A Pro-Life Lenten Journey
Brought to you by the Culture of Life Studies Program
Written by Susan Ciancio
Welcome to Week 4!
The abundance of God’s love and mercy bring us joy and solace this week.
If you just joined us, no problem. This is a journey where you can jump in any time. Please consider downloading the free PDF and sharing with your family.
A mild answer turns back wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise pours out knowledge, but the mouth of fools spews folly. – Proverbs 15:1-2
Building a culture of life requires that we treat others with dignity and respect, but it also entails imparting knowledge about Christ and our faith to others. We must never do this in a harsh way, but in a kind and loving way, as Christ did. Remember that, while Christ ate with sinners, he never condoned the sin. He taught people how to live better lives. He taught them what they would need to do to attain heaven. That is what we must do. Yet, we cannot teach others knowledge we do not have. That is why we must first teach ourselves. We are never too old to stop learning about our faith. There are many things we can do to educate ourselves and our children before we go out and educate others. When we speak to others with a knowledgeable tongue, we will help them grow spiritually, and we will show them that they are worthy of our time. We will become evangelists—following in the footsteps of St. Paul.
Educate yourself. Read something this week to help you understand your faith better. This could be the Catechism, a book about a saint, or a book about what the Church teaches about certain subjects like euthanasia. Then explain it to your family and friends.
Encourage one another and build one another up. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Have you ever been buoyed by the encouraging words of someone else? If so, then you know how amazing it feels. Sometimes the euphoria lasts for hours or even days. You feel valued. You feel loved. You feel important. That’s a beautiful and wonderful thing to do for someone. Yet we don’t seem to do it as often as we should—especially for our children. We should never give empty praise or praise that isn’t earned, but we should praise and thank people for the good things they have done for us and others. We should praise them for their accomplishments and even for how they handle failures. When we do this, we are teaching them that they have value and that we recognize that value. We are teaching them to see this value in themselves and to look for it in others. We are showing them that we (and likely others) are watching their behaviors and that their behavior affects other people. When people feel valued, they will continue to do things to help others feel valued. This is such an easy way to help build a culture of life!
Take some time today to really watch the actions of your spouse or your children. Praise them for something good they’ve done and watch how their faces light up. This is the light of Christ.
The Catholic community must offer support to those women who may find it difficult to accept a child, above all when they are isolated from their family and friends. – Pope Benedict XVI
Building a culture of life commands that we put our words into action. It’s not enough to pray in front of Planned Parenthood if we ignore the moms who walk in there or the young pregnant teenager on our block. A child is always a blessing. A child is an unrepeatable human being who should be loved and cared for. When someone experiences a surprise pregnancy, it’s understandable that she faces anxiety and fear. And sometimes her family feels such shame and anger that they ostracize her. That is why we must do something to help. We must show the mother that we value both her and her baby. We can do this by giving our time, donating to a pregnancy help center, or helping in some other creative way. The point is to live out the love we feel for a mother and her baby. This is what Christ wants us to do.
Locate your nearest pregnancy help center and come up with a way that you can help both mothers and babies.
Support Pro-Life Education
God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve Him, and so to come to paradise. – Catechism of the Catholic Church
When we know, love, and serve God, we can’t help but let this knowledge, love, and service flow outward to others. This is how we build a culture of life. We reflect the love of God to others, and they in turn grow in faith. When we serve others, we also serve God. When we learn about God, we naturally desire to teach others about Him. Our knowledge gives others pause and helps them get to know Him. When we spend our lives doing everything for God—and for His glory—we know that our final reward will be eternity with Him. While we are here on earth, it is our job to evangelize and teach others about Him. We understand that souls are at stake. And we know that we are responsible for these souls. So, if you want to attain heaven, make sure that your actions here on earth lead you there. God has given us a roadmap—His commandments, His teachings, and the tenets of the Church. It is our job to use that map.
Take some time to help your spouse or your children understand that we are here to know, love, and serve God. Discuss what you can do to help guide each other on the path to heaven.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. – Romans 12:17
It takes a lot of effort to build a culture of life when others are treating you or other people poorly. But that is exactly when we need it the most. Repaying evil with evil only results in . . . evil! However, if we respond to cruelty or evil with forgiveness, kindness, and love, that may just be what the person needs to make changes in his life. That does not mean that we need to take someone’s abuse or put ourselves in danger. We never have to allow anyone to hurt us. But when we do encounter a situation in which someone speaks unkindly or makes fun of us for our faith or for some other reason, an unkind retort will not help the situation. What will help is prayerful discernment, kind words, and maybe just walking away. Don’t ever forget the power of prayer when you want to change someone’s heart and mind toward Christ. Remember that St. Paul did horrible things and persecuted many people, yet God used him for good. And he became one of the greatest evangelizers the Church has ever known.
The next time you are in a situation with someone who does something cruel, say something kind back, walk away, and say some prayers. Then continue to pray. God hears you.
Commitment is doing what you said you would do, after the feeling you said it in has passed. – St. Camillus
Building a culture of life takes commitment to action—and then it takes action. Have you ever felt so on fire by someone’s talk at church that you signed up to volunteer somewhere, to pray in front of an abortion facility, or to join a church group, only to later decide you really don’t have the time or you’re too tired? We probably all have. Remember the gospel story where the man buried his talents and was chastised by his employer? If we hide our talents and never share them or our time with others, we will never make a difference in this world. Yes, we’re all tired, and we all juggle many commitments. But God must be first in our lives; we cannot build a culture of life without Him. We have so many blessings that it is a sin to hide them away and never use them. Christ gave them to us freely, and He wants us to use them to make a difference in people’s lives.
Think about something you have made a commitment to do but that you never actually did. Remember the excitement you felt when you made the commitment. Find that excitement again and put your words to action. You’re likely to gain a renewed sense of excitement.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
The most difficult part of bearing a burden is bearing it alone. Imagine having no one to talk to, no one to cry with, and no one who will support you. That is not the society God calls us to create. As a Church, we are one body, and we must support each other. Outside of that, we must do the same for those in our neighborhood and those in our community. When we listen to someone who’s sad, nurse someone who’s sick, or sit with someone who has no one, we are acting in the person of Christ. We are building the culture of life by showing that person that he matters to us and that he has value and is worth our time. It is a great gift to be able to alleviate or lessen someone’s pain. No one should have to bear a burden alone.
Think about someone you know who may need a friend. Drop by his house, send him a card, pick up the phone, or take him a meal. Then just listen to him. Help lighten his load a bit. Your actions will make a difference.
401 Church Street #1456
O'Fallon, MO 63366