Archive for the ‘Pro Life’ Category

Respect Life Sunday

October 4, 2010

The first Sunday of October has been chosen by the bishops of our country as a day in which we honor, in a special way, the gift of human life.  This Sunday has designated “Respect Life Sunday.”  This Sunday, in a particular way, we are asked to reflect upon the gift of human life and the need to respect human life from its beginnings at conception to its natural end.

Every human life has immense dignity and there is a twofold reason for this dignity.  First, each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God.  All of creation reflects God’s glory; yet in the Book of Genesis we learn that man, alone, is created in God’s own image and likeness.  We have an inherent dignity based on the fact that we, alone are created in God’s image and likeness.

Second, human dignity is based on the end for which every human being was created.  Every single human being was created to know, to love and to serve God in this world and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.  We were created for union with God.  God desires the salvation of all.  Not all are saved, but all were created by God for Heaven.  God created each person with a free will and He will not take that free will away from us, even if we use that free will to our own destruction.

Even if not all go to Heaven, it is still true that every single human being was made for union with God in Heaven.  Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it in abundance.  We can have a foretaste of that abundant life to which Jesus referred to some degree in this world, but the fullness of life of which Jesus spoke, will only be realized when we share in the fullness of divine life that those who follow the Lord faithfully in this life [and die in the state of grace] will experience in the Kingdom of Heaven.

We respect human life because every human being was created in the image and likeness of God and because every human being was created to be with God forever in Heaven.  All attacks on the dignity of human life are grave offenses against God Who IS the source of all life.  We have an obligation to protect life from conception to natural death.

Our previous Holy Father Pope John Paul II appropriately referred to the culture in which we live as the culture of death.  Unfortunately, our culture has very little respect for human life.  Ever since the widespread rejection of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae Vitae, followed by the widespread acceptance of contraception the culture has plummeted to ever increasing depths of moral decay, as the Holy Father predicted it would if contraception was embraced.  If you encounter Catholics, or others, who do not agree with the Church’s Teaching on contraception, or other life issues, encourage them to learn about why the Church teaches what she teaches before rejecting it out of hand.  Dr. Janet Smith (a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and well known pro-life speaker) once commented that many of the people that she has encountered who think that the Church is wrong on the life issues have not taken the time to read the documents and find out why the Church teaches what she does on the subject.  Dr. Smith has said that many times people think the Church is wrong based on things that they have heard in the media: of course the media thinks the Church is wrong, the media helped promote the culture of death in the first place and the media continues to promote the culture of death.  The moral decadency of our culture is proof that the Church is right on what she Teaches.  There was not a need for a “Respect Life Sunday” fifty years ago.  Once contraception gained general acceptance, human life quickly began to be viewed as something undesirable, as a burden, as an obstacle to the pursuit of pleasure and material wealth.  That attitude opened the way for abortion, and abortion has plagued our country for decades now and has destroyed millions of innocent lives.

In many ways the moral picture of our society looks bleak: yet we must never allow ourselves to fall into despair.  The same Pope that coined the term “the culture of death” told people again and again: “Do not be afraid.”  We know that Christ has won the ultimate victory.  All of our trust and all of our hope is in Him, yet we, too are called to bear our part.  We are called to be His faithful witnesses in the world.  We are called to defend the Church’s Teaching whenever it is challenged; we are called to do all that is in our power to promote a culture of life.  We are called to pray and to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.  And if you really want to change the world: become a Saint.  Jesus sent just a few Apostles out into a largely pagan world; by their faithfulness to Christ, even in the midst of great opposition and sufferings, their message has gone out to the ends of the earth.  Let us pray for the new springtime that John Paul II spoke about; let us pray that God will again send forth His Spirit and renew the face of the earth.  Amen.