With Valentine’s Day fresh on our minds, many undoubtedly spent the weekend contemplating the meaning of love. Is love a feeling? A decision? Is it something that ebbs and flows, or a solid force that remains steadfast? As Christians, we have been given the gift of knowing love in all His glory, and He has given us the blueprint for knowing and sharing love with the world.
For Christians, pro-life activism is rooted, above all else, in our call to love. Yes, we are pro-life because logic, science, ethics, and human rights all affirm the pro-life position. However, all of these disciplines are at the service of and in communion with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which informs us that our lives must be animated by love of God, and love of neighbor.
In the twelfth chapter of Mark, Jesus revisits the timeless fundamentals of the Torah. “The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” Jesus tells the scribes, “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these.”
As Christians, we are commissioned to renew the legacy of these divine commands. And as Christian pro-life advocates, our work must be animated – first and foremost – by this love. We may witness some abortion advocates filled with vitriol and hatred; we cannot, in turn, use this same tactic. Instead, we extend dialogue, education, resources, and prayer. We have no need to ever turn to hatred; whereas the abortion movement possesses little to substantiate their position, we possess the consensus of every field.
The commands to love both God and neighbor are intimately connected. Elsewhere in Scripture, for example, we are told that our prayer is in vain if we are not at peace with our neighbor: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar,” we read in Matthew 5:23-24, “and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
If our “gift” is our pro-life work, we must offer it in the way Jesus has outlined for us: moved with love for our neighbor. We are not doing God’s work when we participate in pro-life activism unless we love the women and pre-born children to whom we minister (and, by extension, all of society). Anything less is a betrayal of our calling – indeed, our privilege – to be Christian pro-life advocates. For, as Pope John Paul reminds us, man cannot live without love.