Reflections on Sanctity of Life Sunday

“God became man, so that man could become God”
-St Athanasius; On the Incarnation

We know that God created man in His image and likeness. By taking the dust from the earth, God formed the man Adam and breathed life into him. God then formed Eve from the rib of Adam. We are the only thing fashioned from God’s hands and the only part of creation in which God’s breath flows.

We also live in a fallen world, as we know. So how can man become God? Surely Athanasius only meant God-like! No, Athanasius clearly writes “become God”

Let us then reflect on what makes God who He is.

God is Love. And so we are called to Love.

God is merciful. And so we are called to be merciful.

God grants forgiveness. And so we also are called to forgive.

God is Holy. And so we also are called to be Holy.

God, through His Son, is humble. And so we are called to a life of humility.

God is everlasting. And so we too are called to live a life to try to obtain an everlasting life with God.

Everything God is, we know we are called to do. Even everlasting life. There is nothing new or exciting there.

Yet there is one part of God that is seemingly unique.

God is the creator.

We as humans are unable to say “let there be light.” However, God permitted women to be the part of creation who can also create. Women have the potential to within themselves, form a living, breathing person.

Today is the eve of the 39th anniversary of Roe v Wade. That infamous day in history marked the legalization of abortions in the United States. One of the greatest arguments for those in favor of the procedure is that it is a “woman’s choice” about what is done and happens to her body.

The fact that God gave us free-will was one of the greatest marks of His love. He gave us the choice to be His children, or to live a life of sin. A woman has the choice to abort her child just as much as she has the choice to be a serial killer. She may be praised for one decision and imprisoned for the other, but she can still make that decision. Having this choice does not make it right.

As women we also must realize just how beautiful of a blessing and great a responsibility it is that we are capable of bearing a child in the first place. We have been invited to be part of the creation process with God. I cannot think of anything more powerful.

Recently I found this rendition of the visitation icon:

This icon is from a 13th century church of Timios Stavros in Pelendri, Cyprus. It was eye-opening to see that this is not any kind of “propaganda” icon created specifically for the pro-life movement. Rather, this icon has been part of our tradition for 700 years. From this story we are told that the babe in St. Elizabeth’s womb “leapt for joy” six months into her pregnancy.

As women we have an increased responsibility to protect the life that God gives us. Yes, even when that life is “unwanted” Pregnancies are a miraculous occurrence, especially given how difficult it is to conceive in the first place. Currently our best fertility drugs only have around a 22% success rate. In a recent study, researchers found that fertility placebos had a 12% success rate. The study suggested that for women who find success with fertility pills it was more about stress and a mindset than it was a true physical dysfunction.

God became man, so that man could become God. We should valiantly accept this calling and defend all life. If God could send his Only-Begotten Son to suffer the immense pain of crucifixion and die on the cross, go into Hades and raise up humanity in order to open the door of paradise, surely we can preserve the most holy of blessings and respect the sanctity of life.