Annual March for Life
“Upholding the Sanctify of Life, A Sacred Duty”
As we celebrate life, God’s gift to us, let us reflect on the Sanctity of Life, from the perspective of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
The Sanctity of Life: Yesterday’s Perspective:
- The Supreme Court of the United States invalidates 50 state laws and made abortion legal – on demand – throughout the United States in the decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
- The first March for Life walks on Washington to lobby Congressional leadership to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court’s decision. Soon after realizing congressional protection of the unborn was not on the horizon, a March for Life every year until Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The National March for Life in Ottawa, in our nation’s capital, typically the largest annual protest on Parliament Hill, takes place each May to mark the passing of the 1969 omnibus bill which decriminalized abortion. Since then, pro-lifers rally in front of our Parliament building and march through downtown Ottawa, demanding that our political representatives fight for the right to life of every human being.
Over the years, not only in Ottawa, but throughout Canada, in towns and cities small and large, March for Life has brought together hundreds of thousands of Canadians of all ages.
The Sanctity of Life: Today’s Perspective:
March for Life has necessarily grown over the years in regards to its prayerful intent and desire. The protection of the unborn is still first and foremost on the minds and hearts of the organizers and participants. At the same time, March for Life seeks to transform the hearts of all, including our elected officials, to enact laws that protect life from conception until natural death.
From conception to natural death.
Today another storm is on the horizon, indeed, is already here. Medical Assistance in Dying. The passage of Bill C-7 into law on March 7, 2021 by the Government of Canada, greatly expands the eligibility criteria within Canada’s “MAiD” legislation, allowing euthanasia and assisted suicide for those whose death is not reasonably foreseeable. In our recent Message from the Catholic Bishops in Canada on this matter, we write, “The possible pressures that will be placed on persons with mental illnesses or disabilities resulting from the most recent legislative changes are all too real, perilous and potentially destructive. Our position remains unequivocal. Euthanasia and assisted suicide constitutes the deliberate killing of human life in violation of God’s Commandments; they erode our shared dignity by failing to see, to accept, and accompany those suffering and dying. Furthermore, they undermine the fundamental duty we have to take care of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. Human life must be protected from conception to natural death, at all stages, and in all conditions.
The Sanctity of Life: Tomorrow’s Perspective
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, celebrates the Sanctity of Life from conception to natural death, and everything in between. He writes, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
In Pope Francis’ latest book, “Let Us Dream, the Path to a Better Future,” he offers a path to a better future. He sees hope coming out of the crisis of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Holy Father writes:
We must redesign the economy so that it can offer every person access to a dignified existence while protecting and regenerating the natural world.
What is the greatest fruit of a personal crisis? I’d say patience, sprinkled with a healthy sense of humour, which allows us to endure and make space for change to happen.
When I speak of change I mean that those people who are now on the edges become the means of changing society.
We do not possess the truth so much as the truth possesses us, constantly attracting us by means of beauty and goodness.
Sin is a rejection of the limits that love requires.
Our greatest power is not in the respect that others have for us, but the service we can offer others.
The Sanctity of Life: God’s Perspective
Perhaps I’ve led you astray up until now, intentionally albeit. In reflecting on the Sanctify of Life under the context of yesterday, today, and tomorrow’s perspectives, one could almost come to the conclusion that everything that has happened in the March for Life movement has been accomplished by ourselves, and by ourselves alone. In our reflection thus far, I’ve intentionally left out another perspective. And in reality, the only one that counts: God’s perspective.
God’s perspective reminds us today of the story of creation and the original meaning of the Sanctify of Life. As we read in the Book of Genesis, “God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Created in the image and likeness of God, our vocation then, our calling, is to become like God, to grow in holiness, to accept God’s invitation, and original plan, to grow in loving communion with God and with one another.
Let us not reject God’s plan to be holy, to respect the sanctify of life that God’s self, the Author and the very Giver of Life, bestows upon us. Adam and Eve of old did just that, and it didn’t turn out all too well for them. They were tempted by a false holiness, a false divinization, suggesting the thought of becoming God but without God, by means of one’s own efforts.
Rather, let us accept God’s plan for us, God’s love, God’s mercy, and let us acknowledge anew, respect, support and defend the Sanctify of Life, from conception to its natural death.
Indeed, the message of Easter, the message of the Resurrection, is the message of hope. Jesus comes into the world as one of us to tell us of God’s love and to invite us to follow him. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, he offers us the hope of a new life, eternal life, in communion with God as God had intended, from the very beginning, when he first created us.
A word of thanks and gratitude
In conclusion, we truly wish to acknowledge and support all those individuals and communities who continue to support and defend the Sanctify of Life, in prayer and in action.
Let us renew our involvement wherever we live, and to partner with members of our parish or other faith groups and organizations to continue lobbying our elected officials about these matters.
Above all, as the Catholic Bishops in Canada write, “we need to pray earnestly for a new outpouring of grace, so that the fear and despair experienced by many will give way to courage and hope and that all may welcome the call to support [the Sanctify of Life] in ways that reflect the loving and compassionate gaze of Jesus, the risen Lord who lives forever.” Amen.