Like a Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness
The old philosophical question asks, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound?” Obviously, whether or not anyone sees a tree fall or hears it crash to the ground, there is an appreciable effect. The tree was standing and now it is not, resulting in a dramatic impact on the surrounding environment.
This same philosophy can be applied to abortion. Generally, there are no witnesses in the womb to watch what happens to an unborn baby during a brutal dismemberment or chemical attack. Yet, the point is not whether or not this act is seen or heard or experienced by society. The issue at hand is that abortion affects society as a whole regardless of their reaction; it tragically impacts the surrounding environment.
Crying Out Against Abortion Is Not Emotional
The real argument, however, is not if we are affected by violence within the womb on an emotional level. Regardless of how we shield ourselves from the horror, society is suffering. The world is made a harsher place every time this barbaric behavior is repeated. It may not appear to be so, but it hardens hearts a bit more each and every time it happens. The dignity of women and new life is cheapened.
While it is reflexive nature on the part of humans to turn away from the worst aspects of this world, reality remains the vitally relevant. However, we humans have an innate desire to turn to the lighter side of life. This premise is easily illustrated by the countless pictures of fluffy kittens, the beauty of flowers, and photo-shopped landscapes that persistently stream across our Facebook feed. There is a sort of soothing comfort in viewing the innocuous.
Avoiding the Painful Is Natural
Beauty in nature, corny jokes, and romping puppies are much easier to look at than the grim reality of the intentional death of an unborn child at the hand of her mother. This, however, cannot change the grim reality. No matter how hard the pull to turn the other way, our obligation to cry out against it is not negated by the sheer revulsion it may bring. We are, indeed, our brother’s keeper. To think otherwise is to turn away from the command of Jesus to love one another as He loves us.
In an effort to share the frustration I experience when attempting to raise the issue of abortion and the urgency that is necessary to spur action, I want to share an anecdote with you. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my tendency to consistently beat the pro-life drum on social media. Lamentably, I often feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness. My passion, fueling hundreds of pro-life posters and countless essays, often appears to fall on deaf ears. Conversely, innocuous posts and jokes garner a multitude of positive reactions.
Self or the Babies
On perusing most social media streams, one conclusion is obvious. We do love talking about ourselves. On any given day, there are polls and self revealing questionnaires galore. Of course, the response to questions about your life, likes, and experiences is not a problem in and of itself. I happen to enjoy learning little, harmless trivia about my friends. So it is not my intention to shame those who play along.
However, I would like to point out the disproportionate responses. As a pro-life advocate, I find it disheartening to see such unfettered reaction to something banal when the important topics are often left to the feedback of a few – usually other pro-life advocate. This looks a lot like preaching to choir, which is encouraging but not life changing. There is a real urgency to educate and change hearts.
Why the contrast in reaction between the superficial and the life altering? The thoughts on behalf of some Facebook friends make a lot of sense. We humans like to feel safe and unthreatened. It is completely benign to comment on quirky questionnaires or kittens or corny jokes. No one will engage us in uncomfortable dialogue. We escape being called out as fanatics or holier than thou. These surface topics make us just one of the crowd – safe in the anonymity of the many. Alternatively, when we publicly witness on the tough issues, we take a chance and expose ourselves to judgment and backlash. Difficult questions are raised and rare theories beg to be answered.
Do Not Assume Anything
There is also the reasonable assumption that the harshly realistic topics are quietly being noticed. They are being read and prayed about and shared with others. Perhaps a seed is planted and a firmer conviction is being formed. The fruits of this labor of love is, for me, well worth the struggle. On the one chance in a million that something will change and someone will have a change of heart or feel the strength to act – all of my frustrated efforts become worthwhile.
Yet, even in offering our poor attempts to witness to the faith, the tendency is to be result oriented. The need to achieve is written firmly on our minds in this earthly home. Yet we are in no position to expect great achievement as a result of our efforts. As workers in God’s vineyard, our task is to bend to the Master’s will. The outcome, as the rest of our being, is in His capable hands. A wise quote often attributed to Blessed Mother Teresa gives us the proper perspective, “God doesn’t require us to succeed; He only requires that we try”.
“For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.” Philippians 2:13
Be a Voice Crying In the Wilderness
So when we cry out for His glory in the wilderness, we have already achieved all that is possible for our human frames. The Almighty God, Creator of all, will tend to the rest. Our sole purpose, then, is to do His bidding – to witness to the best of our abilities while loving Him through those whom we encounter.
The voice crying in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Mark 1:3
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Note: Learn more about the 650+ pro-life memes I freely share, check out Free Pro-Life Memes: 4 Ways They Inspire or the Designs by Birgit – Catholic Life In Our Times fan page on Facebook. Maybe you will be moved to share.