Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
William C. Dix
What Child Is This?
On the Friday before Christmas--the eve of Christmas eve--an infant was found in a Walmart restroom trash can in the town of New Roads, Louisiana. Kyandrea Thomas was arrested, and she faces charges of attempted second degree murder. Police say Thomas gave birth to the child in a Walmart bathroom and deposited the baby in a trash can.
A local district attorney believes Thomas is the same woman who pled guilty to negligent homicide in 2011 for the death of a three-year old who was left in a day-care center van for nearly six hours in "scorching heat."
In this Christmas season, it is hard not to compare the birth of a baby in a Walmart restroom to the birth of Christ more than two millennia ago. Surely a Walmart trash can is the modern day equivalent of a stable where ox and ass were feeding. Surely a child born in a Walmart restroom lies in mean estate equivalent to the manger of the Christ.
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Til he appeared and the soul felts its worth."
I embraced Catholicism more than 20 years ago. I was attracted by its beauty, its rigor, and the glorious witness of the saints. I see it now in simpler terms.
When all the bishops and priests, cathedrals and theological tomes are set aside, my Catholic faith is simply this: God entered the world in the form of a child and affirmed the dignity of humankind. That child is the Christ, who continues to be present to us in the sacraments.
Our politicians and pundits assure us we live in "the best of all possible worlds," a world of rising prosperity and increased devotion to human rights. After all, transgender people can urinate in the restroom of their choice. Isn't that a sign that the trajectory of secular humanism will bring us to the Promised Land?
Indeed, some us do live in a kind of ersatz Promised Land. The people who read the New York Times and buy the luxury goods the Times advertises may think they live in the best of all possible worlds.
But less than a week ago, an infant was found in a trash can in a small-town Walmart restroom. And this child, unlike Jesus, did not have Mary to nurse her, did not have Joseph to protect her and keep her safe.
Surely this is still a world where the soul does not yet feels its worth.
Newborn found in trash at New Roads Wal-Mart in stable condition Monday. The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, December 27, 2016, p. 1B.