The thing I want
There are also sometimes advertisements that feature couples that had been suffering from childlessness, but who now - thanks to the people at Such-and-such Center - have acquired the very special thing they had always wanted.
Both of the couples in today’s readings (Judges 13:2-7,24-25a and Luke 1:5-25) also suffer from childlessness. In some ways their suffering was even worse, for in that time and place childlessness was one of the worst stigmas imaginable.
But there are worse things than childlessness.
Indeed, whether it is childlessness or some other life problem (real or perceived), instead of seeking to understand God’s will for their lives, too many people are willing to cross any line to obtain what they want.
It is sometimes a very slippery slope: for example, what begins as compassionate medical care for childless couples leads so easily to demands for “selective reduction” (abortion) or to the manufacture of human embryos (who can be locked away in a freezer pack for future use).
This is not a situation only for childless couples: in different ways we are ALL tempted to bend rules, rationalize, go along, or “do what we have to do” to gain or hold onto a thing that we feel or think is “good.”
Sometimes, like Zechariah in today’s Gospel, we may even question God’s message (especially when it clashes with “conventional” wisdom).
As a society, we have seen where these temptations lead: an increasingly slippery slope into moral chaos and the degradation of human life.
As individuals too we have seen where personal moral shortcuts leave us.
It is good to be happy and to do things that improve our lives. Whether our problem is childlessness or something else, we (as individuals, couples and as societies) should pursue every objectively moral approach available.
First and foremost, however, we should always be trying to discern God’s will: not to do things because we “can” but to do only those things God wants us to do.
If we seek happiness and fulfillment apart from God, sooner or later we will find ourselves empty and frustrated.
We cannot get true or lasting happiness from any thing or any person, but only from the grace of God, who is infinite and eternal love.
We may want many things, but God is the One that we need.