Today I am posting something that is not like my usual posts, but is still important for all marriages! Earlier this week was the anniversary of the court decision Roe v Wade (January 22, 1973), making abortion legal in the United States. Every year on the anniversary of this decision hundred’s of thousands of people across America make a pilgrimage to Washington DC to stand for the unborn in the March for Life. Why is this event so important? And why do so many attend? To remind the lawmakers and citizen’s of this country that in every abortion a life is lost and a woman is wounded instead of liberated.
Since Roe v Wade over 58 million children have been killed inside their mother’s womb (a place that should be safe and protected) and millions of women are suffering carrying around the burden of knowing their child’s life was ended in violence. And the men that would have been fathers are carrying guilt and loss as well. This decision was a land mark decision; one that changed the fabric of America, making it’s citizens more violent, selfish, and passive. Some people would say it was a liberation for women and women’s rights but in actuality it has destroyed America and the structure of the family, all in the name of convenience.
In 1973 when Roe v Wade was passed we, as a nation might have been able to claim ignorance because of lack of technology saying, “It is not a baby, it is only a clump of cells.” But TODAY science and technology prove that those “clumps of cells” in a woman’s uterus IS A BABY that is alive with a beating heart, hands, fingers, toes, and a nervous system that feels pain. We can no longer be ignorant! TODAY we can no longer sit on the sidelines and say, “This is controversial.” or “This is an individual decision.” TODAY we must decide if we choose LIFE or DEATH! It is that simple! TODAY we can love WOMEN & save the UNBORN! We can CHOOSE both!
As members of the body of Christ we must remind ourselves of the sanctity and dignity of all human life. From beginning to natural end, life always has value. We must remind ourselves that if we do not fight for the unborn and the value of life, who will? What issue in this life is more important than the sanctity of life? When we meet our maker, will we say we fought for convenience or that we fought for life? The world would have us believe that life is a grey line. Its beginning is grey, resulting in acceptance of birth control and abortion. Its ending is also grey, resulting in euthanasia and abandonment of the elderly. It takes courage to stand up for life and it takes courage for a woman to choose life for her baby instead of convenience.
The pro-choice advocates would say we want to force women into motherhood and that is so not true. Adoption is a loving option for all women who are not wanting or ready to be mothers. There are couples waiting for years and spending thousands of dollars to adopt children from all around the globe when we are killing children that would be loved right here in America. A home can be found for all new babies (here and abroad) and there are many organizations dedicated to helping a woman carry her baby to term so that adoption is a viable option.
We as the body of Christ must stand up against the grey definition of life that the world wants us to accept. Neither the beginning nor end of life is grey. Both are black and white. Abortion is wrong because it puts the authority of life into a man’s (man or woman) hands instead of God’s. Euthanasia and abandoning the elderly is also wrong, as only God should decide when someone’s life is complete. Life is not about convenience or eliminating suffering. Life is about celebrating a Christ who would die for us, binding our suffering to His, and serving mankind as Christ would have us do. As married couples in the church our life is about welcoming, preserving and celebrating life.
This year thousands of pilgrims made the trip to Washington DC (even with the treat of very bad weather) only to become stranded by weather on their journey home. You might have seen the inspirational picture of the pilgrims stranded on the side of the road for hours choosing to celebrate mass in the cold using an alter made of snow. This picture and story touched me greatly and reminded me that there is hope for this nation to once again be a nation that protects the unborn.
I want to teach my children that life is more important than convenience and even in the most horrible of circumstances all life matters. But what can we do as a family or married couple to help raise children that are pro-life and willing to be unwavering in the truth that even the smallest of lives matter more than the inconvenience they might cause.
As parents, it is our job to educate our children about many things. We teach them why they should not touch a hot stove, why we should look both ways when crossing the street and we teach them right and wrong. Respecting Life means teaching our children to respect life. It is right to teach them to respect all of life, and it is wrong to not teach them. It is also wrong to teach them that being passive about life issues is ok.
So, how do we teach our children to respect life? First, we must teach ourselves so that we know black and white and not grey. Second, we must recognize that much of the world does not share the black and white reality of respecting life. It is our job to help our children navigate the issues of life. So we must teach by example and be clear about this issue. Here are some suggestions on how to be a person and family that respects life:
- Educate yourself and your family on the cycle of life and how a baby develops in its mother’s womb. This can be done at any age.
- When you or someone you know are pregnant use it as a teaching opportunity. Refer to the baby as a baby, not a fetus or tissue. Avoid using the term “it” when referring to the baby in utero. You can also share how the baby is developing with young children and allow them to hear the heart beat or view the ultra-sound. IN OUR HOME: For all of our pregnancies we learned the sex of our baby and named our baby on that day; so for 20 weeks we could call our babies in womb by their name, humanizing them in the womb.
- Have a special candle you light in your home that is the Respect Life candle; you can light it together and say a prayer for life.
- Wear the tiny baby feet proudly. IN OUR HOME: I remember my mother wearing the tiny baby feet when I was younger. I asked her about them many times and I remember her telling me that she wore them because all babies are precious in God’s eyes.
- Educate our children about the beginning of life and abortion; teach them why abortion is wrong, so that they might not be swayed by the world. Some people avoid this topic with their children sighting they are too young. Remember the world will teach them the worldly version and if we are not educating the truth at home along the way, our children will be more easily swayed by the world. IN OUR HOME: At a young age our children know abortion is wrong. We pray for all pregnant mothers and for an end to abortion every day. They know early on it is wrong although they won’t know the details of abortion until they are older. As they grow up we share more about the details of abortion. By the time they are entering High School our children will know how abortions are performed.
- Teach the virtue of chastity to your teenagers and practice chastity in your marriage. Chastity is practicing abstinence prior to marriage out of respect for God and your future spouse. Within marriage chastity is honoring and respecting our spouse and avoiding immoral actions (pornography, adultery, etc) that would violate the marital union.
- Avoid birth control and be open to life and the blessing of children.
- Strive to only support companies and organizations that also respect life. IN OUR HOME: There are companies and products that we avoid because profits from their purchases would support pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. My boys know and have known from a very early age why we avoid those products and companies and why we are partial to others.
- Participate in Life Chains, Rosaries for Life, March for Life and other organized events. IN OUR HOME: For several years our family has participated in a Life Chain where we join other families gathered and stretched across town to show our support for LIFE, holding signs supporting life and peacefully praying and singing. Our children join us and are proud to do so.
- Be active politically; write to senators, congressmen and presidents voicing your pro-life issues/concerns. With technology this has become very easy to do. IN OUR HOME: It was a few years ago when my neighbour reminded me that part of our civic duty is to let our representatives know how we want to be represented at the state level and the national level.
- Vote for Pro-Life candidates in the elections. This upcoming Presidential election will have a great impact on Pro-Life legislation.
- Volunteer for a pro-life ministry in your church or community.
- Support adoption as the loving alternative to parenting for those that are not ready to parent.
- Speak kindly about large families. The average size of the American family has become smaller and smaller over the years. Large families are the exception and are often judged for choosing life and welcoming large numbers of children. Have you over heard someone say or said yourself “Oh my, isn’t that their 5th child?” or “They are way too old for more kids” or “Maybe they should be sleeping in separate bedrooms to avoid having too many children”, “Haven’t they heard of birth control” or “how are they ever going to feed all of those children?” ….The list goes on and the words can get pretty nasty. Let your words be kind and loving. IN OUR HOME: When I see a mom at the grocery store with several kids in tow and possibly pregnant again, I always try to reach out to her and complement her children as well as say: “I think it is great you have a large family”!
- Celebrate EVERYTIME a woman chooses life, even if it is out of wedlock. No matter how the pregnancy occurred we should celebrate the courage and bravery of every women or girl that makes the difficult choice of LIFE! IN OUR HOME: We speak positively about all pregnancies but especially unwed pregnancies. It is easy to fall into the trap of judging the unwed mother but I want my children to know that while we strive for Chastity and Purity (avoiding sexual sin), we must celebrate the girl’s courageous choice to choose life for her baby. My children even know that if ever a friend of theirs is in the impossible position of being pregnant in High School or College, that our home is always open to their friend should they need shelter, food, medical care, etc. Whatever we can do to help them be courageous and choose life for their baby.
- Choose LOVE & COMPASSION for all women (and men) that chose abortion thinking they had no other choice; they are hurting and need our prayers not our judgement! This includes supporting organizations like Rachel’s Vineyard that offer weekend retreats where women and men can express, release, and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.
- Educate our children about the dignity of the elderly and the end of life, including why Euthanasia is not part of God’s plan for our lives. This requires an understanding of why suffering is part of our earthy life.
- Spend time with the elderly in our family, inviting them into our homes, loving on them, and respecting their wisdom. Visit nursing homes as a family.
- Most importantly we must pray. We must pray for an end to the things that do not honor life and pray for a beginning of compassion and love of all life.
Respecting Life can seem an overwhelming task. It is a task that can only be done with humility and recognition that it is Christ we are to please and not anyone else. This year 2016 commit yourself to be an ambassador for Life and let your children learn by your unwavering example. Spend some time educating yourself about life issues and implement something new in your home/family that honors and respects life. The list above can be overwhelming. Choose one or two of the items listed above to implement each year.
It might be easy to think your family really cannot make a difference to such a large issue or that since abortion is already legal what’s the point. To that I say, every good thing starts with just one person doing something instead of nothing and just like slavery was once legal and later became illegal, there is hope for Abortion and other life issues too!!
Here are some links that will help you to better understand all the Respect Life issues.
Want to learn about the Crisis Pregnancy Centers near you that support pregnancy and adoption (not abortion). Do a search at http://www.priestsforlife.org/pregnant-need-help/search.aspx
Photos are all from The March For Life Facebook page