By Susan Ciancio

At the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast, St. Teresa of Calcutta said: “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”  

The events of the past week have evoked a countless range of emotions. We feel disturbed, distressed, disheartened, sad, scared, angered, and so much more. We’ve seen senseless death and senseless destruction. We’ve heard bitter words that show how little regard people have for other human beings. And we’ve witnessed a hatred no one should ever feel.

One of my psychology professors in college used to tell us that “hurt people hurt people.” In other words, those who feel wronged and hurt perpetuate that hurt and lash out at others. They think that their actions are justified by the pain that they feel. And thus begins a vicious cycle of anger and hatred.

Yet we know that anger, hatred, and violence have no place in our society. We see the destruction they are causing. We see the hurt and the pain. This is not what Christ wants for us. Christ taught us to love. Indeed, He commanded it when He said “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Furthermore, Christ taught us the value of His children—not just some of His children, but ALL of them. And He commands us to treat each other well: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.”

We are all immensely loved by God, and our actions must reflect His love. Thus, we must respect and honor the dignity of every human being. Always. No exceptions. That is the most important part of building a culture of life.

St. Teresa’s astute words make us think, don’t they? Looking at the events going on today, we realize we must go back to the beginning. Respect for human life must begin at the very beginning—the moment a child is created. Society lies to parents and tells them that their child is nothing but a blob of tissue, yet we know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s both science and faith!

If we don’t value even the smallest and most vulnerable among us—someone who desperately needs our love, support, nourishment, and more—how will we teach the value of someone born? When we tell a mother and father that their own creation has no value and that they can have him killed and discarded like a piece of trash, how do we then tell them to value the life of someone they don’t even know?

Every single person on this planet is a unique creation of God. We all have dignity and value. And we are all infinitely loved. When we teach those truths to our children from the time they are small, they will grow up living them. They will grow up loving them. There will be no place for hatred, and there will be no place for violence. We will truly be a country united “under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Please join us in prayer for our nation, our leaders, and all the citizens of our country. May we all come to feel united as one people who love and cherish one another from creation to death.