In the next series of articles, I want to dive into a topic that will risk angering some pro-lifers, but I think it may open some minds and hearts a bit so I believe it’s a risk worth taking.
To kick off the series, today’s article will mostly be a mea culpa: My reflections here are a self-critique of my own shortcomings in my pro-life work.
That said, having now observed the inner workings of both the pro-life movement and front line pro-life pregnancy centers for about 10 years, I think my observations in this series will probably be broadly applicable to many pro-lifers.
So here goes.
On a recent podcast episode of The Catholic Gentleman (click here to listen), I said the following (edited for brevity):
“I have a lot of growth I need in this area… God simply looks at all of us as family. If you really look at these young women who come in [to pregnancy centers], what is it that they’re looking for? They’re no different than any of us. They just want to have a great life… What people are really looking for is purpose…fulfilling mission and purpose in your life… That’s ultimately where you will find great joy as you look back on your life.
“My children are adults now, but I still feel that responsibility [for them]… I’m still involved in their self-actualization, I’m still a mentor to them, I’m still a model to them, I’m still a coach to them.
“Yet, I think Jesus is challenging us…saying, ‘Yes [Brett], you are responsible for that, but those young women who today are going to get pregnant and become abortion-minded…they are my family, they are God’s family, and therefore they are your family too’.
“That’s really challenging to me because the truth is [if I ask myself] am I ready to step up and commit to those young women in the same way that I would commit to my three children…I’m not there yet. I could do more…[but] I’m just not there.”
When I reflect on why I don’t commit more to those young women facing unexpected pregnancies, I have been struggling to find the answers.
However, I recently came across something that I think helps me better understand my own motivations, or lack thereof, in my pro-life commitments.
It hit me as I was reading a biblical commentary by philosopher Peter Kreeft in his excellent book, Food for the Soul, Reflections on the Mass Readings, Cycle A.
On page 408, Dr. Kreeft says, “Light comes first, truth comes first, even before joy. For even joy and happiness and bliss and love have to be true joy and true happiness and true bliss and true love.”
I love that! We first have to know we have the truth (light) on our side before we can have, and I would also say give, true authentic love.
Or as someone once said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.”
And then on page 413, Dr. Kreeft says, “And in our work for all the parts of the Gospel, we must never compromise our two absolutes, truth and love. Our truth-telling must always be loving, and our loving must always be true. One extreme tells us that truth and justice and law and order are more important than love, and the other extreme tells us that love doesn’t need truth or justice or law or order, just ‘if it feels good, do it.’ We have a third way as Christians, which is not Right or Left but Straight.”
There’s one nugget in this amazing paragraph that was a light bulb moment for me that helped me better understand why I am not yet willing to give more of myself in my pro-life work.
I’ll go deeper into that in the next article.
To be continued…
This article was published in Heroic Media‘s weekly newsletter