In the late 1990s, two Catholic personages emerged strongly on the scene of the Catholic Church worldwide to speak about the culture of life, and it is appropriate that we mention this now in October, designated as Respect Life Month all over the world.
THE FIRST PERSON was Pope John Paul II, in his letter Ecclesia in America in 1999, when he addressed the problems of abortion, euthanasia and all means of taking life. The other person was Mother Teresa, the petite nun from India who worked with the dying in the streets of Calcutta, and told the whole world that we "must value every human being as a gift from God!"
When we in today's world are faced with such life challenges as safeguarding the dignity and sanctity of life from conception until natural death, we are faced with the great command by Jesus Christ to love all people as human beings created in the image and likeness of God.
This is a particularly difficult challenge, to be sure, as mentioned by the Pope and Mother Teresa back in the late 1990s, as they both saw and spoke against the tragedies of abortion, contraception, euthanasia, mercy killing, capital punishment, war and all violent crimes against humanity.
They spoke up against the culture of death, and spoke with conviction and gospel values about the preservation and defense of all human life from conception until natural death.
How can we "Respect Life" in October in Augusta and parts nearby? The answer is found in the value of life we give to all unborn, vulnerable, weak, defenseless, voiceless and those under attack by the culture of death in society.
WE MUST TAKE a stand on behalf of life, the most appreciated gift of love from God to us, for which we are accountable for the defense of this human life. We are mandated to be heralds of pro-life measures to protect the unborn as real people created by God and imbued with God's love at the very moment of conception. We must be pro-active in defense of the unborn.
We must speak up against any measure that takes life away, and promote the culture of life, which Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa spoke so eloquently about as they promoted by word and example the value of every human life. They spoke to our hearts and souls about the meaning of our own part in the defense of human life.
I urge all Christians and believers in the sanctity of life to be more pro-active in October to find ways and activities that show how much you value the gift of human life in God's holy creation. Go and spread the word by your deeds of how much you are engaged in the defense of human life by being there to share the dignity of sacred love found in the soul of every man, woman and child alive.
Thanks for being able to be an advocate for the culture of life in October.
(The writer is parochial vicar at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta.)