January 11 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

9-LIFE

Choose life in 2019

SPUC Scotland’s Louise Grant calls for greater commitment to the pro-life cause to ensure no woman has to travel alone on the road to motherhood

During the Advent and Christmas seasons there are so many pro-life themes running through the liturgical texts of the Church.

At the beginning of December we celebrated the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary where the Gospel is about the Angel Gabriel appearing, and Mary giving her momentous ‘yes’ to the salvation of the world.

A few days later we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe—patroness of unborn children. Of course, there is Christmas Day, the summit of this beautiful season where the Christ Child is born into the world, just as we all were—as babies.

Even a few days after Christmas, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Innocents who, though completely innocent and harmless, were put to death—like unborn children who die at the hand of abortionists.

 

Choice

Reflecting on the Christmas season, my mind kept returning to the word ‘choice.’

Sometimes as pro-lifers, hearing the word ‘choice’ makes us recoil because it’s used so often against us—most famously with the constant slogan which is chanted at us wherever we go, ‘my body, my choice.’

We can sometimes forget the greatness of choice, and that not all choices are equal. What we choose is as important as the fact that we can choose. It’s not simply that we have choice but what we choose that is important.

In December I spent a week in Canada, and while there attended an ordination. During the rites of ordination, the Archbishop said: “We rely on the help of the Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and we choose this man, our brother, for priesthood in the presbyteral order.”

Notice the words ‘we choose this man.’

It is ultimately God who has chosen this man for priesthood. It is God who has chosen him and placed the desire in his heart. He also heard God say to him ‘I choose you.’

In the same way God chose Mary to be the Mother of His only begotten Son—as described in the Gospel we heard on December 8, the Gospel passage we’re invited, as Catholics, to remember every single day by praying the Angelus.

The Angelus pays tribute to a crucial aspect of Mary’s role in the Incarnation, when it quotes from Luke’s Gospel, ‘Be it done to me according to thy word.’

This wonderful event could not have happened without her consent, without what is known as her ‘fiat.’

By saying ‘yes’ to God in allowing herself to become His mother, she showed us the ultimate example of trust—and also a courageous example of saying yes to something that must have been really hard to comprehend.

Throughout the history of the Church we can see God’s choices and although He knew exactly what was going on when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, I can’t help but wonder what was going on in her head at the time—what was being asked of her may have been a little unexpected.

What was unexpected to her, what may not have been consciously in her plans, was entered into with great love and trust and that baby saved us all.

In spite of any surprise she might have expressed at first, ultimately, Mary willingly accepted maternity for Jesus Christ.

There are many accounts of women whose pregnancies were also surprising, or unexpected, who in the end have said that having their baby saved them.

We know it’s often not an easy journey for women who experience an unplanned pregnancy. It’s often filled with deep fear and anxiety about how they’re going to cope with those circumstances which they did not plan.

It’s often extremely difficult for them to accept with the same great love and trust that Mary did. But that’s why we need to choose to be ever more present to those in need.

The media loves to be negative towards the pro-life movement but, in fact, we can be incredibly proud of the love and support we are able to offer.

We rightfully are concerned about the life of the unborn child in question, but we also need to have a deep concern and love for the mother—if the mother is OK, then the baby will be just fine as well.

The fears and pressures to abort she may be experiencing are very real and threatening to her, so we need to choose to walk with her. One way of helping is by knowing the details of your closest, trusted crisis pregnancy centre who have the resources to help her practically and also emotionally.

Sometimes we need to help women who have experienced the tragedy of abortion and typically they are in great need of our love and compassion too. The circumstances that drive women to abortion are so often tragic and they too are victims. Know where to find them trusted help.

I often think of Joseph too, my favourite saint. We hear from the scriptures that he decided to divorce Mary quietly when he found out that she was pregnant. He did not want to expose her to public disgrace so he thought he was acting in her best interests.

 

Coercion

We know on the subject of abortion that sometimes the men involved can be overwhelmingly coercive towards women. Other men often say the wrong thing or take the wrong actions even though they, like Joseph, think they are acting in the best interests of the woman.

A man might say, ‘I’ll stand by you, whatever decision you make.’ On the surface this sounds like a valiant support, but underneath what the woman hears is ‘you’re on your own, make this decision yourself.’

So, we also must be prudent in the language we use and choose to think about how we may respond articulately and compassionately with our language.

This 2019, I urge you to choose to become more passionate about pro-life issues and to choose to be more convicted in helping in any way you can.

What a wonderful choice to love both unborn child and mother—please continue to choose this and to encourage those around you to choose the same.

God has chosen us to make a difference. Last year there were many threats to life from many angles but 2019 can be a great year for counteracting these threats.

Not all choices are equal. We can use our own choices to continue to build a culture of life in 2019 and in turn create a more equal society for unborn children and their mothers, and we must always do this with great love. As St Paul writes to the Corinthians: “And now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

  • Abortion Recovery Care & Helpline (ARCH) helpline: 0845 603 8501

email: info@archtrust.org.uk

Web: www.archtrust.org.uk

  • Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative

Tel: 0141 433 2680

Email: gospeloflife@btinternet.com

 

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