Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sanctity of Life Sunday 2016

If I had thought about it more, I would have realized that today is National Sanctity of Life Sunday. After all the anniversary (I dislike using that normally happy word) of the erroneous Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions is on January 22nd. As it is, I had forgotten. There was also not a mention in the bulletin or homily or even the petitions during Mass. But social media came to the rescue when someone liked a Facebook post of mine from two years ago.

So why is it that the unborn and their corresponding legislative milestones are so easy to bypass or forget? When even a prolife priest and a prolife family would have missed the significance of this day, one has to wonder.

Silent No More

When we join post-abortive women who vow to be Silent No More and share the hurt they have experienced through a decision made long ago, we should keep this topic close to our hearts - always. When we have dedicated much of our adult life to the prolife movement, how can it be so easy to forget? After all, we've marched and petitioned and written and prayed - for the babies and their families. But even when that is our intention, it is just too easy to forget - to push the outrage and sorrow into the background. Especially when good people tend to fall into the trap of doing nothing - saying nothing.

What About Jesus?

But is that what we should allow to happen? No. Yet as easy as it is to sometimes shove the unpleasant out of the forefront of our minds, we do the same to Jesus on a daily basis. Try as we might, we let mundane or worldly aspects of life take over our here and now. Our Lord and Savior doesn't occupy all 24 hours of each day either, and He deserves to accompany us even in our dreams.

What would He have us do? A good start is to heighten our awareness, immerse ourselves in information, spiritual endeavors, and love of others. The more we put practice to our sentiments, the more the issue of following Jesus, living His love, and abhorring abortion becomes an issue at the forefront of our minds.

Worthy Reading, Worthy Circles

In order to give those important people and topics their due, it is good to bring our focus on the important things in life. This begs the question, "what is our focus in reading, in speaking, and prayer?" Do we bring our minds, and therefore our hearts, toward worthy interests? Or do we seek to only entertain ourselves with worldly reading and entertainment?

In order to empty ourselves of worldly pursuits, it would be of benefit to take on a mission of adding spiritual reading to our day - even if it only involves reading and meditating on a daily chapter. One book that is currently inspiring me is Rediscover Jesus: An Open Invitation by Matthew Kelly.

I owe this type of reading to a priest we know and admire. During confession one Sunday, this particular priest asked me a question, "What type of spiritual reading do you do?" He didn't want the list of informational reading I shared - he wanted me to focus on spiritual reading. I had no suitable answer. Apparently I was in the habit of studying faith and other topics of interest, but had failed to read spiritually beneficial books.

That changed with his penance - he instructed me to read Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley. Before this, I had been blind to the fact that my reading material wasn't so much an attempt to improve my relationship with Jesus as it was to discover and delve into facts. Slowly that is changing now. I am still a self-proclaimed nerd when it comes to fact-finding, but I have added more spiritual reading to the mix as well.

What Does That Have to Do with Sanctity of Life Sunday?

When we work on our faith life, instead of just being able to pour out numerous statistics and biological facts, our hearts soften. We become a "litte Christ" as our Pastor put it today during his homily. Others are able to more clearly see that we are not a people of judgment; we become a people of love and tenderness. We will always be called to make judgments about whether or not an act is virtuous or immoral, but we will focus less on winning the battle and more on an encounter with each person - where they are.

As Father told us today, we need to think of the lines of a famous song, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." On this Sanctity of Life Sunday, let us all strive to promote peace - in the womb and in our hearts.

Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love. ~ Saint John of the Cross

Did you hear a prolife homily or prayers of the faithful today? Do you, on a regular basis? Share your thoughts and let us pray for one another as we strive toward being the saints Jesus calls us to be.