Sense of Life. Articles in English. Life or Death?.
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Life or Death?

The Pharisees once sharply criticized Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath. To this Jesus replied, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Mk 3: 4). Today Christ’s disciples are criticized for refusing to allow the killing of unborn children and demanding respect for human life from conception to natural death.

The situation has radically changed. If in their admirable zeal to preserve one of God’s commandments the Pharisees denied people acts of mercy, today’s world ignores all the commandments and God Himself to satisfy its greed for money and power. Let us not fool ourselves. The abortion and contraception industry deals in vast amounts of money and will not willingly part with it. Alas, this money is stained with the blood of innocent victims.

It does not surprise me that those who benefit from these crimes will not stint on their aggressive promotion of abortion, contraception, and euthanasia. What does amaze me is that ordinary people — the very ones whose pockets the industry means to rifle — willingly support this suicidal ideology. They imagine they are free to do as they please. No one can forbid them this or that course of action.

But Jesus proposes another rationale for our conduct: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7: 12). That is why it is worthwhile to consider the whole issue from another vantage point. Let us ask ourselves the question: would I wish to be aborted? After seeing such films as Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s The Silent Scream, I am convinced no one would wish to undergo what a child has to undergo when it is killed in the mother’s womb — a place intended to be a safe haven for a human being on the threshold of life. No normal person would wish to endure this. Why, then, are so many of us ready to impose such pain on a defenseless child — and then call this “freedom?” And why are defenders of unborn life so reviled and mocked?

There is only one explanation. Jesus Himself stated: “The world … hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil” (Jn 7: 7). Later, turning to his disciples, He explained: “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (15: 20). Those who follow Jesus and regard human life as of paramount and unquestionable value will be hated by a world which does evil and reaps profits from human suffering. But those who keep Jesus’ words cannot remain indifferent in the face of unchecked evil.

Affiliation is the key factor in our approach to human life. If we are disciples of Jesus, we need to be sensitive to the harm done to our neighbor. We need to identify with every suffering person just as Jesus does. We need to speak out in defense of the weakest among us just as Jesus does. And if for this we are criticized, reviled, or even persecuted, then we receive that special blessing promised by Jesus: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat 5: 11-12).

May these words sound a warning to those who consider themselves Catholics and yet remain indifferent to the fate of children killed before they are born. Their indifference or (God forbid!) support of abortion may well be the reason why Jesus is unable to bless them. Jesus may well say to them on the Last Day: “They killed me in my mother’s womb, and you did nothing” (cf. Mat 25: 41-46).

St. Peter’s successor, the Venerable John Paul II wrote: “No single person or group has a monopoly on the defense and promotion of life. These are everyone’s task and responsibility” (Evangelium vitae, 91). Everyone has a part in the task of defending life. More than that: everyone who considers himself a disciple of Jesus Christ and an addressee of John Paul II’s words must undertake some action for the defense of life.

Observe the paradox: every country in the Europe (and many elsewhere) struggles with demographic problems and yet every one of these countries allows its unborn children to be killed without even the necessity of giving a reason. Every one of these countries lacks manpower, and yet the right to euthanasia, originally forced on the people for the specious reason of “shortening suffering” is rapidly extending to all those unable to cope with life. Institutions offering their killing services to all those who want to commit suicide are springing up everywhere. No longer do you have to hang yourself from a tree. Instead you can go to one of these places, pay the fee, and the rest they do for you. This is the final achievement of the “culture of death,” which John Paul II warned us against many years ago.

It is all quite simple: man no sooner turns away from the God, the Giver of Life, than he begins to die spiritually. Before long he is on the broad road to physical self-extermination.

Jesus expects us to take decisive steps. We can take part in organized Marches for Life and Life Chains. We can practice spiritual adoption. We can financially support agencies fighting for the right to life and a dignified death for all. We can simply pray for particular people on the front lines of the right-to-life battle. We can speak up when our friends raise the subject of abortion. We can ask advocates of abortion if they would have wanted their mother to pay for their curettage, for example.

Let us not be afraid of ridicule! The Holy Spirit will make use of our words, to awaken someone’s conscience; and he will lavish his blessings upon us as Jesus promised (Mat 5: 11).

Mirosław Rucki

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in August 2016.

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