Every October, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month. This month is set aside to remind us that we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from conception to its natural end.
We are also in the midst of celebrating the Year of St. Joseph. So, this year, we can look to the witness of St. Joseph as a defender of life. He didn’t hesitate to follow God’s will of faithfully caring for and protecting Jesus and the Blessed Mother. St. Joseph’s example reminds us that we are also to care for, protect, and defend all life.
In the Bible, we see that St. Joseph makes sacrifices out of his love for Jesus and Mary. Over and over, he shows himself to be a faithful protector. After an angel of God appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, he welcomed Mary into his home, even though her pregnancy was mysterious. On the long road to Bethlehem, Joseph guided and provided for Mary and the unborn Christ Child. He welcomed Jesus as his own son in a humble stable and loved Him with a father’s heart. When the infant Jesus’ life was threatened by Herod, Joseph left the comfort and familiarity of his homeland and fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to protect Him. And, as Jesus was growing up, He learned from Joseph to do the will of the Father. In every circumstance, St. Joseph cared for, defended, and protected the gift of life that had been given by God.
During this Respect Life Month, we can start to become more like St. Joseph by asking ourselves a few questions and reflecting on them: Do we realize how precious every person is? As we go about our day, do we treat people accordingly? How can we help those in our society who are struggling to welcome new life? How can we reach out to those having a hard time seeing the worth of their own lives? How do we reassure those at the end of life who are afraid they are a burden or feel like their lives don’t have meaning?
St. Joseph, defender of life….pray for us!