plate or just plain crazy! While the crazy claim isn’t too far off, I must say that our family’s life can be better described as full, spontaneous, and fun. Being sure not to look too much through rose colored glasses, I’ll admit that life with a family our size is also extremely challenging…it has stretched me further than I thought possible.
These arrows, as the Psalmist calls them, are instruments of battle in God’s plan to take back his world. Through every parent’s faithfulness and our children’s response to God’s call, they can become precision weapons which pierce the hearts of those they encounter when they pour themselves out for their neighbor just as blood gushed from the side of Christ. These arrows also represent projectiles which shoot true and place combat effective wounds on the enemy as these instruments of God grow into mature Christians.
Sticking with this analogy, I wanted to draw special attention to a unique weapon in my arsenal…Dominic.
Dominic just turned 6 years old, which in our family was a great cause for thanksgiving and celebration. Dominic was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder called Genitopatellar Syndrome. This syndrome effected most of his systems and in the world’s eyes has rendered him operationally ineffective. However, in God’s eyes, Dominic could not be more alive and ready for battle.
I would say that in my quiver Dominic represents a more modern weapon system that is needed in our day and age…an assault rifle. I have him slung tightly, ready to engage the enemy and send rounds downrange for anyone whose heart is softened by God’s call. Dominic has a unique ability to engage numerous targets with his high capacity magazine of smiles and with the proliferation of the internet his maximum effective range extends across the world through the sharing of his story.
Recently another one of God’s soldiers, Charlie Gard, has captured the world’s attention and brought to light fundamental questions that parents of children with special needs face on a daily basis. The discussion that his story has created boils down to this: who gets to determine the value of special needs children like Charlie and Dominic…their parents and God or a so called “Court of Human Rights”?
Parents of children with special needs are often faced with this dilemma whether to allow their kids to press on in their mission despite their corporal wounds, or determine if God is calling them home. For this decision, only parents have legitimate authority, not a governmental entity that will quickly try and eclipse God in the name of efficiency. If properly ordered, parents take on these decisions by placing them into the hands of God who answers us through reason, prayer and communion with others.
“This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency. A person who, because of illness, handicap or, more simply, just by existing, compromises the well-being or life-style of those who are more favoured tends to be looked upon as an enemy to be resisted or eliminated.” (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae)
“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)