Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Value of All Life

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of Sr. Lucille Baker. She had been in a serious car accident about a month ago, but her body wasn't strong enough to heal since she had open heart surgery 6 weeks before the accident.

I was on mission with Sr. Lucille in Macon, GA. I taught in the Catholic elementary school and she worked at Mother and Child Ministries. This ministry was a pro-life ministry that supported women with young children. It is now part of Family Advancement Ministries. Sr. Lucille's responsibility was the parent education component. She would set up classes for the women with people from the community. Classes include budgeting, nutrition, GED preparation, computer skills, banking, and various other things. The ministry has done so much to help improve the lives of the children whose mothers "chose life".

In September Sr. Liz Sjoberg and Sr. Carol Durkin participated in Catoctin Pregnancy Center's Run for Life and both "placed" in their age categories.

And last week week I participated in 40 Days for Life by praying outside a clinic. This was such a prayerful experience. We were on the sidewalk on the outside perimeter of the parking lot, just a silent prayerful presence with signs present offering free help. Unlike some other experiences I have had, this one was very respectful of the women who find themselves in a desperate situation without support.
So, what is the point of my varied thoughts here? It is so easy to cherish and miss those we love--as I experience the loss of Sr. Lucille. Then there are the lives of those we will never meet. How much am I willing to do to support the coming to life of a child I don't know? Do I turn my back on the child and mother once the child is born? Sr. Lucille's ministry in Macon is a good example of not only being charitable in a time of crisis, but also acting justly by helping the mother, and therefore the child, have the tools to better their lives.
Cardinal Bernardin called us to have a "seamless garment" view of respect for life. God created all life as sacred and that sacredness remains since we are made in God's own likeness. Sometimes that is difficult to remember when I deal with a challenging person whose views greatly oppose my own. Or sometimes I am quick to judge a person by his/her situation without ever trying to understand the life and experience that has brought that person to this moment.
I pray that I may be more of a beatitude person each day living out Matt. 25 (whatever you did for the least of these you did for me) and not fall into the trap judgement. Wouldn't it be heaven on earth if we all could do that?

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