|1/26/2017 9:00:00 AM|
Thoughts on the March for Life
BY MATTHEW HOULEToo many Catholics today live as though they were atheists, possessing a faith that has little effect on their lives. We are called to live our faith: to evangelize, reach out and bring Christ's love to others.
Jesus says, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Mt 28: 19-20)." Christ does not just want us to please everyone, but to live out our faith in every aspect of life -- not just privately, but publicly.
We must "be Catholic" in our relationships with others, at our jobs, in the voting booth, when we purchase products and services and in all of our decisions and actions. We are called to bring Christ's love everywhere, not only where it is welcomed.
Our country just inaugurated a new president. On Jan. 27, students from the seminary I attend, St. Mary's in Baltimore, will go to Washington, D.C., to join in the March for Life to protest the legalization of abortion in America. Students from many seminaries participate in the march every year.
In light of these events, I am reminded of our responsibility to be active participants in our faith and to bring Christ's love where it is so desperately needed.
Evangelizing our culture is not always easy. There are three things I think we have to keep in mind, especially when it comes to issues like the right to life:
1. Never be intimidated.
The devil wants us to be afraid and remain silent. Unfortunately, standing for anything that is not approved of by the established secular culture today will cause some to hate us, judge us, counter-protest, label us and call us names: sexist, hateful, anti-woman, anti-choice.
Most of the time, these labels are not based in reality, but in emotion. They are designed to silence and dismiss. Remember the beatitude, "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me" (Mt 5:11).
2. Don't fall for tricks or emotional manipulation.
I have seen a lot of tricks designed to twist issues into what they are not in order to emotionally manipulate good people into supporting evil or at least remaining silent it its presence. The devil does not sit us down and explain all of the logical reasons for why we should abandon God's love and choose sin. He manipulates our passions and emotions in order to deceive us into accepting evil.
Instead of talking about abortion, many twist the issue and talk about "choice." It is easier to sell. Recognize the manipulation and call it what it is. The issue is not "choice," and ending abortion does not end choice.
Another ruse is when some say they are not "pro-abortion," but only "pro-choice." They say they just want the choice to be available. They sometimes add, "Don't you trust women with a choice?" My response is to draw a parallel. Take any moral evil -- theft, murder, abuse -- and imagine someone saying, "I'm not in favor of the evil; I'm simply 'pro-choice' on the issue. Don't you trust me with a choice?" Again, the issue is not "choice," but abuse.
3. Always remain loyal to God.
We are Christians. Therefore, we are not about hate, revenge, anger, pride or self-righteousness. We must never lie or slander. Jesus did not return insult for insult, and neither can we. We must always have an attitude of love and forgiveness -- especially toward women who have had abortions.
By participating in the March for Life, we are acknowledging that what we believe should never be confined to our homes and churches. We have the responsibility to evangelize, but too often we shy away from that and remain silent.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen reminded us that "a religion that doesn't interfere with the secular order will soon discover that the secular order will not refrain from interfering with it."
We are at a crucial time in our country's history. Our choice is simple: Convert the culture or become its next casualty.
(Mr. Houle, a native of St. Mary's parish in Albany, is studying for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore.)
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