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Commentary by Colleen Roy
Every Christmas Scott and I watch "It's a Wonderful Life." It is a staple in our litany of Christmas movies. This year however the movie hit me in a new way. "This is such a pro-life movie, "I said to Scott. He looked at me like, "Duh," and continued watching. I was stunned at my slow observation skills and started connecting the dots. The movie tells us that every life has a purpose, and that the entire world changes when a life is taken before it's time. "Maybe I could host mass viewings of the movie and change the world," I thought. If only things were so easy.
Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaler Ruling. On January 28th, 1988, all legislation governing abortion was wiped out in Canada, allowing abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy. I was only 9 at the time and completely unaware of what was happening to my poor country and her children. Little did I know that one ruling would soon absorb much of my time, prayers and energy.
My thoughts are sad and scattered as I try to absorb the meaning of what has happened in our country over the past 2 decades. I think of the people I have met who have been forever altered by the A-word. Some of these lives are lived with a constant mission to end abortion, and the others live their lives with the constant pain of a choice regretted.
I remember Tania, a schoolmate who broke down in tears as she shared of her abortion with me. She was completely lost in her pain, giving herself to depression and substance abuse. I also think of the many women in my church family who have approached me in confidence to share their painful burden.
Unlike Tania, these women knew of the hope of God's grace and forgiveness, but the pain remained. Most of these women say the same thing; "If anyone had supported me and offered me help, I would have chosen differently." That's a sad comment. It means that in a time of fear and vulnerability these women were given only one choice as viable, the choice of death.
What makes me even sadder is knowing this should not be the case. Almost 75% of Canadians identify themselves as being Christian. How can that be when less than 30% of Canadians think that abortion should be outlawed?
This is a contradiction. There is no such thing as a pro-choice Christian. One cannot give themselves to Christ, and in the same breath deny His gift of life. One also cannot consider abortion to be wrong, but then continue to do nothing about it.
This past year I was invited to speak in a few different Catholic schools and I have to say, that while for the most part the response from these young adults was incredibly encouraging and inspiring, I was surprised to receive apathetic comments and disagreement from a few Catholic school students. Some had no shame to admit in front of their Catholic teachers that they felt they could justify the innocent lives taken by abortion, even after seeing pictures of aborted babies.
This scares me. I can also be disheartened by the small numbers of people turning out to pro-life events. Where are the believers? Where are the families? Why aren't the pews overflowing with children at the monthly pro-life Mass and prayer vigil? It discourages me to think that 20 short years have, seemingly, made us so indifferent.
And at the same time I am held in the arms of Hope. God has conquered Death and all he has stolen. Through the blessed and seeming contradiction of the crucifix, life reigns. Every child taken, and each woman shattered is offered a hand of mercy. Each and every abortionist and worker in this culture of death is offered the same redemption and hope as you and I.
Sometimes I find myself in tears as I pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy. I picture Henry Morgentaler and ask God that His mercy would be extended and His grace made irresistible to him. My heart is torn between loathing him and crying for his very soul.
Through prayer I have come to the surprising knowledge that it is possible to love my greatest enemy. I have come to realize that he too was made in God's image. This is quite the miracle. Despite the surrounding death and darkness God continues to teach me to love. In the midst of the "greatest destroyer of peace", as Mother Teresa called abortion, God offers peace. He instills courage and long-standing persistence into the hearts of those dedicated pro-lifers that I have been blessed to meet along the way. He shares His sorrow and suffering at each baby taken, but at once He presents patience, joy and hope.
I look into the eyes and hearts of true pro-lifers and I see God telling me that it really is a wonderful life.