Reflecting more deeply on the dignity of every human life

The archdiocese observed Respect Life Month, themed, “Christ Our Hope in Every Season of Life,” with three life-themed Masses in October, calling Catholics to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end and every point in between.

“A Consistent Ethic of Life,” was the theme of the liturgy celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, on Oct. 6 at San Fernando Cathedral.

In the first reading at the Mass, Habakkuk cries out to God from the depths of his being: “How long, O Lord?” The people of God, the prophet says, have lost their way. They have abandoned the values of the covenant that are to guide their relationships with God and one another. Instead of searching for the truth, there is deceit. Instead of caring for the poor and vulnerable, there is greed and selfishness. Instead of service, there is grasping for power and domination. Instead of respect for every human life, there is neglect and violence. How long, Habakkuk prophet asks, before all of us come to our senses?!

The archbishop related the words of the prophet to now living in a time of deepening divisions within society. “Polarization has set in, and the unity of a harmonious society has been fractured,” said Archbishop Gustavo. “There is widespread abandonment of our basic values — the values of the gospel, the teaching of the Church.”

“What can we do?” he asked. The archbishop replied, “First, we pray to God who alone can set things right. God’s plan is that we live in peace, harmony, and unity. God’s kingdom is a place of respect for every human life, peace and justice, mercy and compassion, love. We need to pray daily to acknowledge that our lives are ultimately in God’s good, loving, and powerful hands. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, strength, and courage to strive for respect for every human life.”

St. Teresa of Avila said we are to pray as though everything depends on God — because it does!  And to work as though everything depends on us — because it does!

Therefore, explained the Missionary of the Holy Spirit, we also have to act in order to restore our values in society.

“Jesus came among us as one who serves, not as one who is to be served. We need to get out of our isolation and work for justice and peace, for the care of the poor and vulnerable, for defense of the unborn and the born!” stressed the San Antonio prelate. He continued, “God creates every person in his own image and likeness. Wherever life is discounted or threatened or taken, all lives are eventually in jeopardy.”

Archbishop Gustavo emphasized that while some may rightly focus on a single life issue, the Church as a whole — including its priests and bishops — need to address all human life issues. “We need to support one another and work together in defense of all human life.”

In the second reading, St. Paul reminded the faithful that the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, will guide and strengthen us on our journey. “Our Lady of Guadalupe is with us always,” the archbishop told listeners.

Later in the month, Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette presided at a Mass at St. John Neumann Church on Oct. 12 with the theme, “The Parish: Called to be a People of Life.”

On Sunday, Oct. 27, at 12:30 p.m., St. Ann Church at 210 St. Ann Street will host a liturgy with the theme of “The Gift of Life: Accompanying Expectant Mothers in Need.” Father Larry Christian, pastor, will be the celebrant at the liturgy.

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