Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,
Every October is designated as Respect Life Month- a time to recognize and defend the dignity of every life in its beginning, middle, and end. The United States Bishops offer this reflection on Respect Life Month through the lens of it being the Year of St. Joseph.
“St. Joseph Faithful Protector of Mother and Child:
The infant Christ “came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph” (PC 5). The humble and often hidden carpenter of Nazareth accompanied Mary in her pregnancy, assisted at the birth of the Messiah in a stable, presented Jesus in the Temple, fled with his family far from their homeland to protect them, and lovingly raised Jesus as his own son in the years to come.
While the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary to announce that she would bring forth the Savior of the world, it was revealed to Joseph in a series of dreams how God’s plans would be brought to fulfillment. As Pope Francis highlights, “God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child” (PC 5).
Like every other human family, the Holy Family had to confront real and concrete challenges. Yet, “in every situation, Joseph declared his own ‘fiat’” (PC 3). His “yes” to the Lord meant that regardless of the hardship and personal sacrifice to himself, he consistently chose to put the needs of Mary and Jesus before his own. Joseph’s devotion helps reveal to us our own call to show special care for the lives of those whom God has entrusted to us.
During this Year of St. Joseph, each of us can find in him “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble” (PC, Intro). Joseph shows us how to say “yes” to life, despite our own fears, frailties, and weaknesses. For it is Joseph who was “chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true ‘miracle’ by which God saves the child and his mother” (PC 5).
May we, too, be miracles in the lives of those who are most in need, especially at the beginning and end of life. Dear St. Joseph, you who were “able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence” (PC 5), help us to imitate your faithful trust and courage.” (Excerpts from Patris corde)
This month is a powerful time for both prayer and action. Praying for a greater respect of life in our world or interceding for a particular person you know that is struggling is a great act of love and service.
We can be more comfortable with prayer but I do encourage action as well. Look for something concrete. A person you can reach out to and support in a real way if you know someone who is going through a hard time. Support Catholic Charities who do so much to reach people that we can’t reach ourselves. Consider taking part in Jackson Right to Life 2021 Life Chain