When someone identifies themselves as pro-life, you might immediately envision them holding a sign outside of an abortion clinic or marching in support of life at the March for Life. Those things are both important and necessary, but may not be what all of us are called to do. Maybe you have never really taken a stand for life because you don’t fit the profile of a typical “pro-lifer”. The good news is you don’t have to! You can still be who you are and be an effective witness to life. We want to challenge you to find something on our list that you can do.
It is a misconception that being pro-life means we only care about ending abortion. Abortion is a big concern, yes, because it is a grave evil that is bringing destruction to our society, but we care for the person from “the womb to the tomb”. From the moment of conception to natural death, we are to show the love of God and offer our care to His people.
“…every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity.” – Pope Francis
I am guilty of repeatedly saying, “I’ll be happy if it’s a boy or a girl just as long as the baby is healthy” when I’m pregnant. But take a minute to listen to that statement. Does it suggest that an unhealthy baby won’t be as valued and loved as a baby born with health problems? Is life only worth living for those who are in a perfect state of health? Other phrases that we need to avoid saying to parents: Are they all yours? Are you done yet? Instead, replace these cliches with an nice compliment about how lovely it is to see such a beautiful family. Work to talk in a way that always edifies the gift of life.
Take every opportunity you can to show your children that life begins in the womb. If you are pregnant or know pregnant women, have your children pray for the babies. Talk about the miracle that is taking place. Look at ultrasound pictures. Go out of your way to serve expecting women so that children will learn even an unborn child is already highly regarded and in need of our care. Also look into volunteering at or collecting donations for crisis pregnancy centers. These ministries offer ultrasounds and other resources to help mothers and children in need.
You can find many wonderful programs (like Big Brothers Big Sisters) that will help you get started as a mentor. Being involved with youth ministry is also a great place to begin outreaching and ministering to our young people .They need people like you to teach them how to value life, show them there is hope, and set an example of purity.
Find a way to offer assistance to families who have chosen to adopt children or offer foster care. This is such an important ministry and we need to serve these families through meals, childcare, and investing in their children. Has your family considered adopting or fostering? We need Christian families to provide loving homes for those who have been orphaned or neglected. It’s not something all are capable of doing, but we should be in prayer about how God might choose to grow our family. If you are looking for inspiration, Lighthouse Catholic Media offers a beautiful talk by Mary Vogrinc who has fostered 54 children (along with having 5 of her own sons). You can find the mp3 of “Saying Yes To God: One Mother’s Journey” here.
In the United States we have men and women that are awaiting the death penalty. We have others behind bars that lack an understanding of the life God intends. Commit to writing to these men and women letters of inspiration pointing them towards God and offering prayers of hope. (Find a prisoner to correspond with at Writeaprisoner.com)
Parents who have children with special needs are often exhausted with little or no time to themselves. They need our support for life through our actions and friendship. Offer your services to allow them a moment to pray, exercise, or go out to dinner. Take the time to find out how to best help and volunteer to pitch in. It’s also important to teach your own children to see all people with eyes of love and to treat others with dignity rather than being afraid or uncomfortable around those that look or act different than themselves. Spend time together through playdates and other activities so that both families can learn the dignity of all life and build relationships.
Most of us have probably been to a soup kitchen to serve, but how often do you sit down and have lunch with the men, women and families that are eating? This is just as important as the food. Conversation and friendship nourish the soul. Listen to their stories and offer encouragement. Show them they are loved and valued.
It can be difficult to take time out of a busy, hectic lifestyle to sit down with the elderly and give them our time and attention. Allow them to share the stories of their past or simply sit and hold the hand of those who can no longer speak. Let them know they are valued – not for what they have accomplished in life or what they can do for us, but simply because they were created in the image of God.
What is a digital pilgrimage? It is an opportunity that the U. S. Catholic bishops are asking for you to take part in through 9 Days for Life from January 21-29, 2017.
Wherever you are, you can join with thousands across the country in praying for an increased respect for life, in reaching out to others, and in sharing the joyful truth that every life is worth living. You can download the novena online, or receive it through Facebook, email, text message or an app. You’ll be able to access new intentions, brief reflections, suggested actions, and more each day. Sign up at 9daysforlife.com
As part of 9 Days for Life, the bishops are also asking you to share with others what it means to embrace a culture of life. One way you can do this is by posting a 5-15 second video of why you are participating in 9 Days for Life, how you participated that day (hint – you can use one of our 9 tips!) or what being pro-life means to you. Or, you can print out a customizable sign (available on the website), fill in the sentence, “Being pro-life means _________,” and post a selfie with your sign. Whether you share a video or picture, use the hashtag #9DaysforLife, and if you’re posting on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, be sure to tag @USCCB—they’ll pick the best to share!
Make a commitment in 2017 to do something that shows your support for life. Standing for life is one of the most important tasks of this generation. It is a call that all Catholics need to respond to. When you have an open mind and an open heart, God may move you outside of your comfort zone and allow you to grow in holiness. Who knows, maybe through taking small steps for life in 2017 by 2018 you’ll be ready to pray outside abortion clinics and minister to hurting women or take a trip to the March for Life!
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