By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
These last few weeks the news, both local and international, has disturbed me. There are the issues of human rights and liberty, the sanctity of marriage and family, political will and vested interests, religious freedom, terrorist attacks, serious drought, climate change, culture change, countries threatening war with a smile on their faces, countries experiencing famine, bankruptcy or political upheaval, etc. Plus we are entering the pre-election period with its myriad of speechifiers assaulting our intellect and consciousness.
How should I react? Shall I be for something, or against it? Should I support this issue or criticize it? Should I choose to be actively involved, or passively indifferent? If I just ignore it, will it resolve itself? How is my response to these disturbing thoughts going to affect my life, my future, the future of my children and their children?
“To be or not to be…, that is the question.” I have always felt that there is more to this simple statement by Shakespeare than the mere fact of pondering over a decision.
Let’s look at the issue of Life. We are told that the issue of life is one which deeply touches every person. After all, we are all alive, aren’t we? We are told that the family is the domestic church with the responsibility to uphold the sacredness of life whether the life in question is newly conceived in the mother’s womb, a victim of circumstances, a life handicapped or disabled physically or emotionally, a life immersed in difficulty, poverty, or bondage, or life in a vegetable-like coma waiting for death.
But being told about something is different than fully believing in that something. And it is this difference that helps me answer Shakespeare’s question: “To be or not to be…”
I believe that Life in whatever stage or age is a miracle from God; man should never arrogate to himself the decision to end it or redefine it. Life as God designed it is always a Good. Unfortunately many times we do not look for the good in the other person, preferring to focus on what is wrong or what we dislike in that person.
It is, therefore, not enough to ignore the issues of Life – of contraception, abortion, murder, euthanasia, of pervasive immorality, unbridled sexuality, test-tube babies, unending poverty, and other concerns that threaten the sanctity of Life.
It is not enough to be anti-this or anti-that! We have to offer something positive to counteract the negative. We must decide to look for the good that God has infused into everything, and to act in a positive manner NOW … not tomorrow or whenever we have a spare moment.
For me, the question we must confront daily is not “to be or not to be for or against…” The key question is: “Is my love for God and my neighbor strong and courageous enough to focus on the good in Life and People instead of being influenced by the badness or wrongness in Life and People?” “Am I willing to step out in faith to embrace the Culture of Life and combat the Culture of Death?”
For me, the key is LOVE. Do I love life enough to protect it and nourish it … in my family, in my community, in my barangay, in my parish, in the environment, in our province, in our country?
Men and women have become heroes because they loved Life enough to act upon their beliefs just because they could. Can I do this? Am I strong and loving enough to uphold the Good, to uphold Life? Are you? Can you?