Fall is upon us and that autumn chill is in the air. October is the month when we focus on Our Mother, Mary, but, fittingly, it is also Respect Life Month. This month we have the opportunity to celebrate our most fundamental, God-given right, the right to life. In fact, raising awareness of the right to life can serve as a devotion to Mary, who’s fiat made eternal life possible for each of us by saying “Yes!” to giving birth to Christ.
In our culture of death, one of the hardest things to do is share the Gospel of Life with those neighbors who have bought in to the message of “choice” that is so prevalent in what Pope Francis calls our “throwaway culture.” This culture says that each of us can define for ourselves the meaning of life, and that nothing may stand in the way of our choices. It may have fallen out of fashion, but there is an objective meaning for our existence: each individual is a gift, made in the image and likeness of God, and endowed with a fundamental right to life.
The U.S. Bishops have prepared numerous activities to mark Respect Life month. Respecting life does not just entail opposing abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research, but also affirming the dignity of our brothers and sisters by standing against the death penalty, slavery, racism, human trafficking, terrorism, and unjust war. Creating a culture of life also requires upholding the importance of marriage and family as crucial support systems for human life. We help spread the Gospel of Life by affirming all life in discussions with our family, friends, and neighbors. We participate in the New Evangelization when we use compassion and humility as we share the truth about the destruction wrought by abortion.
We can share the Gospel of Life through prayer and action, whether offering special intercessions during Mass or praying a Rosary at a local abortion clinic. We affirm life when we reach out to support those dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or providing clothes, diapers, formula, bottles, and other necessities to parents preparing to welcome a new child. Project Gabriel, offers just that support and another ministry, Project Rachel, offers hope and healing to those experiencing pain and trauma after abortion. The Diocese of Richmond and the Diocese of Arlington have planned numerous activities to mark Respect Life month, including Masses and prayer vigils. But we are not limited to the month of October when it comes to spreading the Gospel of Life. How will you spread the culture of life this month and throughout the year?