God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother’s womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– Collect from this morning’s Mass
Today is the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion in this country, and in the U.S. Catholic Church, it is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. During his homily this morning, Fr. Richards referenced the prayer above, specifically, to the phrase “stewards of creation.” That phrase captured my attention, because it seems a common-sense way to begin to bridge the moral divide in this country, not only on abortion, but on other issues related to creation and life.
The creation story—which is more an account of why the universe came to be, rather than how—culminates with the creation of humanity, to whom God gives the following instructions: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). The Lord creates everything for us and entrusts it to our care. In the beginning, at least, this arrangement was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
It didn’t take long for the wheels to come off. Adam and Eve want more than the everything they have been given and seek godhood for themselves. They, and we, experience the tragic consequences of their Fall: weakness, temptation, sin and death. But God does not abandon us, and our role is still the same: We are stewards of creation. The universe and all that is in it is entrusted to us to care for, to manage, to make fruitful, to share.
This means we should work to prevent all heedless or needless destruction of life and its elements. At its root, this does not seem to me to be a Left-versus-Right principle; fundamentally, waste of any kind is foolish—especially waste of gifts we are powerless to recreate ourselves, be it a planet, an ecosystem or any individual person.
Regardless of your opinion on climate change or animal rights, conservation and care for the environment make sense. Regardless of your opinion on unwanted pregnancies or abortion rights, investing in women and families in crisis makes sense. And the more we reach out in love on these issues, the more common ground we are likely to find. Common ground is the fertile soil in which trust takes root—and trust is the first threshold of conversion.
Conversion is our goal: We exist to bring souls to Christ. Let us begin.
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Blogger’s Note: This post first appeared as part of the Wednesday Witness blog series on the St. Michael Catholic Church website.