The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) turn the thinking of the world upside-down regarding what happiness is and how we find it. The Beatitudes shape the work of Christians who are active in the pro-life movement. We therefore continue in this and following columns our reflections on how each beatitude illumines and strengthens our pro-life commitment.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice; they will be satisfied.” This beatitude speaks to the heart of the pro-life movement. We seek justice first of all by seeking to be right with God and in all our relationships. We also we seek justice by seeking to protect the rights of all, especially the weakest among us, our brothers and sisters in the womb. We are blessed not merely by believing they have a right to life, but by feeling the hunger and thirst, the longing and yearning, that they be protected and that this right be recognized and secured by law.
We also seek justice by working to extend healing and forgiveness to all who have been involved in abortion, that they too will be right with God and know his peace.
“Blessed are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs.” At the heart of our religion is the cry for mercy that we direct to the Lord. His mercy does not only mean his forgiveness for the wrong we have done, but also means his protection for us from the power of our spiritual and physical enemies.
But when we seek and receive his mercy, we also incur the duty to extend that mercy to our brothers and sisters who depend on us to protect and rescue them.
Those who need our mercy the most are the children in the womb. They have been deprived of the most basic protection of their lives. Blessed are they who show mercy. Blessed are they who speak up for these children and work to end abortion.
“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” This beatitude impels us to ask ourselves what our deepest longings and desires are, what motivates our choices, and how consistently we want to do what is right. The pure of heart seek to please God before they please themselves, even at the cost of great sacrifice.
Having a pure heart protects us from the temptations of the culture of death. Meeting the needs of a vulnerable child in the womb requires a new and selfless center of gravity. We put the child first and our own plans and conveniences last.
And when we speak up for that child, we stop worrying about the criticism we might receive. The pure of heart don’t care about that. They only care about doing what’s right.
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.