October is Respect Life Month
In the seventh and eighth grade religion classes, we have been reading up and reflecting about modern issues concerning the morality and ethics of human life. When is a person considered a person? What does it mean to be human? What really is "human nature?" While these issues may seem distant, we need to recognize that they are not. They are certainly present in our country and even in Wichita, but life issues should concern us in our local communities and very homes. The dignity of human life from conception to natural death is our most basic right. It is violated in countless ways at countless points in between. How can we be pro-life in a culture of death? As Saint Mother Teresa says, it starts at home. Families are called to protect and defend one another in love. It starts with teaching toddlers how to share, grows into expecting older children to help the family around the house, and demands that parents play active roles in passing our Catholic faith and values onto their children by not just taking the family to Mass on Sundays, but by making time for prayer as a family and having the conversations that only parents can have with their children on matters of faith. St. Paul tells us that we are all called to be disciples, one who is chosen for a particular message of hope and sent to those who need to hear it. The same applies to our efforts towards building a culture of life. Some may be called to active political service in changing government policies, but all of us adults are called to educate ourselves about life issues and pay attention to what candidates are saying in the upcoming debates. Not all of us can work at pregnancy crisis centers, but all of us can pray for the people who volunteer there and the patrons they serve. Not all of us can protest at an abortion clinic every month, but we can pray the rosary for a conversion of heart Not all of us can hold the hand of a patient with a terminal illness, but we can hold the hand of a friend or relative who is struggling. We are becoming more and more afraid of standing up, speaking out, and defending our Catholic faith. That's why the bishops have chosen "Every life: cherished, chosen, sent" as the theme for this year. By our baptism, we are called to witness to the faith... that includes the belief that life is to be cherished. And by that same baptism, we were chosen to bring this life-affirming message to all we meet.