A reflection for Respect Life Month 2019

October is Respect Life Month; a time to join together as one Catholic Church to defend the dignity of all human life, from the time we are knit together in our mothers’ wombs until we take our final breaths, each moment of our lives is a gift from God. Each year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designates the first Sunday of October as the beginning of an annual Respect Life program. This year’s theme, Christ Our Hope: Every Season of Life, is particularly suited for our times.

Today the gift of life is threatened in countless ways. Those who are most vulnerable, rather than receiving the protection they deserve, are all too often seen as a burden and as expendable. As new attacks on human life continue to emerge, we can be tempted to despair, but Christ instead offers us unfailing HOPE.

Hope is not false optimism or empty positivity. Christian hope is something much more profound and goes to the very depths of our identity as followers of Christ.

Hope is the virtue “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 1817).

Like us, Christ entered the world through the womb of a woman. He willingly experienced the fullness of human suffering. He took his last breath on the Cross at Calvary in order to save us. Therefore, “God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the GOD who has a human face and who has loved us to the end” (Spe salvi 31).

The Church teaches us that “the one who has hope lives differently” (SS 2). Christ’s promise of salvation does not mean that we will be spared from suffering. Rather, the promise of salvation ensures that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we will be given the strength to persevere. By virtue of this Christian hope, we can face any challenge or trial. When the seas of life swell and we are battered by the waves, hope allows us to remain anchored in the heart of God. May we hold fast to Christ our hope, from the beginning of life to its very end.   

Therefore my brothers and sisters do not be afraid to stand up for LIFE. “The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them. For the Spirit that God has given you is not a spirit that causes you to fear; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s chosen children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father!, my Father!” (Romans 8:15)

During this month, also being the Month of the Rosary, I exhort you to pray the Holy Rosary, especially outside of abortion centers. The rosary is an invitation to experience the grace of Mary’s spiritual motherhood as she leads us to her Son, Jesus. Remember, every time you pray the rosary you are given the privilege and honor of pronouncing the holy powerful name of Jesus more than 50 times.

For more information in how to get involved during this month of Respect Life, please visit our Respect Life page or e-mail respectlife@scd.org. Click here to find local 40 Days for Life programs near you.