As faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, this Advent season calls us in a more profound way to serve moms in need. The image of the Nativity, the Christ Child born in a cave without the luxury of a crib for his head is a reminder to increase our efforts to offer resources and accompaniment to pregnant and parenting women and families in our parishes and throughout the margins of society. Because each child — born and unborn, tiny, and grown — is a beloved child of God made in his image and likeness.
The truth that the eternal Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us is at the very heart of the Christian faith. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote so beautifully in his first encyclical, “Deus caritas est,” “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
Encountering Christ at our parish through Walking With Moms in Need (WWMIN) may give vulnerable lives a new horizon of hope and a decisive direction for a future full of dignity lived in the community.
When Mary encountered Elizabeth, each with their child within, she proclaimed to all generations that “the Lord lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things, and remembers his promise of mercy from age to age “(Lk 1:46-56). In her visit, Mary spoke a message of hope — not only to Elizabeth but to every mother in need and each of us. Now more than ever, with the passing of proposal three in Michigan, we need this saving message of hope through the Incarnation. We are invited by Mary’s witness to go in haste and compassion to seek out vulnerable women who may be fearful and alone in their circumstances. God allows us to bear Christ within us so that others may experience his loving, merciful presence.
One beautiful way to increase our capacity to serve in our parishes is by offering the Into Life series. The Sisters of Life and the McGrath Institute for Church Life created an original 12-part video series based on the Sisters’ work serving pregnant women. Journey with the Sisters of Life as they explain what it means to walk with a woman who is pregnant and vulnerable. Learn what it means to deeply listen to and understand the heart of another, how to rejoice in the beauty of the individual person, and what it means to accompany someone into God’s life and freedom.
In his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae,” Pope John Paul II explains that the Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ saving message to the world. Through Jesus Christ, God reveals to us the dignity of all human life. Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God, reflecting his glory and his imprint. We are therefore called to “respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person’s life.”
Evangelium Vitae teaches us that “the task of accepting and serving life involves everyone, and this task must be fulfilled above all towards life when it is at its weakest.” WWMIN is an intentional process that parishes — and Families of Parishes— can walk through to identify resources and strategies for reaching out to and supporting vulnerable mothers and children by hopefully involving everyone at some level.
The goal of WWMIN is threefold. First and foremost, to improve and better communicate help to pregnant and parenting women and families in need; second, to engage our parish communities in a whole-church, life-affirming initiative of accompaniment; and third, to inspire parishioners to get involved with a new vision of what it means to live the Gospel of Life. WWMIN can become an ongoing work of mercy in every parish that evangelizes all of us, in our pews and on the margins.
The life of each of us, of each baby in the womb, reveals God’s love and glory to the world. May we reverence every life and acknowledge the gift of every child within the womb. This Advent, let us open our hearts and minds to the sanctity of human life offering our hands in practical ways to moms in need because of a Child, God made man, born in a manger in Bethlehem.