LIFE: A RIGHT, A MISSION, A RESPONSIBILITY
Message by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family on the Occasion of the National March for Life
Ottawa – May 13, 2004
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family welcomes the opportunity offered by the National March for Life to remind Canadians that choosing life is the only choice that respects God’s plan for humanity.
The question to ask, at a time when science is able to produce human beings in a laboratory, is this: What has been, since the beginning of time, the Creator’s plan for life, for human sexuality and for the arrival of children into the world? What does God expect each one of us to do to promote this plan?
Choosing life means defending the life and dignity of each person, from his or her conception right up until his or her natural death. It also means walking with all those who cross our path, so that they might flourish while responding to God’s daily call. God’s plan for life involves loving both God and our neighbour, who has been created in God’s image.
Each man, woman and child has been entrusted with a mission for the common good of the world, a mission that no one else can perform for them, such as forming a family where happy children will thrive; giving the gift of time to a child with disabilities or to a volunteer organization; or welcoming a grandparent who can no longer live alone. And, who knows, maybe even discovering a cure for AIDS, making an exceptional movie, composing a symphony or developing new policies in favour of a fairer distribution of the world’s riches.
Everyone will rise to this challenge if they are first allowed the right to live, and then provided with some basic help along the way – constant, loving parental involvement in their upbringing, guidance in the choice of a suitable course of study or career, ongoing assistance in case of an unexpected pregnancy, moral support during unemployment, encouragement in times of sickness and suffering, and compassionate accompaniment when death is near and the passage from life to Life beckons.
Throughout our lives, the God of life calls upon us and counts on us to promote and defend life, our most precious gift. What trust God has placed in us! And what a responsibility that is!
It is important to march for life, to publicly declare that life is sacred and that it must be defended at every stage of development and in all its dimensions. It is important to be involved in the emergence of a culture of life. But let’s also take the time each day to wonder about life, to love life with all its joys and challenges, and to show our gratitude for the very gift of life that comes from God.
Let us awaken with a song of gratitude in our hearts. We have been granted this one more day, this time of our lives. May we be a blessing.
Let us breathe and count each breath as a blessing. We are sustained by the air, by generations who have gone before us and are now part of the dust, the stardust and the air. We are upheld by the earth. We have a place to walk on. We have eyes that can notice the difference between day and night. Once again, may we be amazed, as on the first day of creation, that there is night and there is day, evening and morning.
Let us listen to the world about us, as if on the first day of creation. Not only are there birds, there are flowers and trees greening – even in the midst of our cities.
Let us listen to the beating of our hearts – to the hopes and fears which flow through us and beyond us. However burdened and broken our hearts may be, they are still beating and this too should never be taken for granted.
Let us pause to think about the people we know. May we not take them for granted. Let us grant them, friends and enemies and mere acquaintances, a good measure of respect. They too had their beginning in God.
Awaken to Life! Choose life!
 The Catholic Group for Health, Justice and Life, Awakening to Life – A Meditation, 1999. This brochure is available from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, ON K1H 2J2 – Phone: (613) 241-9461, ext. 161 – Fax: (613) 241-9048. A donation to help offset printing costs would be appreciated. This document is also available on-line at http://ocvf.cccb.ca/Files/awake.pdf.
The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) was jointly founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Knights of Columbus. It promotes respect for life and dignity and the essential role of the family.