Monday, August 20, 2007

From Monasic Musings: The Dialogue of the Mother and the Zygote

The a wonderful brief essay by Sr Edith OSB, a Benedictine nun and sociologist at the College of St Scholastica in Minnesota. Sister offers a summary on a recent Roman Catholic document on the journey of the human egg from fertilization to implantation. She writes:

When I took human genetics in the 1970s, we heard general, mechanical sounding statements: "The fertilized egg continues down the Fallopian tube and implants." It sounds like an assembly line carrying an inert lump, the zygote, into place. The reality I was reading last night was MUCH different!

The report is written for lay people, not scientists - but it assumes the reader is willing to pay attention and follow along. The sperm don't just stumble upon the egg - there are receptors and chemicals that help them find it. It doesn't just crash into the egg like a torpedo: there's a sequence of chemical exchanges that open the door of the egg to one sperm and, just as quickly, firmly close it to all others.

Her conclusion is very encouraging and one that I wish more Orthodox Christians would embrace as the emblem for how the relationship between their own work and spiritual lives. Again Sr Edith:

I came across this as part of my reading for a short Catholic Bioethics Seminar online - but I'm finding that the beauty and detail of the science makes it spiritual reading.
To read the report her essay is based on click here: The Human Embryo in its Preimplantation Phase. To read her whole essay, and the other wonderful things on her blog, click here: The Dialogue of the Mother and the Zygote.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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