By Susan Ciancio
I watched the judge read the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial on Tuesday, and I kept thinking to myself, If only he had just stood up.
I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head: If only he had just stood up.
How different things would be in our country today . . . if only he recognized the dignity of a fellow human being and had just stood up.
And then I started thinking how meaningful those words are for all of us.
We see violence in the streets. We see violence against preborn babies. We see violence against the sick, the elderly, and the disabled. We see hatred. We see immorality.
Violence, whether in the form of speech or action, is insidious.
We know there are many wonderful and amazing people in this country. And many do advocate for peace, for compassion, for love, and for morality. Many do recognize the dignity of others, and many do stand up for others. But it’s not enough. It’s not enough because the culture-of-death advocates often seem to speak louder and stand taller.
I have to wonder: What would happen if we all just stand up?
If we want a society of people who will stand up, we must teach them how and why! We must change the mentality from one where people sit passively and watch life happen—possibly in fear—to one where people become active and stand up!
It begins in our own homes. And it begins with our children.
Organizations and people in government understand this. That’s why places like Planned Parenthood target children. They inundate them with messages of tolerance—but only for one side.
There is no tolerance for people with religious or moral beliefs. We are made to feel bad or wrong for standing up for what we believe in.
But, even if we get knocked down, that cannot and should not keep us from standing up. In everything we do, we must uphold the dignity of all of our fellow human beings—born and preborn.
To effect change, we must vow to do something—to use our God-given talents to make the world a better place and to return it to a culture of life.
What can we do?
Pray for peace. Pray for discernment. Pray for God’s help to show you how you can best make changes. Maybe these changes come from turning off the TV and talking with your kids about sensitive topics. Maybe they come from reading the Bible together or saying the Rosary. Maybe they come from volunteering as a family. There’s so much you can do, but first you must decide what you will do. Ask God for His help, and start with prayer.
Read about the lives of the saints. Read the wisdom of Church doctors. Read the Catechism. Read why the Church teaches what it teaches about the sanctity of life, about marriage, and about topics such as assisted suicide. Making change starts with understanding. If you don’t understand, you can’t teach.
Learning cannot end with you. We learn to better ourselves, but we also learn to better the world. Learning naturally leads to teaching. The Culture of Life Studies Program has some awesome lessons for all ages that teach children and teens how to stand up for others and that give them the courage to do so. Take a look at these:
- All Shapes and Sizes: Teaches K-2 children the beauty of the human person from creation until death
- When Heroes Become Saints: Saint Damien de Veuster of Molokai: Teaches middle schoolers what a true hero is by examining the life of a priest who ministered to lepers
- Dr. Jérôme Lejeune and Trisomy 21: Teaches middle schoolers about the world’s greatest advocate for people with Down syndrome
- No Greater Love: Saint Maximilian Kolbe: Teaches middle and high schoolers about a priest who stood up to the Nazis and gave his life for another
- Without Mercy: An Introduction to Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Other Threats to the Medically Vulnerable: Teaches middle and high schoolers how to stand up for the vulnerable
The saints and heroic people in these lessons stood up for others. And their examples will help your children do the same.
You have prayed. You have read. You have learned. Now you must take action. Just as the Holy Spirit at Pentecost breathed upon the Apostles and gave them courage, He is now breathing upon you and charging you to go out and spread the good word. He is telling you to stand up.
So though it seems like we live in scary times, God is repeatedly telling us that we should not be afraid, for He is with us.
Are we with Him?
If so, we have to stand up.
Image courtesy of Moisés Becerra