Respect for all Life by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M.

A number of years ago when I was stationed in Washington, DC, my cousin came from Ohio to visit.  She was maybe 23 at the time.  We went to the mall area for the day, visiting museums, the National Archives, and the memorials.  In the middle of the afternoon we sat down on a bench and looked around at all there was to see.  We didn’t speak for a while and I turned and asked her, “What are you thinking?”  She smiled and said, “Actually it’s about these great sights but more than that.  I’m thinking especially how glad I am that my birth mother carried me to term and allowed me to be adopted, which has allowed me to see so much and to look forward to a great life.  There’s a lot about my birth parents I’d like to know, but I’m just thankful more than anything else to be here.”  I was kind of stunned that that was what was on her mind at that moment, and I’ve never forgotten it.

If you attended a Catholic church over the weekend, you might have heard the theme of Respect Life being talked about.

The reason that the idea of respecting all life, not only unborn children but the handicapped, the poor, the elderly, and those in prison, the reason that it’s important for us to be reminded about the respect that’s due all the people, is that each life in God’s eye is special and particular and in need of support, and also it’s important because the messages that we hear are often about taking care of ourselves and not worrying about the unlucky other people who may not be as well off as we are.

It’s not just about luck, that some of us come out on top and some on the bottom in life.  It really is about helping everybody reach their full potential and to live life as fully as my cousin was able to or as fully as your handicapped brothers and sisters will or with the possibilities that Father David or Father Rowland or Father Bolduc talk about when they offer Mass for the men in the Fulton County Jail.  We have to believe that not only we were put here for a purpose but also all those who have less in the way of physical and mental ability, less chance to speak for themselves or to defend themselves, less money, less influence, less education.  Yes, like my cousin, we are all lucky and, I hope, grateful, and as we hear in the gospel, “From those to whom much is given much is expected in return.”

Let us pray.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

God, the source of our life and all goodness, help us to be aware of the value of the life you have given each one of us and of the same value in those we have not met or do not know but who long to be everything that they were made to become by you, their Creator.  Help us who have much to take notice of those who are in need of our support.  Direct us away from violence or cruelty because we are alive in the hope of the Resurrection and we are charged with bringing the Good News of that same hope to those in need of it.  Bless all who respect life daily in difficult places and situations.  May we honor your Creation by respecting the people you have given us to live with in peace and understanding.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of wisdom.  Pray for us.

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