Since this is Respect Life Month, I thought I’d share with you my experience of this week. I happen to serve on the Board of Advisors of Respect Life for my diocese. Tonight we had our bi-monthly meeting, which I chair. Now, you have to know that we have a very rich board, in in money, but in gifts. We have a bishop, a priest, myself (a religious brother), a nurse, lawyer, banker, businessman, teacher, and an insurance broker and many of them are also parents and spouses. Our agenda today was to reflect on the purpose of the Board.
It was a beautiful experience. I want to share with you some of the reflections that came out. I’ll put them in bullets to make them easier for me to remember.
To support the life of the unborn child and his/her parents so that justice may be done and the child’s right to birth may be protected.
To evangelize to the world and proclaim that through the Incarnation of Christ humanity is lifted up from being sinful to being a gift that the Father gives to his Son.
To support the Church in her never ending struggle to bring men and women into communion with the Will of the Father.
To bring together the different roles and calls that Christ gives to men: married men and women; clergy; and religious as one body, which Christ has lifted up on the cross for the salvation of all, including the unborn and the vulnerable members of society.
To take from this table the message of the Gospel of life and deliver it to those whom we represent in all walks of life and through our presence in different contexts to evangelize all men announcing our solidarity with God the Father who wills that all may have life.
I happen to have arrived in the diocese at an opportune time. When I arrived here, several months ago, the Respect Life Ministry was being reorganized. I presented myself to the local bishop, as is expected by canon law and because I’m a Franciscan Brother of Life, he asked me to work directly with the ministry, which was being reorganized. I went to see the Director and she invited me to come to a meeting. She explained that they wanted to create a Board of Advisors and asked me to be on it. I accepted the invitation with great joy. That’s why I became a Franciscan, to bring Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures to the whole world. In the Canticle, our holy Father Francis makes a very powerful statement. Even if you could quiet the angels and saints, even if you could quiet the Church, the created universe would proclaim the glory of God through Life. Thus the glory of God cannot be hidden from man.
As a Franciscan Brother of Life I do not have a car. I usually ride buses, but tonight I did not have any money for the bus. I had to walk the eight miles to the meeting and back home. As I was walking home I was thinking about the comments that were made at the meeting, which I posted above and I realized, that this is what Francis was trying to say to the world through the Canticle of the Creatures. Our mission, as a people called by Christ, is to proclaim, protect, and promote the work of the Father by standing for life. I thought I’d share these reflections with you, because they really moved me to prayer and made my eight-mile walk very short. My parting thought is this. We need more Brothers of Life, not to leave out the laity, but to join the laity in service to our unborn brothers and sisters who also belong to the Mystical Body. If you’re a single man and you like walking long distances and living in extreme poverty for the sake of the vulnerable and want to proclaim the glory of God to the world, this may be a call for you.
Feel free to comment.
Br. JR, OSF