October Focuses On Sanctity Of Life
October will soon be upon us, and it is in October that we focus our gaze upon the sanctity of life. It is so broad a topic. Where should we look? Initially, we admit to ourselves that we are each created as worthy of love and respect. From whom, you ask? Well, from everyone. Why, you ask? Because we are created in the image and likeness of God.
Merriam-Webster defines an image as “a reproduction of the form of a person or thing,” and it defines likeness as “a copy, portrait or semblance of something.” Therefore, just as we resemble the members of our biological families through similar physical features, so too do we resemble God. Just as we remind others of our family members, so too do we remind others of God. More so, we should, as Christians, remind others especially of Christ. So, when we (you and I as Christians) encounter another (whoever they may be), then the other should be reminded of Christ through that encounter and emboldened to enter into that same encounter with Christ again and again.
Once we understand this foundation – that our lives have meaning, worth, and purpose – then we can transfer that understanding beyond ourselves to others. Once we understand that all lives have meaning, worth and purpose, we allow ourselves to step down from our seats of judgment and see others through the eyes of God.
Reflecting on the myriad of issues that fall under the umbrella of respecting life can be somewhat mindboggling, but here are just a few topics: Artificial contraception, natural fertility awareness, abortion, care for those who are disabled, human trafficking, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, substance), responsible citizenship, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, the death penalty, human integrity … the list goes on.
Once we realize that we are called to stand for all lives, even those who we can only stand beside through the grace and power of Jesus Christ, then we may glimpse ever so slightly the ultimate plan of God, not only for humanity but for each of us. We are called to cry out in the desert in prophetic voice and action in the names of those who cannot do so for themselves.
There are many organizations whose primary goal it is to help those most in need while asking in return only that God provide them their daily bread. The Pregnancy Care Center in Washington, Ind., is one such organization. The PCC collaborates with several Catholic parishes in the area (among other organizations and groups) and is worth a look (www.washingtonpregnancycenter.com).
We are called to holy and sacred action in this life, and the question is, simply put, how will we respond? If you are interested in working with life issues within the diocese of Evansville, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Diocese of Evansville will hold its annual Respect Life Celebration on Oct. 4 at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Haubstadt. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. CDT and will conclude by 8:15 p.m. CDT. A panel consisting of Sts. Peter and Paul Pastor Father Tony Ernst, Dr. Bill Blanke, and Laura and Brendan McKenzie will discuss how Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” has impacted their lives respectively as a priest, physician and married couple living in the Church today. Afterward, Bishop Joseph Siegel will discuss how we might take “Humanae Vitae” into the future. See you there.
Girten is Coordinator of Family and Life Services for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville.