A Personal Post: The Resurrection of the Body: The Role of Stem Cells; How long do stem cells last?

The Apostle’s Creed is a most amazing of prayers. Many saints have spent years meditating on its words to truly grasp all its depth and meaning which are truly endless and eternal. 

If you have never read it or said it, it is worth the time to read it. 

APOSTLE’S CREED (used with the Holy Rosary) 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the
Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. 

He descended into hell;
the third day He arose again from the dead. 

He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the
Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. 

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of
sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. 

As you can see, for most, it requires a couple of leaps of faith. How could Jesus really rise from the dead? How can there be a resurrection of the body.  How could Mary really be a Virgin?

These are deeply profound mysteries and truly rich with spiritual meaning. 

Yet, my research on Stem Cells has led me to understand these words even more on the superficial medical realm as well. 

I do believe there is a “Being” who is all good and powerful and can do anything. If we loved us so much to create us, He would likely want to leave a piece of Himself so we can have Him in us daily tangibly in the Eucharist. If He wanted to make His blessed Mother a Virgin, He could do that. If He wants to be able to resurrect the body, He can do that. He can do everything. 

The field of stem cells has been very exciting for many years. Stem cells are in every living being but they also exist long after the person dies. I always wondered how did Lazarus medically come back to life? How did Jesus rise from the dead? Of course, God can do anything, but I always wondered how that would be medically even feasible? Or is it just God creating something from nothing?  

More and more research is showing that Stem Cells can last for days if not years for mice and humans. Some consider them immortal in the sense that stem cells self renew and can outlast a person’s life. If they are frozen, they can last even longer. 

Researchers are now, of course, trying to figure out how to control their proliferative capacity (the ability to multiply, and how and why stem cells die. 

Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a solemnity in the Catholic Church. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ’s physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity with a burning heart of Love which is truly manifested in His ability to turn a piece of bread into His flesh, His heart. This is a tough leap of faith for most. 

Yet personally, if one can make the leap of faith about how amazing stem cells are and the promise they hold not only in treating patients who are very sick now but potentially patients who have recently died (totally theoretical at this point but it scientifically has some merit), it seems logical to be able to accept the other leaps of faith inherent in the Apostle’s Creed particularly the message inherent in this wonderful feast day. 


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