Driving down Route 70 yesterday, I stopped for a red light. The car in front of me had a window decal on it. I read it carefully. No, it was not your typical Baby on Board sticker that I had seen many times in the past. This one, with its silhouette of a baby on it, read: Huge Financial Burden on Board. While I initially chuckled—after all, I do have a somewhat quirky sense of humor—I soon realized how sad it was to depict a baby in this manner. We are talking about a person made in the image and likeness of God. Someone who has been given the gift of life through a unique cooperation between parents and Almighty God. This human person was now sadly viewed through the perspective of household economics.
From a Catholic Church perspective, October is set apart as Respect Life month. The Church continues to teach that every human life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. Recall that Jesus—the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity—chose to become one of us, His creatures. Jesus was conceived in His mother Mary’s womb. At a given point in time He was an embryo, a fetus, an infant, a child, an adolescent and an adult human being. Our life has so much dignity and importance that Christ not only became one of us, but He also willingly gave His life to save us from sin and death.
In addition, October is also the month of the Holy Rosary. Just think of some of the joyful mysteries of the Holy Rosary and their connection to various human life issues. The first joyful mystery, the Annunciation (Lk. 1: 26-38), shows us how with Mary’s “yes” to the angel, the Word became flesh in her womb. God became Incarnate with Jesus’ human life beginning at conception. After Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, when Mary greeted her cousin Elizabeth [the Visitation (Lk. 1: 39-56)], John the Baptist leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. Remember Elizabeth was in advanced years—a situation that today may be too easy an excuse to have an abortion. When Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem [the Nativity (Lk. 2: 1-7ff.)] with no room for Him anywhere else, I can just imagine someone today saying: “This child is a huge financial burden for us! We can’t afford this child!” Sadly, these are just some reasons that can be rationalized for terminating an unwanted or inconvenient pregnancy.
Later in the evening that same day, after dinner with a brother priest, I had the privilege of viewing the new movie about Mother (Saint) Teresa of Calcutta. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Mother Teresa: No Greater Love combined her life history with the work of her community (Missionaries of Charity) throughout the world today. Her expressed desire was not only to serve the poor, but the poorest of the poor. The film brilliantly shows how she respected the dignity of every human person without counting the cost and regardless of any danger or perceived difficulty. Unfortunately, the film was only in theaters for two days (October 3 and 4) but I am sure will be made available by other means (streaming, DVD, etc.) in the future. It is well worth your time to watch it!
I find it quite frustrating and tragic today, when so many politicians want to show others how they will support a women’s right to choose, they continue to deny and disregard the value and dignity of the developing child in the womb. If people are honest and have integrity, they will admit how science definitively shows that a new human life begins at conception. This new, innocent person deserves to be given a chance to live in this world.
Mother Teresa saw that so clearly.
Fr. Ed Namiotka