He would have healed a few sick people, gave the peace sign, and went back to heaven.
I’m Pro-Love Baby!
During my weekend in San Francisco, in between giving parish talks, a couple of my walking partners and I were walking around downtown. We encountered quite a few characters along the way, including a group of men dressed as Harlem Globetrotters with extremely short shorts. One of them saw our pro-life shirts and said, “I’m pro-life, pro-love, baby!” At that moment, with my preconceived notions of San Francisco, I was mostly just happy that he didn’t tell us to abort ourselves. The more I consider this statement, however, I feel that our beliefs which have taken on the same words have suddenly come into collision with one another. We are obviously pro-life, and I don’t think I could take anyone who called himself anti-love seriously. However, I have to continue to ask myself what he meant by calling himself pro-life and pro-love. I would call myself pro-love as well, though my definition of love is drastically different than the one presented in most of our culture. The image of love in our culture is one of sunshine and happiness, which is fair. The problem is that life is not always sunshine and happiness, and love cannot cease in these moments. As someone involved in the pro-life movement, I have heard too many stories of women who have chosen abortion because their boyfriends would leave them or their families would disown them if they chose life for their children. This is the exact opposite of love, yet too many people who advocate “love” accept these happenings. Our culture proclaims a love that is free, but love cannot ever be free. Love is demanding. Love requires us to be ready to risk our time, our comfort, our resources, and even our lives for the sake of another. The example we at Crossroads look to as our way of knowing how to love is Jesus Christ crucified. Christ loved all of us with such a burning intensity that he gave himself up to whatever pain and suffering was required in order to reunite the world under God through the forgiveness of our sins and the redemption of this whole creation. If Jesus had subscribed to a modern understanding of love, he would have healed a few sick people, gave the peace sign, and went back to heaven. Jesus, however, made himself one with humanity through poverty, suffering, and eventually death on a cross, and we are called to love one another with such intensity that we would be available and willing to do the same. Love should be the driving force behind the pro-life movement. This movement is more than trying to save as many lives as possible. It is about feeling love for each unborn child, prisoner on death row, pregnant teenager, elderly person, and depressed person prepared to take his life. To love like Christ is to give yourself up for the good of others, and all people who consider themselves pro-life should follow this model.