Are You REALLY Pro-LIfe?

By Diane Meads

From 2016 to 2020, I taught Theology and served as Campus Minister at our local Catholic high school. Each year, one of our epic Campus Ministry adventures was to take over 100 students to the March for Life in Washington, DC – the largest pro-life rally in the country. Each trip required massive amounts of planning and energy for months in advance – we advertised the trip, secured the hotels and charter buses, collected students’ forms and payments, held student formation meetings, stressed about the January weather and driving conditions, and about a thousand other things! So much work, to be sure – but the trips were also incredibly fruitful. All the energy spent was so worth it as I listened to students’ testimonies on the bus ride back or heard from them one-on-one about how the trip and the formation for it had changed them, had opened their eyes to the beauty of life, the evil of abortion, and the need to stand up for the protection of all life.

Of course, a one-day event like the March is meant to energize and inspire us to be “pro-life” all year long. I am now a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and an infant, and those glorious trips to DC are, at this point, no longer part of my life. With this year’s March for Life having just wrapped, I’ve been reflecting on what being “pro-life all year long” looks like for me now, in this new season of marriage, family, and the “little way” of motherhood. While it of course includes standing up and speaking out to defend all life, from conception to natural death, I’m convinced that a truly “pro-life” way of living begins much more foundationally. How are you and I doing in the three arenas below?

#1 – LOVING GOD – how am I doing? 

It always begins here, with making sure God’s place as first in my heart and life hasn’t been usurped by something else. Do I have any idols? (For me, reading the news incessantly and trying to control, control, control has been a major idol in this era of COVID.) 

When I pray, am I consistently giving myself the space and time to really hear God, or am I distracted? Tiredness is a major struggle for me here! I’ve found that journaling is really helpful to keep me awake and focused. 

Finally, am I praying and journaling about what’s REALLY going on in my life? Am I being honest with God? Just as it doesn’t make sense to hide wounds or pain from the doctor at your visit, so hiding these things from the Divine Physician prevents us from receiving the healing and new life He wishes to give. And do I implement the fruits of this prayer in my life – do I really strive to grow in the virtues I’m weak in?

#2 – LOVING MY SPOUSE – how am I doing?

Marriage is my vocation. Children and family life of course flow from this vocation and are essential parts of it, but am I giving my marriage itself enough time, energy, focus, and care? 

Do my spouse and I take time for regular date nights and/or morning coffees together? Are we having the conversations that really matter: How are you REALLY doing? What do you need? What’s working and not working in our family life? Are we actually making progress toward becoming saints? Key point here – am I open to the constructive criticism that my spouse might voice in these conversations, or do I shut down and dig in my heels with excuses?

Have I fallen into using, and not truly loving, my spouse? Do I really view him/her as the incredible person that he/she is, or do I focus on what I want him/her to do for me, and little else – babysit the kids, clean the bathrooms, help me with a task?

#3 – LOVING MY FAMILY – how am I doing?

Do I escape the tough spots of my vocation with busyness or distraction?

Have I filled up my schedule so much with activities that I have no time/energy bandwidth to serve my family? 

Again, am I properly ordered to focus first on God, then on my spouse, children, and family, and THEN on any apostolate God may be calling me to outside of that? Where are my talents, gifts, and energy primarily going? Am I using these things first to solve problems within my home and family, and then looking outward? 

At its core, to be “pro-life” means to embrace all that is truly life-GIVING – in short, more “God’s way,” less “my way”; more virtue and freedom, less sin and constraint. In our fight to end legal abortion, Lord, please give us the grace to focus on improving our own lives’ foundations as well: our relationships with You, our spouses, and our families. As we run after virtue here, so often in hidden ways, may we shine as Your bright lights and draw others to You in the midst of a world that can be so dark. Holy Family, pray for us!

January 24, 2022 - 7:30pm

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