The booths have been taken down, pictures uploaded to Facebook, speakers gone home and the dust is settling after a weekend filled with passion, transformation, and over 20,000 lovers of life. For one day, we no longer felt alone in the mission. We were supported by unified voices speaking, thousands of feet marching, and countless whispered prayers for our imperative belief. We experienced the joy that comes from encountering many like-minded missionaries from being part of a movement instead of an isolated “weirdo.” And as the energy wanes from this weekend, we go back to mainstream society and may become deflated and less inspired to tout the values we so fervently professed last Saturday. We may see caustic posts on Facebook or newspapers minimizing the event. We may be wounded by derisive comments, different views, and misunderstanding. And we may feel scared to speak up or too ostracized by our surroundings to continue. We may simply not know the next step. What now? Edith Stein, a Saint and theologian killed in a concentration camp, spoke of her nation’s plight,
“The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.”
We are gifted with an understanding of the value of life. We have our faith and a redemptive understanding of suffering. We have a belief that an exceptionally difficult life doesn’t make life worth ending. And we see the pains caused by a neglect, rejection, or ending of a life. But we aren’t always in control of penetrating the culture with this message and are left feeling weak against the seemingly unanimous social consensus preferring choice over life. What do we do when we’re not amongst the safety of our like-minded friends, signing petitions, voting for senators, walking in OneLife?
We give “what we are.”
Our witness alone should speak to life’s dignity. We should be the people who greet the homeless and buy them a meal on our lunch breaks. We should be the people tutoring or mentoring trafficked youth on weeknights, or unaccompanied immigrant minors on weekends. We should be those who respect the elderly and assist them in their homes or chauffeur them to doctor’s appointments. We should be in soup kitchens and shelters, writing letters to prisoners. We should lay ourselves down for others in daily, remarkable acts of service to show the world the love that they were made for.
We will mend the wounds against life by serving the lives in our community, by giving them the dignity that Christ would give them.
OneLife LA is proud of its impact, but we hold even greater pride in the opportunities available for our attendees year-round. OneLifeLA.org offers ways to get involved with over a dozen community partners who share a mission to uphold the dignity of life at all stages. January 23rd was beautiful but we want it to be a mere shadow of the virtue we live every day. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen said,
“Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?” Please continue the mission. This week let’s challenge ourselves to look at OneLife LA’s community partners, learn about their work, and then consider how we can use our God-given talents to give the best gift: “who we are.”