“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4
As we approach the 45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I thought it appropriate to post a piece my friend, Mathilde Mellon wrote. Mathilde runs a non-profit called Mulier Care. She is on the front lines helping abortion minded women choose life by caring for them and their child.
By: Mathilde Mellon
We were in the car on the way back from a client’s house. My son was eight years old. We had been in the client’s house for about an hour having tea and I had helped assemble a crib and teach the young girl to swaddle her child.
He was very quiet. We drove for a ways, as we were quite a distance from our house. Finally, he asked: “How does an 11 year old girl get pregnant when she is not married?” And so it began. This is how it is on the front lines of the pro-life movement.
How did we get here, and what do we do if we are not on the front lines?
We, as parents, teachers, Catechists, pastors, and responsible Catholics, have a responsibility to begin the conversation about the sanctity of life and the dignity of women at the very moment we speak to young people about morality and sexuality. The decline in the morality of our young people and of the use of contraception, of pornography and ultimately of abortion is precisely due to the breakdown of the family and of the lack of clear communication about sanctity of life. What role do we play?
Respect for life begins at home. The first life we need to respect is the life of Christ. How do we do that? We go to Mass. Not attending Mass draws us further away from Christ and weakens our relationship with God. It communicates to our children that the celebration of the Eucharist in unimportant and no longer needs to be the center of our lives. Not attending Mass cheapens the sacrifice God made for us, and demonstrates a lack of respect for the life of Christ. Pope Francis recently reminded Christians that we go to Mass on Sunday to meet the resurrected Lord – or better still – “to let ourselves be welcomed by Him, to hear His word, eat at His table, and by his grace fulfill our mission as members of the Mystical Body of the Church.” As part of the Mystical Body of Christ, we are bound by love to respect life. Respect life. Respect Christ on earth.
We should respect our own lives. Overindulging in alcohol, food, unhealthy living and those habits which are contrary to Christian values demonstrates a lack of respect for our own bodies and for our lives in general. The example we set for our children is one they will imitate for the rest of their lives. The respect we give ourselves should mimic the love that Christ has for us. If our children do not see us reflect the love of Christ in our actions toward ourselves, they will not learn the love that Christ has for them. Respect life. Respect our own life.
We need to respect the family unit. We draw away from this family as we give more time to distraction. When we allow technology, social media, outside influences and other distractions to draw us away from the family, we break up the life of the family. Is it any surprise that our families suffer from high rates of adultery and divorce? Saint John Paul II outlines in his Evangelium Vitae: “The family has a special role to play throughout the life of its members, from birth to death. It is truly the ‘sanctuary of life: the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth.’ Consequently the role of the family in building a culture of life is decisive and irreplaceable.” Respect life. Respect the family unit.
We need to respect our clergy. We have become a judgmental flock. Sometimes we are critical of our Pontiff and of our good shepherds. Instead of praying for our priests, we pick apart their shortcomings and focus on their actions instead of their ability to bring Christ’s love to us. We should encourage, support, and love our spiritual leaders. They have given their lives for the Church and are working to save our souls. They are human and deserve our respect. As Paul wrote, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” (2 Thes 3:1-2) Respect life. Respect our Church leaders.
We must respect each other. Our Catechism says: “Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that ‘everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity. No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a ‘neighbor,’ a brother.” We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ with Jesus as the head. Should we cut off a member of this Body? Should we treat one part of this Body with disrespect? Respect life. Respect the lives of others.
We must not be silent on the issues of life. We must be vocal in our homes, in our schools and in our churches. Again, Saint John Paul II tells us that the “Service of the Gospel of life is thus an immense and complex task…no single person or group has a monopoly on the defense and promotion of life.”
We are all called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, to the gift of self and the acceptance of others, to parenthood or to the family, to every interpersonal relationship and to the community of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are asked to recognize the dignity of the personhood and the dignity of human life, and to labor to that defense and to the proclamation of the gospel of life. As Saint John Paul II so poignantly states in Mulieris Dignitatem, as part of the Church, we “assume a common responsibility for the destiny of humanity.” Respect life. Proclaim the respect for life.
If you would like to make a donation to Mulier Care you can visit their website at http://www.muliercare.org/