There’s a lot of talk about being pro-life right now. It’s almost like it’s trendy to be pro-life every time January comes around.
However, it’s a lot easier to jump on board with the trending topic on Twitter than it is to live out a controversial moral belief. So how do you live “pro-life”? How do you take the sentiments of January into February and beyond?
I looked to some really holy, and really pro-life people for the answer to that question and here’s what I found:
1. Love Above All
The God of the Gospels call us to be person-minded, not rule-minded. My heart hurt when I saw this photo on Buzzfeed:
We have to totally abolish the idea that someone who supports abortion, who’s thinking about an abortion, or who went through with an abortion is to be condemned as ignorant, immoral, or not as good as you. This one mistake does not define them, just as our mistakes don’t define each of us. “He who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7).
Any dialogue about abortion has to come from the heart because it’s a heart issue. It’s fear and panic and insecurity (or a lack of support or seeming lack of other options) that lead to an abortion and those feelings can only be dealt with in love and compassion.
“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. (…) The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.” – Pope Francis
Jesus taught that love is the most important characteristic for a Christian. He didn’t say “have faith, hope, and above all else — knowledge of the best pro-life argument.”
Be the kind of person that’s truthful but approachable because of your attitude of love.
“In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.” – Pope Francis
2. Be Pro-Your-Life
“Our body is a monstrance: through its crystal the world should see God”. – St. Gianna Molla
To be pro-life is to value all life, starting with the one closest to you – your own. How are you making Christ present to the world through your life? You’ve been given a gift that millions (well over fifty million, actually) have been denied. Use it wisely.
Christ said that He came so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). What does abundant life mean for you? I think it means living a sacramental life – getting the most out of Mass, Confession, and prayer. To be alive is to live as close to God as possible because all life comes from Him and is heading back toward Him.
When you are fully alive… fully pro-your-life… then you’re fully aware of the gift that life is. You can appreciate the ups and the downs, and the struggles and joys that make up the mosaic of a human life.
And in appreciating the gift of your life, you will be convicted that every life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, deserves to be protected so that they can experience everything life has to offer… So they can discover God’s plan to make them a saint.
“…a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.” – Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium, 213)
3. Peace Starts Inside You
To end the culture of death around us we have to end the culture of death in our minds.
We have to stop any thoughts that deny people (and ourselves) of the dignity that we all deserve. Those thoughts that you’re not good enough, that you deserve less than others, that you deserve pain… thoughts of hatred toward others and toward yourself… They have to end.
“There is no human life that is more sacred than another, as there is no human life that is qualitatively more significant than another.” – Pope Francis
Peace begins in your heart and from there extends into the pro-life movement. When you value rather than hate your life and the lives of the people around, you help dispel the fear that leads a woman to seek an abortion. When a pregnant woman knows that she won’t be condemned but be supported by the people around her, she’s so much more likely to look at her other options than to choose abortion.
You see… you, as a Catholic, are a representation of the whole Catholic Church and however you live out our beliefs helps make up the understanding that the world has of “those Catholics.” Let’s make sure the world knows we want heaven for every person. This begins with you being a trustworthy, peaceful person who loves yourself and every person you come in contact with.
“Things have a price and are saleable, but persons have a dignity, they are worth more than things and they have no price. Because of this, attention to human life in its totality has become in recent times a real and proper priority of the Magisterium of the Church…” – Pope Francis
4. Pray Harder, Especially Before You Speak
The worst way to accomplish something is to try to do it by yourself. Seriously, no good thing is ever done without God’s helping hand. He is the good in us. He is behind any good that’s accomplished in the world.
We can’t afford to lose our enthusiasm in praying for an end to abortion while lives are still hanging in the balance.
“Pray as if everything depends on God; work as if everything depends on you.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola
One very important time to remember to pray is before you talk or debate with someone about the morality and legality of abortion. We all know it’s a debate that can quickly get very heated and very ugly. But just because you’re not standing in D.C. and holding up a sign, doesn’t mean you can stop standing for life and holding up the light of truth.
And it will be difficult. You won’t be sure what to say – and that is okay, when the time comes the Spirit will give you the words if you’ve prayed (Luke 21:14). You will be ridiculed. You will be tired of the fight. You will wish it were January and everyone else was still acting pro-life. But…
“Love means to be willing to give until it hurts…” ― Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Is it love that motivates you? Is it prayer that carries you on — that holds you up when you want to give up? Then you must press on.
“Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for Life is already decided, even though the struggle goes on against great odds and with much suffering.” – Blessed John Paul the Great
You are important to the pro-life movement. There are babies in the womb counting on you all 12 months of the year.
And you know what I think is absolutely the best part? That when we get to heaven and God opens His arms to you, and says, “well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), there will be millions of souls of unborn children waiting to welcome you – their own personal warrior for life.