by Mary Prentis
Growing up in Florida, I often heard comments from friends and family living up North about how beautiful the transitions of the changing seasons were. Still, I was content in my subtropical paradise and shrugged off any idea that I could be missing out on anything important. Yet having recently experienced (and survived) my first northern winter, I’ve learned valuable lessons about shifting from the dark of winter to the welcoming glow of spring.
Like winter creeping in, our thoughts may sometimes become dark and somewhat jaded as we attempt to build a culture that welcomes and respects human life. But spring brings a promise of new hope and new life. It is a season of renewal and a chance to clear our minds of negative thoughts and ponder our lives and whether we are sowing good seeds through simple acts of generosity and mercy. This is helpful to contemplate as we journey through the Easter season, having renewed our baptismal promises – and thus our commitment to follow Jesus – at Easter. As followers of Christ, we are called to build his Kingdom here on earth—a Kingdom in which every person is cherished and every human life respected and protected. And although we trust in the ultimate victory of Christ over sin and death, our task is not easy.
We may become discouraged with the advances of the “culture of death,” especially when media outlets inaccurately portray our intentions, motivations, and efforts. We may feel as though we need to constantly be on the defense. But what if we try a new approach? Instead of being reactive, let’s take a proactive approach. When we encounter others, let’s share a positive message of joy and love. After all, as Pope Francis frequently reminds us, pro-life is pro-love. As he said in his Christmas message last December, abortion destroys children “before they ever see the light of day, deprived of the generous love of their parents and buried in the selfishness of a culture that does not love life.”
As we take time to “spring clean” our homes, let us also entrust our burdens to the Lord and ask him to cleanse and renew our hearts. Going to the sacrament of reconciliation, we receive the graces necessary to grow in holiness and to strengthen our resolve to grow in love and do God’s will. Scripture says it best: “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).
Now that the cold has passed, I am spending more time outside appreciating the beauty that this time of year brings. I am filled with the joy of renewal, both interior and exterior. We should apply this joy to our endeavors to build up the Kingdom of God – a kingdom of life. Although it might seem like we are fighting an uphill battle, our side will eventually prevail, and we can celebrate the fact that our efforts are not in vain.
In the meantime, we must lift up in prayer each other, our Church leaders, and others who work to protect all human life. This new season is a perfect opportunity to create a new course of action and to commit (or re-commit) to promoting respect for life at all stages, in and out of season. If you haven’t visited the website for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities lately, there are many resources, such as educational articles, videos, and prayers that we hope you will find useful as you seek to spring into action to support life!
Mary Prentis is staff assistant for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on the bishops’ pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife.