“Dear families, rejoice in fatherhood and motherhood! Openness to life is a sign of openness to the future, confidence in the future, just as respect for the natural moral law frees people, rather than demeaning them! The good of the family is also the good of the Church.” -Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, June 5, 2011
As we journey deeper into the month of October, Respect Life Month, my family awaits the arrival of another miracle of life: Julia Rose. I find myself thinking about “life” as time draws near to meet my third daughter – I have embraced this exercise as I anticipated meeting all of my children.
Some of my reflection has focused on what will this world be like for Julia. Will she grow up in a world that reflects a culture of death or a world that brings forth a culture of life? Will she encounter a civilization of selfishness and a perverse understanding of freedom or a civilization of love, selfless love for the sake of the other? Will she witness a disdain for life, especially for the most vulnerable and innocent, or will she see the witness of those who have an “openness to life” and therefore an “openness to the future, confidence in the future?”
It seems to me, as I continue to be blessed to serve the Lord through my work in the Church, that so many people are unaware what or who they are created for. They lack an identity. Pope Benedict XVI, in his “Message for World Youth Day (2011), sums up our purpose, “Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. … The desire for a more meaningful life is a sign that God created us and that we bear His ‘imprint.’ God is life, and that is why every creature reaches out towards life. Because human beings are made in the image of God, we do this in a unique and special way. We reach out for love, joy and peace.”
There are too many lost souls who do not know their true identity and this lack of knowledge leads to so much of the pain, suffering and misguided attempts at happiness seen in our world today. Respect Life Month gives us an opportunity to refocus and become reenergized as Catholics so we can help the people who cross our paths to come to know their value — to come to know that the Creator of all is loving them into existence each and every moment of their lives. This “education,” rather, this epiphany will help them to grow in respect of all life, to bring forth a culture of life, to embrace a civilization of love and be witnesses to the openness to life.
This is the world that I pray my Julia Rose will grow up in during the years ahead. I pray that God will give me the grace to be an instrument in His hands to help build that world.