Friday, January 20, 2012

Which Prolifer Are You?


Just below was an article I posted a couple of years ago on 4marks, a social networking site for Catholics.  It generated long (and some angry) discussions.  Some thought that I was critical of people's motives and they replied justifying their reasons for joining the cause.  Some were grateful because they felt the article led them to examine their consciences and their motives and came out of the process stronger and more focused.  My intention was simple and non-malicious.  I merely wanted to pose questions inspired by comments I hear everyday from people on both sides of the aisle. I don't exclude myself from this examination.  Like some people, my motives for doing the things I do, are not always pure.  I do want to quickly say that it would be naive and misleading to say that we only act when we're sure our motives are pure.  That would be paralyzing!  We are fallen creatures and we often don't start off right. I remember an incident in St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography where she stated the reason for her entering the convent.  It wasn't because she loved God enough to turn her back on the world, but it was because she feared going to hell!  It wasn't such a bad motive but she was motivated more by fear than by love, and Teresa herself was her own greatest  critic.  And as in any Christian spirituality, the heart of the Carmelite spirituality is love, and St. Teresa was a true daughter of Carmel,  and she would look upon this desire as imperfect.  But look what God did with her imperfect desire?  It was purified and now she's a Doctor of the Church and a Teacher on prayer par excellence.  And so it is with us.  It doesn't hurt us either to once in a while engage in self-examination so that we would grow spiritually and be more effective ambassadors for the cause of such importance.

"The Cause for Life is a noble and godly cause. It is a crusade against the power of darkness and the shadow of death. I admire people who are so committed to the Cause of life. Their commitment takes them to places they probably did not dream of going and met people they did not dream meeting or did things they never dreamed doing. For many, it has become the main purpose of their existence, a vocation, and reason for being here on earth. But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? The sheep from goats? When does the Prolife Movement become for some,  just another wagon to jump into, just another cause to rally, just another issue to scream about? Some people may just be there because they enjoy the fight and confrontations? Are they naturally argumentative and opinionated that the pro-life debates are just another way of exercising their war muscles? Or is a deeper motivation really present, a pure, unadulterated desire to correct the wrong done, promote justice for all and reclaim the right that belongs solely to God?  

I guess some would argue that the message is far more important than the messenger.  I agree.  But I also remember the words of Jesus: "What does it profit a man if he wins the world but loses his soul?"  What does it profit us if we lose our peace, our own integrity and decency, our focus and civility, our Christian hope and Christian understanding , for our noble cause?  What does it profit us to act in a manner not worthy of the name Christian?  

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