Respecting life: Love without measure Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Sep. 30, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

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Each year, the Catholic Church in the United States kicks off its Respect Life Program on the first Sunday of October, which is observed as Respect Life Month.

As we know, respecting human life should be something we do all year, day in and day out. However, setting aside a month to focus on respect for life gives all Catholics an opportunity to study, reflect, pray, and take action in a special way during October.

Each week during October, I plan to discuss some aspect of respect for life in my space here. This week, I am writing in a more general way on the importance of respecting all human life. In subsequent weeks I will zero in on more specific topics.

Importance of respecting all human life

Although many Catholics believe in respect for life, I think some people don’t consider why it should be of primary concern to each of us. Some people — even Catholics — appear to dismiss those involved in the pro-life movement as extremists.

Yes, they probably are extremists! We should all be extremely committed to protecting all human life at every stage of development, from womb to tomb.

Human life is indeed a gift from God. Each human life is precious and deserves our love, care, and protection. This means the unborn baby in the womb, the disabled child, the sick, the poor, the elderly, and the dying.

Love without measure

This year’s theme of the bishops’ Respect Life Program is:  “The measure of love is to love without measure.” The Respect Life flyer for the program explores this theme with three vignettes of common situations calling for heroic love: a college student’s unplanned pregnancy, an elderly loved one who needs assistance with feeding, and a baby diagnosed with a life-threatening disability.

Mother Teresa once said, “I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord Himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”

During this month of October, we might reflect on how we value human life in our own lives. Perhaps we could open our eyes to see God in every human being around us and discover how we can show God’s love to them.

Do we give of our time to those in need without expecting anything in return? Do we offer to spend time with someone who is in the hospital, give rides to doctor appointments for shut-ins, or bring food to those in need? Or provide some relief for the caregiver or parent of young children?

We can also provide spiritual support through our prayers. Consider spending extra time praying the Rosary, attending daily Mass, or visiting Our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration during Respect Life Month. Pray for greater respect for all human life in our culture, which often devalues life in so many ways.

To help in your study, reflection, and prayer, the Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has a variety of resources available on its Web site (

May October be just the beginning of renewed efforts to promote the value and dignity of human life in our families, schools, parishes, and communities.