By Superintendent Samuel Torres
The failure to support life in the womb or for the elderly is tragic and considered to be our greatest threat to humanity. The basic human right to be born and to die a natural death has been debated and researched over time, and while convincing science supports preborn life, there are still many who refuse the facts.
Aside from the beginning and end life stages, do we ever think about how our daily choices reflect a pro-life attitude? Asking ourselves this question often and examining our responses in light of today’s social, political and spiritual climate has never been more important.
Recognizing October as Respect Life month, Christians were invited to reflect on the threats to the dignity of the human person that exist in the world today. We took this time to reflect on the sanctity of life and how life intersects with our communities.
While October has ended, we should always work to build up a culture of life throughout the year. We should produce good works, cause no harm to person or resource and seek justice. Our faith calls us to take positive steps to help one another, while participating in our society in healthy ways.
This year our Church has also asked us to honor and reflect on how St. Joseph defended the life of Jesus and Mary. His faithful protection saw them through dangerous times resulting in our Savior’s magnificent journey towards acting on our behalf for our redemption.
One of our pro-life responsibilities is to protect and nurture the physical and spiritual care of our children. The journey from infancy to preschool and then through elementary requires many sacrifices and long hours, forming a child’s conscience and way of understanding her faith so that, when entering high school and college, the child has a proper moral foundation and the confidence to successfully overcome societal and peer challenges.
This requires many varied and positive experiences and conversations held through a community experience. A daily life-giving environment supports this journey and strengthens the family commitment.
Our Catholic schools are very aware that the communities they create support the daily strengthening of values and decision-making of our youth. Programs within the curriculum that raise awareness of creation topics, promote leadership and confidence and strengthen the poor among us help our students understand and participate in a full range of experiences that nurture them spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Additionally, the students realize they are to care for others in the community and recognize the dignity of all. Catholic school students are action-oriented doers with a daily pro-life mentality. These ideas permeate the school culture and enliven the community.
Catholic school parents regularly remark that they are energized and lifted in their faith through the involvement they experience in supporting the school environment, or through conversation with children growing in their faith. This tells me the effects of the school community are reaching others beyond the school and nurturing a pro-life attitude.
Once creating a pro-life culture within the school community, folks are compelled to share the goodness of this attitude beyond the school. Our world is desperate for this message.
Amidst the pervasive culture of death in our world, we must not only pray hard for justice and life-giving attitudes among us, but also become action-oriented doers of goodness. Even beyond Respect Life Month, may we commit to reflecting on our pro-life attitude.
In our daily lives, we will find that a life-giving attitude permeates our thoughts, language and assumptions towards others and the way we spend our time. We may want to ask ourselves, what was life-giving about the way I interacted, or how can I be more life-giving in my conversations? Where can I make a difference? St. Joseph, defender of life, pray for us!
Dr. Samuel Torres is Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of San Bernardino.