Hearing that there was a wise man who knew everything, the story is told of one who was younger and wanted to prove it. Taking the smallest from a flock in a nearby tree, he approached and said, “Tell me old man, I have a bird in my hands, is it alive or is it dead?”
The wise one looked and thought, “If I say it is alive, he will close his hands and crush the life out of it. If I say it is dead, he will open his hands and let it fly in my face.” He looked once more at the young man before him and answered his question with the words, “It is in your hands.” Life or death was in his hands.
Life or death is in our hands this Respect Life Month of October, and indeed, every month. As we thank God for the gift of our own life, we may think of the hands which held us in a loving embrace from the moment of our conception and the hands which continue to help us on life’s journey to natural death.
We pray that no longer in our country will hands allow every fourth baby conceived to have its life deliberately destroyed. That no longer will 3,500 developing babies be killed in our country every day, almost 1.5 million every year. We pray that all women and men who suffer from a lost pregnancy for any reason will know that we, the Catholic Church, understand, we care, and we want to help them. Why? Because when it comes to abortion and euthanasia most of all, and when it comes to every act of violence that insults the sanctity of a human life, you and I are called upon to protect and defend this priceless gift from God; this priceless gift of human life which has been placed in our hands.
Two national meetings in the past year have focused on the discovery of how men are affected by abortion. Several priests from the Diocese of Madison have attended to learn more about this and hopefully minister more effectively to individuals struggling to reclaim a fatherhood that was lost. More information is available from our Office of Justice and Pastoral Outreach at 608-821-3086, and from www.menandabortion.info and www.rachelsvineyard.org
Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is the vicar general of the Diocese of Madison.