While I have always been Pro-Life, for too much of my life, it was mostly a “private matter” that I only really discussed with just a few family members and friends. As we begin October and Respect Life Month, it is an opportunity for me, and you, to reflect more on our Pro-Life view, and even better, take a more active role in respecting life.
The USCCB committee on Pro-Life Activities, chaired by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has designated this year’s theme as “Moved by Mercy.” It has its roots in the words Pope Francis spoke when he announce the Jubilee Year of Mercy. “We are called to show mercy because mercy has been shown to us.” Cardinal Dolan’s message is clear, all human life must be “cherished and protected.”
For me, Pro-Life begins with abortion. While listening to a program on The Catholic Channel on Satellite Radio this past week, a caller made a comment that stunned me. He said on average there are as many abortions performed every day as was killed on 9/11. A quick internet search confirmed those numbers. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.21 million abortions performed in the United States in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available. This amounts to 3,322 abortions per day. Reflect and pray about that! And especially pray for those suffering because of abortion and encourage them to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat.
Being Pro-Life is more than just about abortion. In recent years, capital punishment has been in the news because of the State’s actions. Not that long ago, I would have quickly and readily told you I was a supporter of capital punishment. But then, as I reflected on the mercy that God has shown me, and on the words in the Our Father, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” God managed to soften my heart, I really did have to change my stance to one with more forgiveness, and mercy.
And just a couple weeks ago, we get the headline about the First Belgian Minor “Euthanized”. Is this really the world we live in? Unfortunately it is. We can sit back, shaking our heads in disbelief, expecting God to take care of it. But maybe, it is God asking us to take the first step, waiting for us to truly Respect Life.