January 20, 2019 - Pastor Message07/17/2019
“I came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
This Tuesday, January 22nd, is the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. As Catholics, we believe that laws exist to protect and promote the common good. It is hard to think of a good more worthy of legal protection than the fundamental, God-given right to life, without which we have no other rights, and, if we as a society fail to protect the right to life from its very beginning, we have no basis on which to argue for its protection later. Life ceases to be a right and instead is reduced to a mere privilege which other people have the right to grant or refuse depending on nothing other than whatever laws happen to be in effect at that given time in that given place.
Unfortunately, that is the situation we find our country in today, where taking the life of an unborn child is considered “healthcare” and the freedom to choose to do so is considered a “right”, where life doesn’t begin at the beginning and killing a child is considered to be in the child’s best interest, and where we require a parent’s permission for young girl to ride a different bus after school but do not even require that the parents be informed for the same girl to procure an abortion. It is as if our legal system has turned the natural order upside down, no longer founded on self-evident truths discernable by reason but on the fickle votes of legislators and the decisions of judges.
Since that is where our country is, and since the courts and legislatures are where this twisted situation is being legally enabled and perpetuated, we who uphold the right to life from conception to natural death must not neglect our duty to fight for that right in the courts and legislatures. But if that is the only place where we are waging this war, then we will always come up short. Changing unjust laws and overturning errant court decisions are necessary and important steps toward restoring the right to life in our country, but, if we fail in our more basic task as Christians to change people’s hearts, any victories we may obtain will be only minor and short-lived.
That is why it is so important that we pray for the protection of human life. In prayer, we raise our minds and hearts to God who will not fail to enlighten them with the fire of his love. It is in that love that he creates us, giving us natural life, and in that love that he redeems us, giving us eternal life. He unites us to Christ and sends us into the world to continue Christ’s saving mission to share that lifechanging love with others, winning them for God and transforming the world by that love, including legislatures and courts. The more we can do that, not only will our legal battle for life bear more fruit, but the attitudes behind our broken legal system, darkened by sin and fear, will be converted, leading even those who now oppose the right to life to the fullness of life. Let that be our prayer and our goal, this Tuesday and every day.
Fr. Marc Stockton