Each year, the U.S. Bishops set aside the month of October to honor all life. Being Pro-Life is definitely part of our Catholic identity. Although we face challenges from the perception that being pro-life means caring exclusively for unborn children, we can celebrate and spread the good news that we are called to love and care for all human beings from conception through natural death.
Made in the Image of God
Our commitment to valuing all lives dates back to the beginning — back in the day when the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the deep. In the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible, God created “mankind in his image.” And thus, the pro-life movement began.
Being made in the image of our Creator endows us with awesome dignity, and awesome responsibility. We have the ability to love!
The bad news
Despite the fact that we are made in God’s image, we are all prone to sin. Sin prevents us from entering into a good relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters. During the Second Vatican Council, the Bishops wrote:
In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception and of actively helping him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign laborer unjustly looked down upon, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, “As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me” (Matt. 25:40). (Gaudium et Spes, #27)
Here the Bishops remind us of the vast scope of our call to respect life – all life – in all times – in all circumstances. The bad news is that we have not always answered this call with a resounding YES. Sometimes we cave to the culture of death.
Employees and volunteers of Catholic Charities WV see the effects of the culture of death every day.
Hope for October and Beyond
We are people of the Resurrection, and we are charged with sharing the Gospel (literally good news) with all the world! We share the Gospel in both word and deed, both inside and outside our church buildings. Here are some suggestions from the U.S. Bishops:
Acts of Reparation:
- “Unplug” for some time this week praying in silence with a short reflection on the theme “Be Not Afraid.”
- Who in your life is facing challenging times? Consider how you can bring them Christ’s comforting presence, and choose one or two simple ways to do so in the next couple weeks.
- This month, spend an hour with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.
One Step Further:
In these challenging times when respect for life is so often disregarded, how do we build a culture that cherishes all human life? Read “How to Build a Culture of Life,” and share!