Talking the Walk and the Culture of Life
In our region, we’ve recently wrapped up another 40 Days for Life campaign, where volunteers from all walks of life freely give of their time to stand together in prayerful opposition outside the hospital in our area that performs abortions. I’ve always tried to make it out for at least a few hours over the weeks, but this year, with so many little ones of my own at home, it didn’t seem like it was meant to be for our family this year.
This prompted me to start thinking about what it truly means to be pro-life. I’ve always worn that title proudly and been vocal amongst my family and friends about what I know to be the priceless value of all human life. I’ve realized, however, that for all my passionate discussions on the horrors of abortion, this is all my “pro-life action” consisted of: words.
Words are, of course, important. They are how we communicate with one another. It’s how we hear and read the Gospels and come to learn Sacred Scripture. Even Jesus, Himself, carries the title “The Word Made Flesh”! There cannot be more gravity placed on the importance of words than that!
But, goodness, there are so many WORDS out there these days, aren’t there? Advertising and social media bombard us all the time, joining with the voices of our friends and family, studies at school or work and yes, even competing with our well-intended and much-needed pro-life messages. If we are keen observers, we’ll notice that the world has become very efficient at tuning it all out. There is so much noise, there is no way we could be open to truly listening to each voice.
And so we become selective listeners, only allowing the words that fit our preferences, lifestyle and, what we believe to be, our “truths”. How can we be sure that our well-made pro-life points are not bouncing off hardened and inundated hearts and are, instead, reaching the masses beyond the pews?
This fall, when the opportunity to add my physical voice to the pro-life movement evaded me, I began to realize that my words, though necessary, are not enough. I was faced with my own inefficiency in propagating a pro-life culture by my lack of understanding and my lack of active compassion for those truly faced with life and death decisions.
If I’m going to say that women should not have abortions, then I need to support the establishment and upkeep of organizations that can effectively take care of them and their children.
If I’m going to speak about the injustice of a baby terminated within the womb, then I need to be prepared to open my heart and mind to the possibility of helping to raise them.
If I’m going to sign petitions and hold signs by the side of the road protesting a person’s “right to die” by means of euthanasia, then I need to be active in meeting the needs of the hospice movement.
I’ve realized that I have a long way to go in my own growth in the pro-life movement. Placed on the shoulders of a few, these actions can seem insurmountable in the face of a convenient culture of death.
Blessedly, I’ve seen the faces of the pro-life movement and we are anything but miniscule. Whether young or old, our many hearts beat together with vibrant and passionate life! There is hope – I have seen it in droves.
The challenge that I have issued myself, I now extend to my brothers and sisters in the movement, who yearn for the day that the right to life is once again an ingrained cornerstone of our society: Continue to talk the good talk, because every force needs to remember and remind others of its purpose.
But don’t forget to also look for ways to put our talk into action and walk the good walk, because the culture of life will remain just another sign for others to ignore on the side of the road, if we don’t encourage our movement to move!