October is Respect Life Month. During this month each year, the Church invites us into reflection on how we are working to respect the human life and dignity of each person, from the first moment of conception to the time of natural death.
In the Book of Genesis’ first account of creation, the high point of creation is God’s creation of human life, the creation of man and woman, in the image of God and after God’s own likeness.
As that which was created, we are allowed to be participants in God’s creation of human life, which is an awesome and wonderful responsibility gifted to us by God. Because of this responsibility, from the first moment of its conception until the time of natural death, all human life is holy and sacred regardless of the circumstances in which it comes about. Thus, we must see and respect in the life of every person, born and unborn, the image and likeness of God.
The dignity of all human life roots itself in God’s love, and life is good; it is very good. God allows humanity to participate in his greatest gift, his most generous act, which is the transmission of human life. Therefore, in my opinion, we are at one of the highest or perhaps even the highest point of reflecting that we are made in God’s image and likeness when we, as God does, see the goodness of all human life, and reverence all human life.
Conversely and tragically, we are at one of the lowest points away from what God has created us to be when we do not see the goodness of all human life and when we tolerate the evils of capital punishment, racism, euthanasia, assisted suicide, human trafficking and abortion, to name some of the attacks against the dignity of human life.
When we respect this reality of the dignity of all human life, God’s most precious gift, we give honor to the selfless love of the creator and show ourselves to be worthy recipients of so great a gift, worthy receptors of the great trust God has shared with us.
The Genesis account of the first creation story reminds us of the goodness of all creation, the selfless love of God that we are all called to mirror to the best of our ability, and the importance of all human life and our call to respect it. We are called not to be self-focused or selfish in our response to all that God has entrusted to our care. Rather, we shine forth most completely as created in God’s image and likeness when we respect all human life.
As we recognize in a special way the goodness and dignity of all human life during this month, please look for more information from your parish and from the Office of Family and Life Ministries (https://www.archlou.org/pro-life-ministries/) about how you can build a culture of life.
May others witness in our actions the love of God for all and accept the challenge to be what God has created us all to be by respecting the precious, fragile and yet wonderful gift of human life.