Families must serve others Print
Living and Learning
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 -- 1:00 AM
Living and Learning column by Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert

To know, love, and serve him in this life and to be happy with him forever in the next is why God made us. Family provides the environment in which knowing, loving, and serving God is made real.

As a matter of fact, the root meaning of the word family is servant. It is in the family where we are to learn how to be a servant. Our success has a direct relationship to finding meaning and purpose in life, to finding peace and happiness.

Just like the cold of this winter, financial greed has been able to freeze out the basic trust so necessary for many families to function. This is due to the loss of their jobs and homes among other impacts. They have not been served. It hurts to see this because it is so real and so devastating to the individuals involved.

It points, however, to something else just as real, but not so easily seen. This is the devastating effect abortion has had and how it has been affecting our families all along.

Just like the cold of winter, abortion has frozen out the basic trust so necessary for families to function by confusing what a family is all about.

Due to the mistaken notion that a family is all about serving me instead of just the opposite, we have lost the firm hold on some basic tenets of life itself. These tenets are rooted in family life where we are to come to know, love, and serve God by the practice of understanding one another, commitment, sacrifice, forgiveness, perseverance, promoting community, and so much more.

Abortion has undermined our families, peace and happiness more tragically than any failing economy ever could or will. Again, it is about serving others.

When your family and mine can be prevented from protecting human life at all stages, it produces an anxiety and sadness among us unlike any other. It steals away our peace and happiness let alone innocent human life. Doctor Albert Schweitzer told his young fellow missionary Doctor Tom Dooley many years ago that he did not know what destiny held for him, but that Dooley would always be happy if he would seek and find how to serve.

When the proposed Freedom of Choice Act in our country and the abortion providers in our community attempt to further erode the truth of why God made us, families are not being served. By unprecedented greed on the part of financial institutions and its visible devastating effect, we see that families are not being served.

But let us not stop pointing to what is less easily seen, the destruction which is being perpetrated against our families by the ongoing legalization of abortion and its assault on the meaning, purpose, and sanctity of all human life from natural conception to natural death.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, our hope is renewed in him for all of our families and for an end to abortion as we pray and work together striving to know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with him forever in the next.

Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is vicar general of the Diocese of Madison.