Opening My Heart to Life (en español)
By Mary McClusky
you have kids?" my co-worker asked as he looked at an old family photo of me surrounded
by nieces and nephews. He was helping me move into a new office, and my mind
was focused on the many other duties that were piling up. He went on to mention
that he and his wife had adopted twin sons from Guatemala. However, I was
distracted and simply said, "that's great" before moving the conversation along.
I turned my mind towards promoting the theme of this year's Respect Life
Program, "Open your hearts to life!" I realized what I had done. The phrase, borrowed
from Pope Francis, reminds us that the culture of death begins with a culture
of rejection. In seemingly trivial ways, we often place our desires over the
needs of others. I had placed my to-do list ahead of my co-worker's desire to
share the details of his children's adoption. As Pope Francis said recently, "We
must all care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth... to give life
is to open our hearts, and to care for life is to give oneself in tenderness
and warmth for others, to have concern in our hearts for others." Christ calls
us to open our hearts, sacrifice our own wants, and love others with generosity
realizing my hurried response did not reflect that call, I went back to my
colleague and asked him to tell me his family's story. I listened as he described
the pain of his wife's ectopic pregnancy and how they chose adoption over the
unacceptable choice of IVF that was presented by their physician. The couple
tackled mounds of paperwork and received visits from fire marshals and social
workers. Even after they were approved for adoption, there was still a great
deal of uncertainty. They accepted the risks associated with not knowing the
history of their children's biological parents and the challenge of accepting that
an adoption could be mere months or several years away.
The couple checked
"yes" to accepting more than one child, including the possibility of siblings.
The adoption agency told them they had never had twins from Guatemala because they
usually don't survive, so they were surprised a few months later when they
received the call that they had been chosen to adopt twin sons. In February of
the following year, they traveled to Guatemala to meet their sons and bring
them home. "It was amazing. We were a family," said my co-worker. "The adoption
experience was a challenge, but it was worth it," he went on to explain.
our hearts to life means loving those whom God puts in our paths, even when it
seems inconvenient or time-consuming. Listening to my co-worker's story not
only enabled him to feel supported and affirmed, but I also gained a great deal
from the experience. I learned more about adoption and grew in my desire to
advocate for adoption to others. And by loving the person in front of me at
that moment, my heart was opened more fully to God's plan for life.
day brings many chances to reflect Christ's love for others. As we celebrate
Respect Life Month this October, may each of us remember to keep our hearts
open to each and every person whom God puts in our path, loving and praying for
them all with an open heart.
more about joining in the celebration of Respect Life Month by contacting your
local diocesan pro-life office or visiting www.usccb.org/respectlife.
Mary McClusky is Assistant Director for Education &
Outreach at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops. To learn more about the bishops' pro-life activities, go to www.usccb.org/prolife.
Join the Bishops' Call to Prayer and Fasting for Life,
Marriage & Religious Liberty.
Visit www.usccb.org/pray or
text "FAST" to 99000. Join the Movement!