The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for years has celebrated the month of October as Respect Life Month. It is a time to highlight and double our efforts to help all people, from conception to natural death. There are many great saints who have worked to protect all stages of life, but one that stands out and whose feast day is celebrated during this month (October 22) is St. Pope John Paul II.

In 1995 he authored Evangelium Vitae which reemphasizes the “Value and Inviolability of Human Life”. In this encyclical he discusses the “incomparable worth of the human person” as well as the variety of ways life at all stages are under attack in our modern day and how we often lack taking responsibility to serve our brothers and sisters in need. “Symptoms of this trend include the lack of solidarity towards society’s weakest members such as the elderly, the infirm, immigrants, children and the indifference frequently found in relations between the world’s peoples even when basic values such as survival, freedom and peace are involved” (Pope John Paull II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 8). This encyclical should prompt us to examine our thoughts, words and deeds towards all people. Are they loving, compassionate, and caring? Or are they impatient, demeaning, and lacking in empathy?

This encyclical and Respect Life Month is a call to prayer and action for all human lives to be protected. Is your interior disposition oriented towards care and concern for all people? How are you striving for the ability to see others as Christ?

 

Prayer

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which He looks

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,

Yours are the eyes, you are His body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

This prayer is widely attributed to St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day is October 15.