In Matthew 5:3-12 we read the Beatitudes, which give a blueprint for Christian spirituality and therefore for the spirituality of being pro-life. In this and following columns, let’s reflect on how each beatitude illumines and strengthens our pro-life commitment.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” When the Lord speaks about the poor in spirit, he is speaking about those for whom there is no help or hope but God Himself. God is the only hope for any of us. But when we have a lot of possessions, friends, and earthly protection, we are tempted to think that those are the things on which our spirits can ultimately rely. But that is an illusion. “Only in God be at rest, my soul; from him comes my help and salvation” (Psalm 62:1). Today, nobody is more unsafe and unprotected than the child in the womb. Their plight makes even God ask, “Can a mother forsake her child?” (Isaiah 49:15) Yet the psalmist declares, “Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10). The unborn are the poorest of the poor, and God calls us to acknowledge and bless them.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We are blessed, indeed, if we mourn over our sins, and over the evils in the world, like the daily killing of children by abortion. When is the last time we shed tears over the shedding of blood, and wept for the lives of these babies killed and moms and dads wounded? Let us pray for the gift of those tears! Let us ask the Lord to give us a broken heart over abortion. That’s where pro-life activism begins, because when our hearts are broken, they are humble. They are also open to the grace God wants to give us to do our part in ending this evil. And he will also give us comfort, as he brings justice to the earth.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek person knows that God is the source of all he needs. Although he develops his human skills and asserts himself as necessary, the Lord’s servant never believes he has to hurt another to get what he needs. The meek are strong and secure in their dependence on God. They will have a healthy ability to fight for their rights, but will not do so with an anxious need to dominate. In the Lord, they know they will inherit the earth.
The Culture of Death, on the contrary, is built on the idea that sometimes you have to do violence to advance your rights, your career, or your freedom. The violence of abortion is seen as a path to fulfillment.
We will continue our reflections on the Beatitudes in the next column. Meanwhile, those who want to nourish their pro-life spirituality with reflections like this for every day of the year can obtain my book Pro-life Reflections for Every Day at priestsforlife.org/store.