Dear HLI Family,
On Wednesday of this week I directed our Human Life International staff on an Advent retreat, in an effort to make the most of this season of anticipation to prepare our hearts to welcome the birth of Christ, as well as to renew our zeal in fulfilling our mission.
Being involved in pro-life work is essentially a participation in the mission of Jesus Christ, who died for our salvation. As we engage in this crucial work it is critical that we not forget that it is He who saves the world, not us, and that our success is integrally tied to our faithfulness to Him. Without our Savior, even apparent victories can lead to defeat. After all, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? (cf Matthew 16:26)
We are engaged in a spiritual battle, which translates into our daily work and outreach in the defense of Life, Faith and Family. In order to combat the works of evil and those participating in evil, we must allow the Lord to fill the cup; that is, to renew us in his love and give us the grace to persevere in our mission.
In one of the sessions, I asked the staff to consider the account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 17: 19-31). We all know the story about the man who used to dress in fine purple linens and feast magnificently every day, and the poor man called Lazarus who, covered in sores, longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man's table.
Consider this time of the year when so many are busy with preparations for Christmas. Some are so busy and preoccupied that they fail to recognize the real meaning of Christmas - the gift of Our Savior. Saint Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 8:9, that God was rich, but He became poor for our sake, so that we who are poor might become rich. God knows our poverty and invites us to share in His limitless bounty. The rich man who received good things failed to see Lazarus' poverty. He did nothing to elevate the poor man from his state in life, and instead left Lazarus in his poverty.
Gratitude for God's wondrous gifts should translate into genuine care for the poor and vulnerable, such as Lazarus. Salvation is a gift that elevates humanity from its poverty. We who are poor have been made rich. The issues of abortion, euthanasia, contraception and homosexuality should so offend the heart of every Christian that we are moved to action.
Scandalously, many Christians are indifferent to the most vulnerable among us - to Lazarus - and think these issues don't matter, or worse yet, are legitimate choices. Many have become the rich man covered in linen sumptuously dining upon the world's best, while Lazarus is ignored, abused or killed.
In gratitude to Almighty God, HLI and all who defend life seek to bring the message of Life to the world. In proclaiming this Gospel of Life, our missionaries are helping the poor man to be seen. They are speaking on behalf of the voiceless, the oppressed, the poor, the elderly and the handicapped in every part of the world. They are speaking for women and young people objectified by a culture motivated by an abuse of human sexuality. They are defending the dignity of every human being regardless of their socio-economic, political or religious status. They are standing on the sidewalks counseling mothers and fathers, encouraging them to see "Lazarus" in the womb. They are standing at the bedside of the elderly and dying defending them from indifference and disregard. They are engaging in the public square through education, advocacy and debate in order to build a culture of life. They are defending authentic freedom and the inalienable right of every human being to the right to life from conception until natural death.
Unlike the rich man, pro-life missionaries and pro-lifers around the world recognize God's magnanimity. The rich man is you and I. Lazarus is you and I.
During our retreat, the staff reflected upon these realities and saw that our work on behalf of life teaches two important things. First, our work is an act of gratitude for what has been generously given to us by our God. Second, out of this gratitude flows the fruit of love and service for our brothers and sisters, especially those who cannot speak for themselves.
On behalf of "Lazarus", thank you for your support of Life. Without you and our generous donors, we could not accomplish our mission. I humbly ask that you continue to pray for HLI and its apostolate. Prayer is the first key to accomplishing this great act of love for God and neighbor. I also ask for your continued financial support. During these difficult economic times we have seen a decrease in financial contributions, which affects our ability to support our missionaries for Life. The evil one is using this time of fear and uncertainty to undermine this important work. If you are able, please think of HLI and help my staff and me continue to speak on behalf of Lazarus. Please click on this link to make a donation for life.
God Bless. Be assured of my prayers for you and your family during this wondrous time of anticipation.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet