The Right to Have Life

I continue to be amazed at the simple fact that you and I exist. There are some simple moments of awareness that, when you pause over them, bring out the wonder of our being here.

A young mother was having a dish of ice cream as her 9 month old sat quietly next to her. “Watch this”, she said. Putting her little finger into the ice cream, she put it to Sarah’s mouth. The baby took mom’s creamy finger and her face became a picture of unbridled joy. “Sarah loves the taste of vanilla!”, mom said. I swear the angels in heaven were jealous at that moment.

That was over 20 years ago. By now I’m sure Sarah is not quite so ga-ga over her ice cream; like the rest of us she’s grown, no longer a child. We change but we’re still the same person who thrilled at vanilla.

Science tells us the human body generates a total renewal of cells every ten years . . . yet we are still who we are . . . we are still that unique person who was born into the world. Such a mystery we are! We hunger to know, “Who am I? Why am I here? Why am I the way that I am?!”

No understanding of ourselves seems to go deep enough to touch these wonderings. To our parents we are “son/daughter”. Siblings call us “brother/sister”. I am “priest” to you and our bishop. You are “husband/wife” perhaps. But ultimately there is one relationship that finally defines all of us – – – We are a Child of God. God created us to be a person like God. We owe our total existence to Him.

Now happily, God uses people to bring us into the world. People who knew nothing of me till I was born. Mom told me I kept everybody waiting. “You were a week late” she said, “We thought you were a girl.”

All this my mother had to tell me; for how would I know by myself? That I would exist and be held and changed and tossed up in the air by my dad and not remember it one bit, tells me that life is something that happened to me, something given. Thanks mom, thanks dad, thanks God.

We don’t invent ourselves. We are given to ourselves. God didn’t consult with you whether you wanted to exist. He wanted you. Because He loved you and your possibility made him smile.

The Catholic faith community of this country has dedicated the month of October to the principle of the sanctity of human life from the womb to the moment of death. We’ve all seen those amazing pictures of a child in the mother’s womb, that tiny little face yet to take their first breath . . . that child is you!! We were all there at one point, in our entirety. Smaller? Of course. But that is YOU – – – all of you.

Please be aware of all the Respect Life issues that affect children (the right to be born, the right to food, clothing, and shelter, the right to education, work, and health care). Respect Life means to be equally concerned with the poor, sick and elderly. Watch how our candidates describe their plans to help life in all its stages.

A note to young people: working to secure these life enhancing concerns is a great way to spend your life. Young people!!! Consider these matters as possible careers worthy of your time and talents.

God bless you, and together let us work for a society that treats every person as a Child of God.

Be in peace. God’s got his plan.

Fr. Tim