By Catherine Graham
Although it is obviously most pressing to save humans from death before they have had a chance at full life (when they are in the womb), the term “pro-life” does not refer only to this goal. “Pro-life” should not be limited to just humans in the womb; rather, it should include all humans. The idea behind the term “pro-life” is that all will realize themselves to be loved infinitely and unconditionally by God, or if they prefer not to take a religious view, all will at least experience sacrificial love from others in their life. We as a human race have forgotten that suffering can be redemptive. Thus, to be unconditionally pro-life, we must first develop a strong sense of self-respect and love and strive for virtue in all aspects of life, especially trust in God during great suffering. Once that is in place, we will naturally begin to share this great love with others, and others will see the redeeming and strengthening qualities of suffering. This will spread through the world, creating and promoting a true culture of life.
The first step is to realize that nothing changes your human dignity or the amount that God loves you. Realizing yourself to be a cherished child of God is life-changing. The omnipotent Creator of the universe would die for us. How crazy is that? What does it matter what others think of you? Bolster your self-esteem with this realization and take pride in it. Then begin your return to God. God has given you illimitable grace; you are thankful, now strive to strengthen your relationship with God through praying and striving for virtue.
You have responded to God’s grace and are constantly striving to do better. You are filled with joy! But suddenly a trial comes: A loved one dies, for example. Why, Lord? “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46) you cry. Ah, but there is hope. If you manage to stay firm in your new faith and trust that God will deliver you, He will. And He does! You emerge triumphant and realize the paradox: Your faith which took such a hit is actually stronger from having survived this hit. Newly invigorated, you continue on the path to God. Now, because of your great love for God, when you look around you, you will see the people in your life differently. No longer are they your semi-irritating neighbors, but rather they are temples of the Holy Spirit. No longer are they the people in your class that you unofficially avoid, but rather they are fellow children of God who are on the same journey as you. With this realization, you will begin to treat them differently as the great love inside you begins to burn so zealously that it bubbles over.
The people in your life will notice your newfound consideration for them. Perhaps your neighbor noticed how you recovered from your trial and thrived. She is amazed to see your apparent acceptance of the blow and even more inspired to see you emerge happier than before. Maybe your way works. Trials come for her, too. Her beloved cat dies and she is in despair. But when you send her a card, she remembers how you embraced your cross. She decides to take a gamble and trust God to see her through, and He does. She too emerges triumphant, and the cycle continues as others witness her actions and the benefits of suffering and respecting one another.
Pro-life is not merely a political party or one view of a controversy. It is respect and human love. It is the willing of another’s good. It is the position that values all humans, no matter their developmental stage, physical or mental state, religion, race, or past actions. Once we begin to radically choose the good for each other, so many of the world’s problems will disappear. First, we will not kill others because of their developmental stage. We will be able to see the value of suffering. Instead of terminating humans we do not find productive to society, we will be willing to endure the small suffering ourselves that they may live, and we will realize it was above and beyond worth it. “God has created a world big enough for all the lives He wishes to be born. It is only our hearts that are not big enough to want them and accept them” (St. Teresa of Calcutta).
Furthermore, once we have woken up to the realization that it is wrong to kill people senselessly, war will become much less prevalent, too. We will be able to achieve world peace and even solve other global issues if we are able to work together as a human race. Unconditional protection of life will solve our world's problems, and it can start with you.
Catherine Graham won an honorable mention in Category 2 of CLSP and IEW’s Pro-Life Essay Contest.
image: cap_tain Tom via Flickr | CC-2.0