a Mary Moment Monday post

January 22 marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It’s a day dear to me for another reason, and it’s made even more significant by the fact that we continue to grieve for Allen.

The story of my conversion is strongly impacted by this day in January (which was January 22, as it turns out):

It was a day in January that the doctor told them they had to have an abortion because their unborn baby would be dying. The doctor’s office thoughtfully made the appointment.

They told me it was the most freeing moment of their lives, the moment they made the decision not to have the abortion. They told me that they were able to let go, to leave their baby in God’s hands and to grieve without guilt.

You can read the rest of that story here.

I’ve chosen the pro-life label for a lot of reasons, but Susan and Al probably made the biggest impact with the decision they made after praying and discernment. The priest they spoke to told them they couldn’t play God, that they would be robbing their baby of the only life he would know: life in utero.

It wasn’t an easy path for them. But would an abortion really have been easier? Would the wondering have been worth it? Could they have forgotten–and forgiven–the responsibility they chose to bear?

I can’t help but reflect on the life around me, from the sleeping infant in my arms to the girls wrestling on the couch, the slumbering world outside under the snow and the critters in various cracks and crevices of my property. Life is all around me, even in the heart of winter.

Without a doubt, the value of human life trumps the others, but it also gives me a lens to appreciate the others better. Without the little lives–the kids–in mine, I probably would ignore the beauty of life most of the time. I sure wouldn’t think of sunsets as love notes, appreciate the beauty of autumn, or be able to find humor (and a good day!) in the midst of sickness.

At least half of my Twitter feed is dedicated to capturing what the kids in my life say and observe and do. Most of my favorite blog posts (and columns, for that matter) have to do with things other people have inspired me to think more about.

Mary stands before me and reminds me that life matters–that it matters more than anything else. It’s her job as Mom, I think. Even as I’m the one who captures these moments in my family and my world, she’s the one who stands in heaven, praying for each of us, bringing us to her Son, asking for mercy and peace and understanding for all of us. She must look at the things that are wrong and, with tears in her eyes, pray for us and long to have us understand.

In Provence, France, Mary is honored as Our Lady of Life on January 27. An image there (which I could not find in my searches online) has “often restored children to life who died without baptism” (source). I want to know more about this title and its history, but it’s going to require more digging and probably some offline searching.

But doesn’t it make you smile, knowing that there’s a long-standing title of Mary that relates to life in its very name? It gives me hope for all of us. Mary has that effect on me. She helps me see that hope is a gift from God and a necessary condition for the world to improve at its most basic level, at the level I can control: inside myself. Even in the face of atrocities against life that seem impossible to countenance, there is hope. (That link opens a pdf file of the grand jury statement against Dr. Ken Gosnell. It’s lengthy, but it’s also long, considering how truncated–or even ignored–the story is in the mainstream press. I found it via the Anchoress.)

Our Lady of Life, pray for us.

image credit