October is Respect Life Month and I have always been passionate about the pro-life cause. In fact, I studied public health in graduate school so that I could help moms and babies. However I quickly discovered that many individuals in my field had their understanding of life all mixed up. They were under the false pretense of society that life is only worth living if it is easy, and free from disability or hardship. They inappropriately believe that life is something we can and should control. Being a mom of three (and one in heaven) has taught me that the beauty of life does not lie in our ability to control it, but in our abilty to embrace its unpredictability with love, resilience, and gratitude.
During Mass this Sunday the priest spoke about how we, as humans, have the unique privilege of participating in the miracle of creation — a role even the angels cannot partake. This responsibility to co-create human beings in God’s image is both awe-inspiring and humbling. It reinforces the sacredness of life and our responsibility to nurture and protect it.
At St. Benedict Classical Academy, where I witness life unfolding all around me, I am reminded that every age is an opportunity for celebration. The bustling energy of preschoolers in St. Placid, the leadership displayed by our eldest students in guiding the school’s prayers and traditions during weekly Mass and House of Faith meetings, our faculty getting married and having children of their own — these are proof of the richness and vitality of life at each stage.
Life, and whether or not it is “good” or “easy”, is not confined to a particular moment or circumstance. It is made up of expectant mothers nurturing life within their wombs, the joy radiating from grandparents witnessing the growth of their legacy, and the bonds formed between siblings sharing the journey of childhood together. But it is also made up in the hard times – an unwelcomed health diagnosis, the loss of an unborn child, or the heartache from a loved one who has stepped away from the Faith.
As Respect Life Month encourages us to reflect on the sanctity of life, let us remember that life is not merely a transactional experience. It is a profound gift, a journey filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, and an opportunity to participate in the divine act of creation. Let us celebrate life in all its forms, embracing its uncertainties with open hearts and minds. I pray that this awareness inspires us to protect, nurture, and cherish the beauty of life at every stage.
AUTHOR: Ivy Schmalzried, Director of Communications