Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
October is Respect Life Month. The Church calls for special attention and reflection on this year’s theme — Each of Us is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation — and how this truth affects both our understanding of ourselves and others and the way we live.
Pope Francis has caught the world’s attention with his expressions of love and compassion, both in his words and in his actions. His words remind us of our mission to show each person the love of Christ. His actions demonstrate how gentleness and compassion can be expressed to the person in front of us at any moment. At times our society sends the message that certain groups of people are not perfect, not as worthy, and can thus be set aside. Yet Pope Francis reminds us, “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.”
How do we go about doing likewise? We must draw close to Jesus in prayer and the sacraments. We must ask the Lord for the grace to see ourselves and others as he sees us — as masterpieces of his creation. When God created each of us he did so with precision and purpose, and he looks on each of us with love that cannot be outdone in intensity and tenderness. We must look at ourselves and at others in light of this truth and treat all people with the reverence and respect which is due.
The Catholic bishops of the United States provide guidance and support with a Respect Life package that many parishes have ordered. Information on the Respect Life program can be accessed through the Diocese of Davenport website at http://www.davenportdiocese.org/socialaction/ sarespectlife.htm. This October, please join me in reflecting on the sacredness of every human being so that we may see each other as a masterpiece of God’s Creation.