Love will always be our greatest need and so it is no surprise love remains front and center among our continuous themes in culture. Just look at the genres that we seek to entertain us. But here is the thing; Christianity teaches that God is love. At its core love is to desire and then to sacrifice for the good of another. Is this really the love our culture is selling? There are in fact many other dimensions to love, but if purity of love is to be present, all other aspects of love need to flow from this first desire and commitment. Total self-giving is associated with God-like love. We have been taught our whole lives as Catholics that we are to seek to love more and more like Christ – to be imitators of Christ (1:11:1 Cor.), as St. Paul says. In order for any of us to have any chance to imitate Christ we must absolutely develop an appreciation of the dignity of the human person. The dignity of the human person rests in the fact that God says we are made in his image and likeness. In order to appreciate the dignity of the human life, we must first comprehend and respect the sacredness of all human life.
So how is it that we live in a nation where 75% of its population claims to be Christian and abortion is a legal right? As I pondered this complicated question, I came to the conclusion that the single greatest impediment used to justify abortion comes through a distorted question. A question posed to confuse and distance one from the truth, similar to the first question posed by the devil – Did God really say…. The abortion question posed: Is the mass inside a woman really a life? There has been incredible posturing taken around this question by both sides. But shedding everything else, even setting Scripture aside for the moment, something paramount now exists that emphatically answers this question from a scientific perspective. Science now proves there is no essential difference between an unborn entity and new born baby. Not only is what is growing in the womb of a woman alive, its very nature is human, it is the product of DNA; therefore, its nature, and its essence, is undeniably human. You and I are humans not because we have feet, hands, can walk, and speak. We are humans because of our nature, our essence, not because of our physical abilities or disabilities.
The follow-up distorted question usually posed is: Shouldn’t a woman have something to say about her own body? The truth is the unborn entity within a pregnant woman’s body is not a part of her body. Once again, DNA beyond any doubt reveals the fetus is genetically distinct, with its own unique and individual gender, blood type, bone structure, and genetic code. Although the unborn fetus is attached to its mother, it is not a part of her. To say that the unborn fetus is a part of its mother is to claim that the mother possesses four legs, two heads, two noses, and in the case of a conceived male – a penis. Yes, in most ways a woman does have a right to control her own body, but she does not have the right to control the unborn fetus, even though for a time the fetus lives inside her body. DNA conclusively bears witness that when the woman terminates the life of another through abortion she is not controlling her body; she is allowing the life of the fetus living inside her to be killed.
We Catholics are asked to do what we can to acknowledge the gross violation of human dignity that legal abortions uphold. Some march, some pray, and some do penance. None of us get a pass, and if we are imitators of Jesus we have to strive to completely be united to him. All of us need to work at changing our culture by first laying down our self-centered ways that do oppose the sacredness of life. Like Christ, we need to cherish life and the truth that this entails. The continuing distortions of our culture are distancing us from revealing the truth that the greatest good of humanity is love, to be loved and to love more perfectly, like God.
The moral decline of humanity started with a lie and the lie continues to perpetuate itself when love, seeking the greater good, is supplanted with self-gratification and selfishness. But there is great hope. There is hope in the good news of Jesus Christ, because he came to reveal that what is dark and painful is not how it ends. He came to reveal that God is indeed love. This love is present, for Christ is with us, and he calls us to stand up for life, to work and pray against anything that seeks to destroy life. The dignity of your life, my life, all life, rests in life being sacred. It will always remain sacred because life comes from God, and is part of his eternal plan. Defending this truth is the highest priority in society. Desiring and seeking the good of another is extremely high on the list of reasons we exist. For it is precisely in desiring and seeking the good of another that we reveal the image and likeness of God we are made in. This is why the protection of the person is the foundation of the Catholic Church’s concern in its entire social ministry.
Imitators of Christ are a voice articulating concern when sacredness of life is dismissed. And defending human life brings to light the much deeper truth of the origin of God’s love, seeking the ultimate good of another.