With Pro-Life Week and the anniversary of Roe V Wade behind us, some food for thought:
Each year during National Pro-Life Awareness Week, the majority of our focus is on abortion and the rights of the unborn. The week itself is scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision and the annual March for Life offers pro-life advocates the opportunity to speak for the unborn.
Protecting the rights of the unborn and putting an end to abortion are worthy of our time and attention. It is a critical pro-life issue.
That being said, it is important to understand that being pro-life goes beyond this one issue.
Consider this reflection from the USCCB pro-life novena: At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love. The presence of an illness, disability, or other challenging circumstance never diminishes the value of a human life. For God does not call us to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love. Christ invites us to embrace the lives we have been given, for as long as they are given, as true gifts.
Our relationships on this earth are meant to help us grow in God’s perfect love. Everyone we encounter is a gift, not because of what they can do or accomplish, but because of who they are—a beloved child of God. May each of us experience the power of God’s transforming love, that our eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of the people the Lord places in our lives.
To be pro-life as defined by our faith means that we respect and give dignity to every human life. We embrace the truth that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Each and every life is a gift. Each and every life has value.
Given that perspective, we understand that pro-life issues are all around us. We face not only legislative battles surrounding abortion, the death penalty, immigration, and euthanasia; but also societal battles such as homelessness, poverty, crime, care for the elderly, and much more. Again, each and every life is a gift; each and every life has value.
We are not pro-life if we assign more value to some lives than others, or if we offer varying degrees of dignity to our fellow man.
Often in the Prayers of the Faithful we present at Mass, we pray for the courage to be the voice for the voiceless and to answer the call to care for others – and love others – in need. That is our responsibility as Christians.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for the precious gift of life. Help us to cherish and protect this gift, even in the midst of fear, pain, and suffering. Give us love for all people, especially the most vulnerable, and help us bear witness to the truth that every life is worth living. Grant us the humility to accept help when we are in need, and teach us to be merciful to all. Through our words and actions, may others encounter the outstretched hands of Your mercy. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.