CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
The view was astounding. With the wind whipping around me, I looked straight ahead, far in the distance, and I could see Lake Nicaragua. Turning my head 90 degrees, I could see the Ring of Fire. I will never forget that surprisingly chilly July day in Nicaragua years ago, taking in the view from 2,000 feet in the air.
The volcano I stood atop was made up of small, coal-black rocks and no vegetation, which made for an incredible view. My group arrived at the volcano and began the trek up. A small group, myself included, took the long way up the mountain, while others chose the shortest distance: straight up.
My group began winding up the mountain. As we went, some members turned back because they didn’t think they could make it. Near the top, our “gentle” path became much more vertical, and more decided to return. I continued on, with one of the dads and our two guides. Almost to the top, we walked along a narrow path, with 60 mile-per-hour winds pushing against us. I was undeniably afraid, and I began anxiously reciting prayers along the last stretch.
Finally, after that hour-long hike, we arrived. Some of the group that went straight up were already there, while the rest trickled in over the next hour. When it came time to head down, I was amazed to see people running straight down the mountain. I went cautiously down as others ran by me, and even I, who took an hour to ascend the mountain, made it down in under 10 minutes!
Fast forward four years, and I found myself, like many others from Franciscan University, surrounded by thousands of passionate pro-lifers at the March for Life this year; yet despite that, I was feeling dejected. I was wondering if the steps I took that day even had any meaning.
Back in the early 1970s, no political platform even dared to mention abortion. It was taboo and unthinkable. Yet in one day, seven men decided that infanticide should be legal, and overnight, it became acceptable.
Now, I would think that as science advanced, and the “clump of tissues” argument became null, that this issue would have disappeared just as fast. Not so. Instead we find ourselves today, 45 years later, still fighting this same battle that should be so easy to win.
I marched with these thoughts in my heads. Though I did not feel hopeless, I did feel discouraged. How on earth could 60 million American citizens have their lives taken the past 45 years, sentenced without trial and killed without cause?
And as I marched, the black volcano I had climbed came back to mind. What is taking us over 45 years to undo what began by an overnight change. Going downhill was easy. Getting back up to the gorgeous view of goodness and life is not.
The paths leading to the America we once were – where killing children was unquestionably wrong – are many and varied. The path best for me and what I will contribute is most certainly different from your best path.
No surprise. There are so many things we need to do to prepare the world for an end to this evil. All I ever thought about was making abortion itself illegal and maybe making adoption more accessible. How narrow my thoughts are! One day, my friend commented that in ending abortion, we also need to prepare the education system. I was caught off guard. I had never considered this detail.
God has put on each of our hearts the role we are to play. And play them we must. As Catholics, as moral people, as fellow humans, it is our responsibility to do something. Perhaps abortion has lasted this long because people are more concerned with the economy and politics than the lives and deaths of their neighbors.
But that is not who we are. When we meet God, He will not ask us how many dollars we have in the bank, but how many lives and souls we have saved.
As I said before, I felt dejected about abortion, not hopeless. In fact, as I look around at all the great people at this university, I feel indescribable hope. Abortion will end. And if we really work, I think it will end in the next five years. But it will only end if we each listen to God’s whisper and follow where that leads.
Will you be the one who makes abortion illegal? Will you start a woman’s health center that gives aid to struggling mothers? Will you be a friend and guide to post-abortive women who need answers?
There are so many paths we can take, so many things that need to be done that I can’t even envision. There are many of us, and no task more important than saving the lives of the most innocent and the souls of their mothers. We will end abortion. I can almost see it, and the view is astounding. I’ll meet you at the top.