By Anne McGuire
December 30, 2016
I'll never forget briefly
getting to know a friend's son, who was in seminary. Something about his gaze
struck me more than anything else: it lacked any trace of trying to obtain
something from me. Instead of focusing on achieving personal objectives, he
simply befriended me for my own sake. It wasn't a romantic situation, so as I
tried to process why I felt so deeply moved, I suddenly realized: I had
experienced the gaze of Christ.
That's what being
pro-life is about. As Cardinal O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., former chair of the
bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, once noted, "we discover our worth
when we discover our true identity found in the unchangeable, permanent fact
that we are created in God's image and likeness and called to an eternal
destiny with him."
means taking a stand against what Pope Francis calls the "throwaway culture,"
which looks out for its own gains, casting people aside as though their lives
are not worth living. It means seeing people as Christ sees and loving them as
Being pro-life is
about cherishing and protecting each person and his or her life at every stage
and in every circumstance. That's why the U. S. Catholic bishops are asking us
to participate in 9 Days for Life—a digital
pilgrimage from January 21-29.
Do you start
novenas intending to pray them all the way through, but often forget? There's
an app for that! (You can customize reminders to pray the bishops' annual,
pro-life novena.) Not into apps? You can join the Facebook event (www.goo.gl/UMtYrL),
download the novena online, or sign up for daily emails or text messages at 9daysforlife.com.
As part of 9 Days
for Life, the bishops are also asking us to share our story with others. You
can post a 5-15 second video of why you are participating in 9 Days for Life,
how you participated that day, or what being pro-life means to you. Or, print
out the customizable sign, fill it in, and post a selfie with the sign. (Find
the sign by clicking on the "Share" button at 9daysforlife.com.) When sharing
the video or picture, use the hashtag #9DaysforLife; if you're
posting on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, be sure to tag @USCCB—we
might share your post!
suggestions for participating can be found at www.9daysforlife.com. For example, consider
having an informal Coffee and Conversation (www.goo.gl/qK7PEF) to
discuss some of the topics referenced in the novena, or host a potluck with
friends and pray one day of the novena together after the meal.
A leaders' toolkit
is available with free, quick, and easy-to-use materials to help parishes,
clergy, press, and Catholic high schools share the merciful message of life not
only from January 21-29, but also throughout the year. To access, click the
"Leaders' Toolkit" button on www.9daysforlife.com.
Sign up now at www.9DaysforLife.com to be moved by mercy, and to share with others the joyful truth that every
life is worth living. Sometimes all it takes is simply stopping long
enough to really see someone.
Anne McGuire is the Assistant
Director of Education and Outreach for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities
of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.