Respect life

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Each year, Catholics in the United States dedícate the first Sunday in October to ponder the incomparable gift of human life and the many threats it faces on account of unjust laws, especially in its most vulnerable stages.

St. John Paul II spoke of the family as the sancturay of life and Pope Francis addressed the following words to a forum of family associations:

“Family life is a sacrifice but a beautiful sacrifice. Love is like making pasta: every day. Love in marriage is a challenge for the man and for the woman. What is the man’s greatest challenge? To help his wife become ‘more woman’. More woman. So she may grow as a woman. And what is the woman’s challenge? To help her husband become ‘more man’. And thus, they both move forward. They move forward…

The family is an adventure, a beautiful adventure! And today — I say this with heartache — we see that so often one thinks about starting a family and getting married as if it were a lottery: “Let’s go. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t work, we cancel the matter and start over”. This superficiality about the greatest gift God has given to humanity: the family. Because, after the account of the creation of man, God shows that he created man and woman in his image and likeness. And when Jesus himself talks about marriage, he says: “A man shall leave his father and mother and with his wife shall become one flesh”. Because they are the image and likeness of God. You are the icon of God: the family is the icon of God. Man and woman: are the very image of God. He said so, I am not saying it. And this is great; it is sacred.

Then today — it hurts to say it — we speak of ‘diversified’ families: different types of family. Yes, it is true that the word ‘family’ is an analogical term, because it refers to the ‘family’ of stars, to ‘families’ of trees, to ‘families’ of animals … it is an analogical term. But the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is one alone. It is one alone. It may be that a man and a woman are not believers: but if they love each other and become joined in marriage, they are the image and likeness of God, even though they do not believe. It is a mystery: Saint Paul calls it the “great mystery”, the “great sacrament”…

Once I met a couple married for 10 years, without children. Talking about this is very delicate, because many times they want children but they do not come, isn’t it true? I did not know how to broach the subject. Then I learned that they did not want children. But these people had three dogs, two cats…. It is nice to have a dog, a cat, it’s nice…. Or when at times you hear them tell you: “Yes, yes, but we do not have children yet because we have to buy a house in the country, then travel…”. Children are the greatest gift. Children who are welcomed as they come, as God sends them, as God allows — even if at times they are sick. I have heard that it is in fashion — or at least customary — in the first months of pregnancy to have certain exams, to see whether the baby is not well, or has some problems…. The first proposal in that case is: “Shall we do away with it?”. The murder of children. And to have a nice life, they do away with an innocent.

When I was a boy, the teacher was teaching us history and told us what the Spartans did when a baby was born with deformities: they carried it up the mountain and cast it down, to maintain “the purity of the race”. And we were stunned: “But how, how could they do this, the poor babies!”. It was an atrocity. Today we do the same thing. Have you ever wondered why you do not see many dwarfs on the streets? Because the protocol of many doctors — many, not all — is to ask the question: “Will it have problems?”. It pains me to say this. In the last century the entire world was scandalized over what the Nazis were doing to maintain the purity of the race. Today we do the same thing, but with white gloves.

Family, love, patience, joy, and frittering away time with the family. You spoke about something bad: that there is no opportunity to “fritter the time away”, because to earn a living today one has to have two jobs, because the family is not taken into consideration. You also spoke about the young people who cannot get married because there is no work. The family is being threatened by unemployment.…

I spoke about children as the treasure of promise. But there is another treasure in the family: it is grandparents. Please, take care of grandparents! Have the grandparents talk; have the children speak with their grandparents. Embrace grandparents; do not distance them from the family because they are annoying, because they repeat the same things. Love grandparents, and have them talk to the children.”

Fr. Roberto M. Cid