by Guest Writer, TLI Graduate Class of 2018
Being pro-life doesn’t end at the voting booth, with a social media post on respecting the unborn, attending the March for Life, or even in serving in post-abortive healing retreats. All of these are important ways that I work toward building a culture of life, but being pro-life extends to my daily professional life as a Catholic.
Being pro-life is about orienting yourself to the dignity of the person before you. I am inspired by role models like Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa, who allowed Christ to be present in them and who saw Him in those they served.
My full-time job involves meeting people of all ages where they are at in life and seeking the image of Christ in them. Sometimes people come with mental illnesses seeking help for employment and housing, some being on the verge of homelessness. My interactions involve people of all walks of life and ethnicities: students, widows, immigrants, and people with disabilities amongst others. At times, it’s people who are using drugs and are dealing with past issues, often projecting their past hurts onto you. I have worked with expecting mothers whose children have been taken by the protection agency because they lack the support and/or parenting skills they need. Other times, it’s the elderly who are transitioning to new phases in life and dealing with loneliness.
The people I meet are not in the best shape. They don’t realize the lessons they teach me by permitting me to enter into their lives and to listen to their heroic efforts of surviving and seeking stability with what they have and know.
Sometimes I receive a call from someone to thank me for just listening. In the simplicity of that moment, I can’t help but think it is all God’s work. They want to live, they want to learn from their mistakes, they want opportunities just like anyone else.
And yet, in their needs, I can’t help but be reminded of the unspoken needs of the unborn in the womb of their mothers. Like the persons I see at my job, they too want to live, thrive, and be given opportunities. They want to be seen and heard.
Have you ever seen the ultrasound video directed and narrated by Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson? In this graphic video he demonstrates how the baby is trying to flee from the pain and danger being inflicted by the abortionist. It would appear that the baby is screaming for its life inside of what would be the safest place in the world, inside the mother’s womb. It is the baby’s temporary home and yet boundaries are forcefully crossed, by the abortionist, only to tear the baby apart and further separate the baby from his mother. This atrocity has no borders and occurs daily all over the world.
I want to invite you to begin praying outside of Planned Parenthood during this Lenten season. Do this with your family. If you are single, do this with a group of friends. If you are engaged or newly married, consider doing this together. Offer that time up in prayer and consider praying for the unborn, their parents, the staff, and the abortionists. Think of these tiny, vulnerable human beings as the ones who can’t yet be heard, because we don’t take the time to listen to them with our hearts. The ones who can’t yet say “thank you” for listening, but who will one day. We were all there at some point, but we were given the opportunity to be born.
Yes, to be pro-life means to show up for the unborn and work with the pro-life movement. But, you are called to live an integrated life – as a professional, you must listen to the people in front of you. Meet people where they are. See the privilege that it is to walk with people in their brokenness and to affirm their dignity – only then will we build a culture of life.