By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. My family is on vacation. While we are gone I’ll be running articles from the past 12 months that you’ve indicated you particularly enjoyed. Dave
This might qualify as a classically ecumenical “National Right to Life News Today” blog item. It’s written by a man reared a Lutheran, the inspiration comes from a story attributed to a Presbyterian as relayed yesterday by a United Methodist preacher, and culminates by insights borrowed from a terrific “Respect Life” pastoral letter from a Catholic Archbishop!
My former associate pastor now tends her flock a few miles away. She began her sermon Sunday with a statement attributed to Robert Lewis Stevenson, best known for “Treasure Island,” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The story goes that Stevenson, raised a Presbyterian, was a sickly child (as he was much of his life). One night his nurse found him with his nose pressed up against the pane of his bedroom window.
Beckoned to move, young Stevenson would not budge; he was mesmerized by the movement of an old lamplighter who was slowly lighting each street lamp along his route. Suddenly Robert exclaimed, “See; look there; there’s a man poking holes in the darkness.”
It took me about a nanosecond and a half to process and to extend. That, of course, is what each and every one of you is doing each and every day–poking holes in the darkness.
We can’t begin to light up the entire sky, not until the blackness that rolled in with Roe v. Wade is lifted. In the meanwhile, we patiently, faithfully, unstintingly make small but important inroads where we can. We know that ultimately darkness cannot survive the light.
I thought of that when a friend forwarded a story about Archbishop Robert J. Carlson’s Pastoral Letter for Respect Life Month. That inspired me to read the Letter for myself. I’m glad I did!
Archbishop Carlson began with words from Pope Benedict XVI which were chosen last year as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ theme for Respect Life Month. “Every child,” the Pontiff declared, “brings us God’s smile and invites us to recognize that life is His gift, a gift to be welcomed with love and preserved with care always and at every moment.”
These words, Archbishop Carlson wrote, “remind us of the deep importance of respecting all human life. This call to see our Lord in each human face is our responsibility as seekers of justice, as defenders of equal rights, and as Catholics.”
And it is precisely because of the importance of what all pro-lifers–of any faith or none–defend that we work unceasingly, in season and out.
Archbishop Carlson gently reminds us of our humanness in the midst of the struggle. “More than 36 years after abortion on demand was legalized, it is very easy to become frustrated,” he wrote. But “It is precisely for that reason that we must continue our prayers and our work.”
Near the end he also reminds us of two fundamental truths. First, “As so many devoted pro-life leaders have learned, we are called to be faithful to this cause not because we should expect to ‘win’ the legislative and cultural battles, but because it is what God calls us to do. We may never know the fruits of our work, but our Lord always does.”
Second, we must not forget those who’ve succumbed in a time of crisis. “As we reflect on the importance of Respect Life Month, let us also remember in a special way those for whom the smile of a child may bring sadness, the men and women who have lost children through abortion,” Archbishop Carlson wrote. “We pray that they find reconciliation and healing through programs such as Project Rachel, and the peace that God’s mercy and forgiveness knows no limit.”