To stand up for truth is to make yourself vulnerable, to step out and risk your reputation or even your life. But ultimately, to stand up for truth is to do what’s right.
I’ve learned a while back that when you deal with pro-life subjects in public, you don’t just tread on thin ice, you tread on a full-fledged battleground. It’s a topic that must be addressed, yet often one that is barely discussed because raising this discussion carries various consequences. But as Catholics, it is our duty to rise up and give the truth a voice.
Two weeks ago, I participated in a LifeChain event. LifeChain is “A peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life individuals standing for 90 minutes praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.” (LifeChain site). In my area, we stand in front of one of the major places where abortion is done. Ironically, it’s a hospital. It is also on a busy street.
My family has been participating in LifeChain for a few years now, and every year it is a different experience. But one thing remains the same: I always feel nervous walking from our parking spot to the sidewalk where we hold up signs and pray the rosary. I’m filled with thoughts; worries, hopes, desires and daydreams. I look around for any friends that might’ve come to support life as I take in the whooshes and honks of the cars passing by.
We take up signs. Mine says “Abortion Kills Children” in bold, royal blue capital letters. I hold mine up like a shield, hiding my face from both the sun and the negative responses. I figure I’ll be braver later and lower it then. I’m ashamed of my cowardice, but persevere in finishing the Hail Mary’s my dad starts. By the middle of the Rosary, my mind runs with thoughts of the Church Militant. I think of St. Michael and those who have stood up for life in a braver way than I have. I lower my sign, squinting at the Sun’s glare, trying to stare defiantly at the vehicles. There are more honks than negative responses. I draw out a deep breath, trying to expel my fears. And just as I think I’ve succeeded, a man’s voice blasts out from a passing car, dropping an f-bomb a few metres away.
The shock of its impact on me seems greater than the shock of it happening. I almost feel like I’ve been slashed in the stomach and for a moment I’m lost in thoughts of the Church Militant again. My mind begins to wander to medieval fantasies, but I pull the reins in. Gathering my composure, I focus on the Hail Mary’s and find strength in the words I say. I’m tempted to pull my sign up back over my face, but I look around and find the priests from my parish across the street with a couple of my friends. They’re a fair distance away from me, and at the end of the chain. I admire their bold, unwavering stand.
We wrap up the Rosary and continue on to the Divine Mercy chaplet. It’s almost three o’clock. “Have mercy on us and on the whole world.” I look at the swirling mass of metal and people around me, thinking of Our Lord and His Divine Mercy. “Have mercy on us…”
As people start to leave, I wonder if anyone’s lives have been changed, if we’ve planted a seed, if we’ve impacted someone’s life. And despite my doubts, my initial hesitation, my wavering faith and courage, I’m confident I’ve done the right thing by standing up for the great gift I have — life.
By: Christine Therese
Cover photo from campaignlifecoalition.com