October 7, 2022

Pastoral Ministries / Brie Anne Varick

Respect Life Month reminds us ‘to serve moms in need’

Brie Anne VarickEach October, the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month.

As Catholics we are called to cherish, defend and protect those who are most vulnerable, from conception to natural death.

During the month of October, the Church asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life and to build a culture that protects it. To help us focus and dive more deeply into the dignity of every human life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gives the Church in the United States a theme. This year, it is “Called to Serve Moms in Need.”

To receive a better understanding of what it looks like to be “Called to Serve Moms in Need,” we should look to our Blessed Mother Mary.

In the Gospel of Luke, we hear the story of the annunciation where the angel Gabriel shares the good news that Mary will be the mother of God. The angel Gabriel also shares that Mary’s cousin Elizabeth is pregnant. Mary not only gives her “yes” and surrenders to God’s will, but with Jesus dwelling within her, makes haste to serve Elizabeth in her unexpected pregnancy.

Our Blessed Mother shows us how to respond to receiving the gift of Jesus Christ with generosity and love. Mary received the most wonderful grace; God was dwelling within her! She did not demand to be served or seek affirmation in this amazing gift, but in humility and “in haste” (Lk 1:44) offered herself in service. She went to accompany a mom in need.

Mary not only offers herself, but she brings Jesus with her! We too are called to receive Jesus and bring Jesus to serve moms in need.

As Catholics, we have the gift of the sacrament of the Eucharist that allows us to enter this mystery in a tangible way. Mary received the Word made flesh and Jesus dwelled within her.

As Catholics, we receive the true presence of Jesus. We receive his body, blood, soul and divinity. When we go to Mass and receive Communion, Jesus dwells within us. This, the Eucharist, is the source and summit of our faith!

When we can surrender to the grace that allows us to believe and know that it is Jesus that we truly receive, we will come to understand that we are not alone. It is through the Eucharist where our strength, compassion, patience, perseverance and mercy flows.

Mary received Jesus and responded immediately to the call to serve, to reveal the reality that God is with us and we are not alone. It is also our call to serve the vulnerable and share Jesus with them.

I pray that we all may come to know the reality that Jesus abides in us and dwells in us. I pray that we may respond in haste to the call to serve moms in need so that they too may know the reality that they are not alone.

(Brie Anne Varick is director of the archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity. Her office and the Catholic Charities-Social Concerns Ministry have created a new website, walkingwithmomsindy.org, to list resources located in central and southern Indiana for pregnant and parenting moms. Respect Life Month materials from the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities can be found online at respectlife.org/respect-life-month.)

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