What if I told you… we’re all called to be a part of an epic battle against the darkness? To give our life in a culture of death? It sounds melodramatic but I believe you could easily make a 2.5 hour, action-packed tear-jerker out of your life, or anyone else's.
Our goal in life to be pro-life saints. When they said God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called, they were talking about the Sacraments of Initiation; in Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, we receive the grace which is our strength, our ration and our non-violent ammunition: love.
Our favorites stories are those of teens becoming pro-life saints. When God conquers all the odds to make a stand through the last, lost and least. We’re all called to stand up for life in a different way. This isn’t a call to violence, but a summons to peacemaking. Your training doesn’t involve a bow and arrow or how to destroy a Horcrux; your training is memorizing the Gospel with your heart.
So what is our cause?
- We’d take an unmarked grave in order to stand up against a culture of death. Like Jonas from The Giver, we want to remember what love truly is. We know our current society only leads us to come up empty.
- Love means to will the good of the person before the good of yourself (John Paul II). Our Great Pope also said, “The greater the feeling of responsibility for the beloved, the more true love there is.” A pro-life saint takes responsibility for other people’s suffering which goes beyond compassion. In the fact of tyranny, the Holy Spirit gives us hope… and a dream of revolution.
- The opposite of love is not hate. It is use. As Jason Evert once reminded us, “When you smoke a pack of cigarettes you don’t keep the package. You throw it away.” We stand against tyranny and injustice which uses God’s children as pawns for political agenda.
Our cause is Christ, He is our champion. It’s not about being remembered as a hero. Sainthood is the notion that you’re willing to sacrifice your life and virtually disappear from the face of the earth, knowing that your cause will be remembered.
We want to make wrongs right even for those who don’t agree with us. This is God’s desire, beating in our hearts. In Divergent, Tris describes her enemies as people “don’t want people to listen, they want people to agree.” Most people in the world are fighting for what they conceive to be right, what they think is God’s will, which is why they do so passionately. As heralds of the Gospel, we share the Truth with them so that the world can realign itself with God’s will.
A pro-life saint knows how to bring Jesus with gentle steps and a loving heart.
Let’s never forget that insulting another person’s religion, as the Holy Father reminds us this week, is not Christian. We have a freedom of speech, but we also have a freedom to love, and only use words of love and non-violence. Our goal is not to hurt. Let’s never forget that the culture of death is the enemy, our friends and families are the victims. The only pain we cause is inviting people to let go of their life of comfort and selfishness.
My little niece is a tyrant in her own right. When she’s in one of her moods, she throws things, demands string cheese and sometimes takes her ten-month-old sister hostage. My sister’s reaction? A swift time-out. It’s hard for me to discipline her because I’m either afraid, or rolling on the floor laughing. My sister always reminds me that if we love her, and if we care about the world we live in, we have to show her that she can’t subject other people to that behavior. She doesn’t know any better – she’s three years old! (As her godmother, I really should remember that I’m trying to help her become a saint.) How do you know your parents, your youth minister and your teachers care about you and the person you’re becoming? Because they call you out. Letting people do whatever they want shows them that you don’t care what happens to them.
A culture of death lets us play God over life. So many people don’t understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to accept a cross, to receive the grace which makes suffering possible. This is what we are witness to. Whether it’s as simple as a weekend of binging Call of Duty, or as complicated as Brittany Maynard’s suicide, we have to resist the urge to take control of what we can’t. As if God is asleep at the wheel, not watching or not caring. God knows, and God loves. Does your witness show people that God has power?
Another Pro-Life martyr reminds us of this, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” (Martin Luther King)
God uses the darkest times to make the brightest saints. A murky, confusing society like ours calls for teens of clarity, confidence and compassion. It calls for teens who are willing to be celibate because the world needs a witness that sex is not the ultimate fulfillment of our lives. It calls for teens who are willing to be poor and never get a fancy degree and sports car because the world needs a witness that money is not the ultimate fulfillment of our lives. It calls for teens who are willing to be selfless and compassionate because they desire to be close to Jesus now, and they are living for heaven – not to build a kingdom of their own just like everyone else - but to be one small brick in the kingdom of God.
We are not called to escape the world. We are called to engage it. Your arena may be your high school, not a coliseum with gladiators. The martyrdom you suffer is no longer a physical death, but a death of everything you ever dreamed of – simply having what everyone else has.
There’s no doubt that this generation is called to be an example to those older than us who have fallen away from the Lord.
Jesus began a legacy. As a Christian, we promote the revolution of hope for the poor, oppressed, dying – that we continue in the heritage of the saints. For those who stand for a culture of a life against tyranny and injustice, like Mother Teresa stood up against the injustice of poverty and St. Maximilian Kolbe stood up against the tyranny of Nazism. Every saint who has ever lived, died because of their belief in the goodness of human life. This goes beyond abortion, beyond Ferguson, beyond bullying, beyond terrorism. This is a legacy Jesus began that we continue 2000 years later. It has to do with the dignity of every human life no matter what they have, what they do, what religion they practice or where they live. This is more than just the mission of the Church on earth; it’s the beginning of the kingdom.
- When we decide to be a saint, we know only God can make us happy because God is all we really need.
- When we practice holy courtship and humbly rely on the grace of a Sacrament, we deny our society’s fear of commitment.
- When we only spend time on something that has eternal significance, we refuse the idea that we should only do things that are “fun.”
- When we discern the vow of poverty and sell out only for Jesus, we’re turning materialism on its head.
- When we cling to the Gospel, we refuse relativism.
- When we let others love us how we are, we don’t have a need for 1000 likes on our most recent selfie.
- We deny hedonism when we pursue what is good, and not just what feels good.
- When we reach out to both the perpetrator and the victim, we become a pro-life saint.
Why would God use the young to lead the old? Why would God call those who can’t speak eloquently to convince the rich of the world? Why would God use the poor to give their lives? Why would God ask a teenager to be set-apart, when all a teenager wants to do is fit in? Why would God call only the young, the powerless, to lead the strong?
When God could call anyone, why would he ask teens to become saints?
Because that’s all he’s ever done.
Do not say that you are too young
You must go to everyone I send you to
And say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me,
“I have put my words in your mouth.”