Respect Life: Evangelium Vitae
This year marks the 27th Anniversary of St. John Paul II’s great encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, also known as “The Gospel of Life.” It is a timeless document well worth reading by all Catholics for it sets out a full appreciation of God’s gift of life, the challenges to such, and the role all of us play in protecting and nourishing God’s creation.
Everyone knows too well the danger of abortion, but Evangelium Vitae goes beyond just that assault on the unborn. It is much broader in scope and allows us to see “the culture of life” in all its refinement, and the necessity for its defense. As the sainted pope states, “we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only “faced with” but necessarily “in the midst of” this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life. (28)”
We will return in a later month to focus specifically on abortion. By presently focusing on Evangelium Vitae we see that the struggle for life is not just about legal and political battles. It’s commendable when politicians support the battle against abortion, and victories in court do count for something, but that is just a small part of the battle. And all such political/legal victories can be swiftly undone.
Rather what is needed is the daily commitment to prayer, supporting the faithful, and evangelizing the hostile, i.e., engaging positively in the spiritual and cultural realms. We must prove that our message is positive, we are not just anti-abortion, we are pro-life.
It is especially crucial to enlist the aid of the younger generations who can provide a dynamic presence going forward. The pro-life movement is about long-term, meaningful victories changing the culture from death towards life. It is about converting souls. This endeavor is frustrating and humbling, but the immediate rewards are lives spared and enriched, and let us not forget the eternal rewards — souls saved, ours and those of others! It requires of us patience and persistence and humility and a reliance on the Holy Spirit.
And in this spirit, we offer some useful resources, here.