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Respect Life October 2021

Each year during the month of October the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life month. Life is always precious from the moment of conception till natural death. We need to respect life and promote the dignity of all life throughout the year. October is a time when we focus and concentrate those efforts.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 begins, “There is an appointed time for everything.” Ecclesiastes 3:2 goes on to say, “A time to give birth, and a time to die.” While God has given us dominion over the whole earth (Genesis 1:26), it is not for us to make the final decision of when a person is born or dies. That is for God.

I have written a number of pro-life articles here on my blog. One that I feel is particularly important in our increasing secular world is “Biology Makes Me Pro-Life.” In this article I provide a scientific explanation for why life begins at conception.

On my website, you can find a series of four webinar videos I did last spring in a series called, Treating Life with Dignity and Love. In this series, I presented various aspects of Catholic Pro-Life teaching not just on abortion and euthanasia but throughout all stages of life.

In discussing Catholic Pro-Life teaching, we are called to be people of compassion. The reality is that some people have committed sins against life. Our words to them must include mercy. Why? Because Jesus tells us, “Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). (See my website articles on mercy at http://www.renewaloffaith.org/be-merciful.html.)

If we truly want to be “pro-life”, our acts of mercy must begin by helping people in their needs before they commit sins against life. We help them choose life by helping them in their needs (This is discussed throughout my series, Treating Life with Dignity and Love).

If we truly want to be “pro-life”, we also need to pray. Today I would like to specifically discuss praying for courage and perseverance.

First and foremost, we should pray for those who might be considering having an abortion or to end their life out of fear. For those considering euthanasia, it might be fear of suffering, especially if they feel alone. For those considering abortion, it might be fear of shame at being pregnant or fear that they will not be able to take care of the child.

Who else might we pray for? We should pray for our clergy to have the courage needed to speak in favor of life as they preach and teach. Our New York State bishops just showed courage in writing to our U.S. senators against proposed federal legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade. (You can read about this in an article, “NY bishops oppose federal bill to codify ‘Roe v. Wade’” from the Catholic Courier. You can read the letter itself at https://www.nyscatholic.org/bishops_letter_on_federal_abortion_bill/). We pray for their perseverance in doing so as it would be easy to feel their efforts are not effective and give up. Remember, nothing is impossible for God.

We also need to pray for pro-life politicians to have the courage and perseverance they need to continue to argue for legislation that promotes life. We also pray for each and every person who values the dignity of all life to have the courage and perseverance to continue to promote life. It is easy to get discouraged, at least I know I get discouraged. When we feel like giving up, we ask God to rekindle the fire within us.

One might wonder what one person can possibly do to help. I offer two possibilities. The first is to commit to doing acts of mercy. It can be as simple as making a donation to a crisis pregnancy center. These centers help people provide for the needs of their children in the womb and with items like diapers after both. The second is to promote government action in favor of life. If you live in New York State, you can do this on a state level by going to https://www.nyscatholic.org/action-center/ and responding to the action alerts. This is a website run by the New York State Catholic Conference. You can also do this on a federal level through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at https://votervoice.net/USCCB/home.

Please pray, pray that all life is respected with the dignity is given by God. Pray that we all do what God asks of us to promote life.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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