I read this today over at The Deacon's Bench. Deacon Greg usually posts his homilies and this one for Respect Life Sunday is outstanding.
Her name is Joanne Schiebel. In 1954, she was a young unmarried college student who discovered that she was pregnant. In the 1950s, her options were limited. She could have had an abortion – but the procedure was both dangerous and illegal. She could have gotten married, but she wasn’t ready and didn’t want to interrupt her education. Joanne opted, instead, to give birth to the baby and put it up for adoption.And so it was that in 1955, a California couple named Paul and Clara Jobs adopted a baby boy, born out of wedlock, that they named Steven.We know him today…as Steve Jobs.It would not be overstating things to say that Steve Jobs is my generation’s Thomas Edison. As one observer put it, he knew what the world wanted before the world knew that it wanted it.If you have an iPhone or an iPad or an iPod, or anything remotely resembling them, you can thank Steve Jobs.If your world has been transformed by the ability to hear a symphony, send a letter, pay a bill, deposit a check, read a book and then buy theater tickets on something smaller than a cigarette case…you can thank Steve Jobs.And: you can thank Joanne Schiebel. Read more
I wonder how many Steve Jobs are out there, men and women who have made great contributions to the world but would not be alive if their mothers chose to abort them rather than give them life. Among my friends there are quite a few whose daughter's have become pregnant out of wedlock. They all chose to bring their babies to life, and to keep their babies and raise them. It's not an easy choice, to be a young woman of high school or college age with their whole life ahead of them to now be strapped down by a child, unable to live the carefree life that women of their age enjoy. But the joy that these children have brought to their lives and to the lives of my friends who help in caring for them, makes up for all the fun they may be missing. There are even a few important people in my life who would not be here if their mothers chose to abort them. I thank God their mothers chose life.
I also think of those couples who long for a child but cannot have one of their own. How selfless it is for a young girl to give up her child to a couple who would love and raise him or her, offering this child a stable home life and opportunities that a frightened teenage mother might not be able to offer her child. I pray for these young women who find themselves in this situation and with a heavy decision to make. It is not easy for a teenager to give up a child, and it is not easy to raise one if she is not long out of childhood herself. It is not easy if her parents disown her and she is forced to go through pregnancy alone. That is why being Pro-Life does not just mean speaking out against abortion, but caring for those who find themselves in the situation where abortion seems the only solution. It means supporting organizations that support women in crisis pregnancies and those who choose to keep their babies. It also means that we need to respect life in all stages and all situations, for as soon as we stop respecting people, especially the most vulnerable and those who seem to be worthless to others, then it becomes easier to accept the most heinous affronts to human life, like abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty
Deacon Greg ends his homily with these words:
“Respect life” is more than just a catchphrase. It needs to be a way of living. Respect life. Not just in the womb, but everywhere, at every time, in all circumstances — within our families, our communities, the places we work and do business. It means treating every life with dignity, and honoring every life as a gift.Doing that, moment by moment, we will begin to change the culture.And: heart by heart, we will begin to change the world.
As we celebrate Respect Life Sunday, I pray that with the grace of God, we will change the world.