March for Life 2019 Deacon Art Bondy Talk
2019 Right to Life May March for Life
MORE THAN REQUIRED -- By Deacon Art Bondy
The motto of the US Marines is, “More than required.” This means that if you are a member of this elite group, you never seek to be a minimalist, that is, you never ask, “What is the least I can do?” As in, what is the least I can do and still get by, what is the least I can do and be accepted, what is the least I can do and not lose my job, or my standing, or my esteem, or my respect. No, they are always expected to ask themselves, “What is the most I can do?” They are encouraged to give all they have, never doing less than one hundred percent. This is so that not only can they be satisfied with their efforts every day in every way, but also so that their fellow soldiers will always know they can expect that their fellow marines will always have their backs and can be counted on and trusted with their lives. This dependability fosters an attitude of harmony, camaraderie and security in the knowledge that every one of those who bear the name of marine will give all they have, even to the giving of their lives, for each other.
And that is how we should be conducting ourselves here in this great battle for life, love and family we are engaged in. As Winston Churchill said, we must never, never, never, never give up. The devil had a yard sale. As a man was looking over the devil’s tools, he came on one that was a thousand times more expensive than any of the others. He said to the devil, “Why is this one so much more?” The devil said, “Because that is my very best weapon.” The man said, “What do you call it?” The devil said, “It’s called discouragement.”
Some of you may have heard of William Wilberforce. He was born in the late 1700s, into a culture of death, much like today. William was born into a comfortable lifestyle, and he was the youngest person ever elected to the British House of Commons. He could have had a life of luxury and wine, women and song, but he had other ideas. He became convinced that he had to help reform the society he inhabited, a society where sin, slavery, child labour, prostitution, alcoholism and a thousand other evils ran rampant all through every level of society. He set about teaching others and leading by example how to live a moral and ethical and productive life. His greatest goal was to help eliminate the scourge of slavery from all Britain’s colonies. This was considered crazy at the time; he was told the whole economy was dependent on slavery and could not function without it. He was ridiculed, threatened, shunned, but through a slow process of forming alliances and gaining small incremental victories during years and decades of tireless effort, finally just before his death in 1834 slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire. Why did William embark on this mission of reforming the world he lived in? He had a friend who urged him to become a Christian, and having done so, he knew he had to change his life and work to change the world around him. He reformed his own life and worked tirelessly to change the world for Christ, rising from defeat after defeat to final victory because of the strength of the one who gave His life for our salvation. He knew failure is not final and discouragement and despair is not an option.
So how about us?
Or consider Irina Sendler. She lived during the Second World War and was a social worker assigned to the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto. She could have gone about her business and not gotten involved in trying to rescue Jews from certain death. Were she caught, it was certain death for her. However, she organized a dozen other women like herself and helped smuggle over 300 Jewish babies out of the ghetto, where they would surely have been killed as all their families were. She saw to it that they were adopted by Christian families, and she kept records of who the children were, so they could be reunited with any family members left after the war. She was captured and horribly tortured, but escaped with the help of the underground resistance. Why did she do it? She said her father had told her when she was little, “When you see someone drowning, you must try to help them even if you don’t know how to swim.”
But what about us, can we do such feats of heroism as Wilberforce and Sendler? Consider St. Therese of Lisieux. Though she accomplished what the secular world would see as nothing, spending her life in a cloistered monastery, with her little way she has inspired millions over the years to grow closer to our Lord and to help inspire others to bring about the Kingdom. And how about St. Maria Goretti? Her brief 11 years were spent in loving devoted service to the Lord and her family. She resisted against an impure and desperate young man who killed her because she wouldn’t submit to his lustful desires. And because of this heroic modeling of purity even unto death, countless millions have been inspired to respect the gift of purity and have grown closer to the Lord, and like Maria have helped bring about the Kingdom.
There are many ways to serve the Lord and His people, and we dare not judge each other’s call to serve, for only the Lord sees the heart. We can call each other to greater levels of service; we can inspire and urge and admonish those who should know better; we can call others to follow their better angels and grow into their rightful dignity as children of God; but, we must do it all in, with and through the spirit of love. It wasn’t hate that changed Bernard Nathanson from being America’s number one abortionist to becoming a beacon of light for the prolife movement, it was humble and loving prayer from those who opposed the killing but loved the sinner. It wasn’t force that changed Augustine from a perverted young man to becoming one of the Church’s greatest saints, it was the tireless prayer of his devoted mother. It wasn’t armed opposition that changed the haters and racists in the US decades ago to accepting the equality of all the country’s black citizens; it was peaceful nonviolent action and protest which revealed the nation’s ugly sin to itself. We have the promises of almighty God in scripture that He hears our pleas for justice and our cries of “How long?” He has promised us that His kingdom will prevail and His people will be set free, if we turn to Him with patience and steadfastness and righteousness and pure hearts, and do not grow faint in His service. But we must be united. Infighting and isolation among ourselves because of differing views on how to bring about victory will only hamper us.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” As Saint Mother Teresa said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” Life is short. It is also incredibly precious. Every child is made in the image and likeness of God and is worthy of all our efforts at seeing the child cherished and protected. Let us never grow tired of the battle. Each life saved is cause for celebration. As the Chinese proverb says, “Whoever has saved one life, it is as if they have saved the whole world.” Here is a quote from Gandhi, who peacefully freed millions through non-violent action: “It is the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” The current sorrows we face will not cause us to despair if we make the right choices, do not lose heart, and keep on fighting with the tools of the Gospel and righteousness and truth, never giving in to the forces of darkness, discouragement or despair. So let us tell that deceiver, Satan, to back off, for the Lord is our strength and truth shall prevail.