Life is a Gift
As much as I believe in the basic goodness of people, I believe ALL life is a gift; a gift not just for ourselves but more importantly a gift to our families and a gift to the Earth itself. This belief is a process. Becoming Catholic has been a big part of my journey to becoming pro-life. Hearing Archbishop Murphy talk about the dignity of life still burns in my heart. “A basic human right is the right to life. When an abortion happens it denies the child the right to choose life.”
Later I had the opportunity to listen to a speech given by Mother Teresa of Calcutta (now Saint Mother Teresa) that she delivered at the National Prayer Breakfast. She owned that gathering with her words on life. “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion because Jesus said if you receive a little child you receive me. So Every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus; is the neglect of receiving Jesus. It is really a war against the child; a direct killing of an innocent child; murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother even can kill her own child how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
For me, abortion is not an option but pro-life does not end there. The lives of children who are born into poverty also have my heart. Whatever we can do for the least of these AFTER they are born is just as important. A big reason why a lot of my charitable giving goes to Catholic Relief Services; an organization that helps those most vulnerable with basic life necessities such as clean water, food, and vaccines.
We also cannot forget the elderly and the infirm. Having volunteered in a nursing home for 3 years I recognize how vulnerable this segment of the population is. Society has placed so much value on being able to physically contribute in order to feel worth that it almost seems more humane to end their misery as soon as the downhill of life starts happening. Is that the compassion they seek? I don’t think so. It would be worthwhile to take the time to walk the journey with them. Sometimes they just want to share their story; to reminisce and remember the good ole days. Some just want to feel the warmth of your hand or a loving hug. To me, that is what compassion looks like. Not always the easiest way for sure.
Then there are those a lot of my conservative friends want to forget; the incarcerated. Being pro-life means there is no death penalty. There are no “buts”. Those that are paying a debt to society for the crimes they committed also deserve to live until their natural death. Give them a big dose of love and mercy. Recognize they might have fallen in a hole and had no idea how to get out. They made choices in their life that we could not imagine but we haven’t walked in their shoes so we don’t know how we would have reacted under the same circumstances. Yes, they need to be separated from society so as to protect the general population but they should be able to live a dignified life that includes ways to contribute to society. To feel they are paying their debt in a meaningful way.
Let me end with a Mark Twain quote: “The two most important dates in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”. The finding out why might lead you to stand up for the unborn. Be the voice for the forgotten - whether it’s the forgotten in Haiti or the forgotten in the nursing home or the forgotten in prison; or maybe the forgotten living right next to you.