Now that the warning is out of the way, on with the post.
About a week ago, I had the incredible blessing of being able to go on retreat with a group of amazingly fabulous, awe-inspiring women. I've come to know these women through an online moms group (CMOMC) , but this was the first time I'd met many of them in person. The retreat fed me both spiritually and socially, and I am incredibly grateful to my husband and family for helping to get me there.
One blessing that came out of this retreat, that I wasn't expecting, was a closer relationship with St Maximilian Kolbe. See, the retreat was held at Marytown, near Chicago, which is the home to the National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe. I was able to learn so much more about him and his life, and really started to feel a desire to learn even more. He's a recent saint - he would be the same age as close family members (grandparents) if he was still living. He experienced the SAME things as some family members. He fought some of the same evils as my own family members. I should have known more about him, but I didn't. (FYI: if you want to know about St. Maximilian Kolbe, look here.) To be totally upfront and honest, I am "saint-ignorant." I never really learned much about any saint before recently - to me, they were often just the name of the church down the street. I knew basic facts about many (when they lived, if they experienced apparitions, if they wrote a certain popular prayer, etc), but know very little in-depth information about more than just a few. I think a lot of Catholics are like me, and don't realize just how vast of a resource we have been given in the Saints. Our Church has given us a beautiful gift...and many of us don't even recognize it.
Anywho, I digress. Like I was saying, I've had this incredible desire to read as much as I can about St. Maximilian Kolbe since coming back from Marytown. He definitely does NOT disappoint, and I recommend that you do the same. It's slightly ironic, I think, that my desire to learn more about him coincides with what has become my favourite time of year: the 40 Days for Life campaign. You see, St. Maximilian Kolbe is one of the patron saints for the family and the pro-life movement. JPII (that's Pope John Paul II, for non-Catholics) declared him the "Patron Saint of our difficult century."
St. Maximilian Kolbe didn't mince words. I stumbled across this quote from him today, and it has been echoing in my head all morning. I actually put homeschooling on pause today so I could come down and write about this - that's how much he's been speaking to me today. St. Maximilian Kolbe said:
This train of thought is fascinating to me, especially as I'm immersed in the 40 Days for Life campaign right now (it's day 21, if you're curious). I'm a natural debater. I always have been. I love to learn, I love to research, and I love to discuss what I have learned and research. This kind of gets me into "trouble", especially in the world of social media (i.e. Facebook, this time around). Finding this quote today, of all days, as I'm involved in a discussion about abortion on Facebook, is incredible.
(here's where the warning comes into play - if you choose to keep reading, remember the stated rules above).
I am pro-life. I haven't always been. This is something I've come to recognize as the Truth over the years. You know that deep-down feeling in the pit of your stomach? The one that you can't shove away or ignore? It's there, no matter how you try to convince yourself it isn't? That's me and abortion. I tried to buy the pro-choice arguments, but deep-down, I knew in the pit of my stomach that it was wrong. Deep-down, I knew it was not what God wanted for us. Over the past 10 years or so, I've learned so much more about abortion, and seen what it can do to friends and family members, and that deep-down feeling grew and grew.
Very recently, I've started being willing to speak out against abortion. I've started being willing to share alternatives to abortion, and try to work to strengthen those alternatives. I've started putting myself out there, not concealing my pro-life leanings, and at times it has been very difficult. In the current Facebook discussion, I'm the only one speaking out against it plainly. People are "liking" my comments....but no one else is speaking up. That's a scary, lonely place to be.
It troubles me that, even as people are willing to send me private messages, commending my arguments and agreeing with me, we are unwilling to be public with our opinions. Have we really become so scared of the loudest opinions out there? Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans are pro-life and against abortion, but yet, we are too scared to stand up for that belief. Why is that? Why have we become so terrified of what everyone else thinks and being labeled "pro-life?" Abortion ends the life of a human being. The "product of a pregnancy" is none other than a human life. A pregnancy can only produce one thing: another human. Destroying the "product of a pregnancy" is none other than destroying another human being. It is a clear, undeniable Truth, and one that needs to be spoken time and time again. There ARE other options to a crisis pregnancy, and those other options are less traumatic, less destructive, and bring joy into the world. Millions of adoptive families around the world are thanking moms for choosing that option. We hope to join them in the future, as we move towards adoption ourselves.
Yes, a crisis pregnancy (no matter the circumstances) is scary. It is overwhelming. It can be an incredibly lonely, difficult journey. An abortion does not erase the crisis. An abortion makes a mom more susceptible to disease, medical complications, future infertility, depression, and suicide. An abortion is not any less scary, overwhelming, lonely or difficult. In fact, it often compounds those original circumstances. Moms are often left with incredible depression, guilt, and medical scars after an abortion.....and no one is willing to talk about it or support them.
We cannot continue to categorize the unborn as a "product of pregnancy," dehumanizing and stripping a baby of its most undeniably basic right: the right to life. We cannot continue to eradicate and kill an entire group of humans based, not on what they have DONE, but on who they ARE. We've seen - and spoken out about - countless acts of murder and genocide where entire populations have been wiped out merely because they exist and someone else determined that they do not deserve this basic human right to life. We cannot continue to do that to our own children.
Today is the "Day of Silent Solidarity" in the pro-life movement. Around the world, people are refusing to speak, as a way of standing up for those who are unable to speak for themselves. I commend them. I am so respectful of those who are able, and willing, to do something so public as this. These people, refusing to speak, are being ridiculed and tormented by those around them, all for standing up for the most basic of human rights: the right to life. Thank you so much to all of you participating. Your strength and courage motivates me.
Thank you for standing up for the Truth.