Not too long ago I was grilled on what it is to be a Catholic. Some questions seemed genuine, others were definitely posed to pick a fight or be extremely accusatory. One of these accusations was that Catholicism is very cause driven. The example that was used was the pro-life involvement of the Church. My accuser pointed that while he was also strongly pro-life, being involved in the pro-life movement is worthless if we do not bring these women to Christ, if the only thing we do is persuade them from having an abortion. I didn’t really know how to counter this argument. It was very typical of everything I had been taught as an Evangelical, that is in so many words that conversion of souls is more important than charity. Now, to be fair, it was never worded this way, but the principle definitely holds true. It is more important for us to present an opportunity for a soul to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior than to save the lives of the unborn or to feed the hungry and shelter the poor.
Believe it or not, this accusation has been sitting heavy on my heart for nearly a month now. How do I respond? This is the conclusion that I’ve come to. Jesus Christ tells us that what we do to the least, we do to him.
“The King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
St. Matthew 25:40-46
The first and foremost reason to be strongly active in the pro-life movement is because by the things we do, we do unto Jesus. When we persuade a woman not to murder her child, the life we save is credited to us as saving Jesus’ life. It is not hard to call to mind the terror of Herod as he sought the life of the baby Jesus and slaughtered the Holy Innocents as Joseph fled with the Blessed Mother and the Christ child. We share in Joseph’s virtue by speaking out against the murder of our own holy innocents.
When we reach out to woman who are being lied to by the culture of death, who are being abused for the profits of Planned Parenthood, we reach out to Christ who was sold out on a lie for a small sum of thirty pieces of silver. Christ is clear that if we do not do these things we are not of him, and we will spend eternity in punishment. Christ makes no stipulation that these acts are worthless if they are not completed in union with the Knowing God Personally booklet and an offer to pray with the person to accept Jesus into their life as their personal Lord and Savior. The merit of these actions are unbelievably great because they are credited to us as if we did these things for Jesus himself. Their very nature and virtue makes these acts supreme acts of faith and love.
We would do well, too, to remember that it is not words, but actions that speak the loudest. When we live the Gospel we speak a louder testimony to Jesus Christ than a thousand beach-side Gospel presentations. When we save a life from being snuffed out in an abortuary we save countless generations of people, of God’s chosen ones from never being born. When we save a woman from the pain of an abortion we help to keep her from toeing the line of desperation that can lead one to hell.
Being cause driven is not a bad thing. In fact is a good thing, a very good thing, a commandment from the lips of Jesus Christ.