The reversal of Roe has caused violence and anger to percolate on social media and has engendered a plethora of misinformation about abortion laws. It seems that many news outlets have become singularly focused on abortion. But we must be always cognizant of the threats to people at the end of life or as they face chronic or terminal illnesses. Being pro-life means caring for people at all stages of life and making sure that they are not only well loved but that they understand their value, even in their darkest moments.
Debilitating illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, ALS, and other such diseases can wreak havoc on bodies, on mental health, and on finances. Often people feel like care for them is a “burden” to family members. They may fear the pain these diseases cause, or they may fear losing independence. To make these fears worse, they read stories about people “dying with dignity” and they begin to internalize someone else’s feelings or the words of organizations like Compassion & Choices, which tell them that their life isn’t worth living and that they should be able to choose to die anytime they want.
Repeated pressure from social media and from organizations focused on the advocacy of assisted suicide laws leads people to truly believe that caring for them is a burden.
We see this not only in our country but throughout the world. For instance, a couple in England made a suicide pact in which the husband told his terminally ill wife that he would take her life and then kill himself, as he didn’t want to live without her. He slit her throat and then attempted to kill himself but failed. He was given a two-year suspended sentence. According to Live Action, “Mansfield said his wife ‘shouldn’t have had to die in such barbaric circumstances . . . that is what we had to resort to. . . . Nobody should have to go through what we went through.’ He added that ‘[s]ome form of euthanasia with terminal illness’ should be ‘a priority,’ and that ‘the sooner that happens the better this country will be.’”
Imagine the frame of mind where individuals think that a country and its people will be better when it allows them to end their lives prematurely. While such suffering is a tragedy for all involved, we must never advocate for or allow the taking of someone’s life because a person is sick or dying. Rather, a country will be better when its people learn a servant’s attitude and understand the importance and beauty of caring for others, even in their final days and hours.
All human beings are valuable, no matter what they can or cannot do. It can be heartbreaking to watch someone you love suffer with an illness. It can be depressing to suffer. And it can cause untold anguish if you feel you have no one to care for you in your time of suffering.
That’s why it’s vital for us all to do our part in caring for others. It’s vital to teach our children the sanctity of life and how to care for others. Lessons like this one from the Culture of Life Studies Program can help as we try to combat a culture of death that teaches we should have total control over when we die. Teaching this mindset is especially important for teens who are growing up in a “me first” world.
In addition to teaching this mindset, we must live out this teaching as we deal with aging parents, sick spouses, or other family members or friends nearing the end of life.
Because we live in a broken world, not everyone has someone who lovingly cares for them in their time of need. To them, we say “Go to your mother—your spiritual mother.”
We can always go to our spiritual mother for guidance, for love, and for support.
Mary has seen suffering. She watched her Son hang in agony on the cross. She watched Him die. She herself felt an agony no mother should ever feel—the loss of a child. She understands the physical and emotional pain you’re going through, and she offers her love during these times.
Strengthening your devotion to Mary and seeking her in prayer will bring solace. You may not receive physical healing, but if you seek her with a loving and open heart, you will find spiritual healing. And that is what is most important.
Throughout the year, we find numerous feast days to our Blessed Mother, but there are five feast days of Our Lady in August:
August 2: Our Lady of the Angels
August 5: Our Lady of the Snows
August 13: Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners
August 15: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 22: Queenship of Mary
If you are suffering or know someone who is suffering, take some time this month to grow closer to Mary, to invite her into your life, and to ask her to be with you.
If you are not yet in that part of life, pray for those who are. Go to our Blessed Mother and ask her to intercede on someone’s behalf. Pray that they have people to joyfully care for them as they leave this world for the next.
As pro-life people, we know that our love and compassion for people do not stop when a baby is born. They continue until the day a person dies and encompass all the time in between. Let us pray that we serve others with God’s love, see them through God’s eyes, and love them as He would.
This article first appeared in The Catholic World Report at catholicworldreport.com/2022/08/01/finding-comfort-in-our-spiritual-mother-this-august.