Editor’s Note: The Inestimable Value of Life
In August, I had to take my 6-year-old to Children’s Hospital. While we attempted to navigate the sprawling campus in Northern Cincinnati, we crossed paths with many other parents and children – children who looked and acted differently than my daughter is accustomed to. When a boy with Down’s Syndrome engaged us in conversation in the elevator, I smiled, answered his questions and asked my daughter to respond to him, as well. Behind her mask, her eyes crinkled in greeting.
Once we stepped off the elevator, my daughter looked up to me, eyes wide, and said, in the very direct manner that children often do, “Mom, why was he talking like that?” We paused in the parking garage as I thought about the best way to respond. I told her that God makes all of us unique, and sometimes people are born with things that make them a little different than others. I told her that it is our responsibility to always be kind and to acknowledge people, even if they seem different.
She took this bit of information in with great seriousness. A few minutes later, as we drove away from the hospital, she chirped up again. “Mom, why are people poor? Can’t Jesus help them?”
This was obviously a day for serious theological and moral conversations. “Yes,” I told her. “He can.” I told her we could pray for the poor, but we can also pray to Jesus and ask what we can do to help them. Jesus, after all, uses us as His hands and feet on Earth. I explained that we could make donations, volunteer and work with places like St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities to reach out and help.
That seemed to satisfied her curiosity. And, as we made the drive back to check-in at school, I couldn’t help but be amazed that, through the voice of my 6-year-old, God challenged me that day – and every day – to recognize the dignity of life in those with disabilities and the poor.
As Pope Francis said, “All life has inestimable value, even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in His own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”
October is Respect Life month. Let us take up the challenge to not only voice support for the unborn, but to go out of our way to care for and pray for the vulnerable, the disabled and the poor.