Renewing the Culture of Life
Br. Peter Trinko
First, how did we arrive to this point?
While some may be tempted to place the blame on the legal system, politicians, or birth-control, the root of the problem is much deeper. It stems from our modern view of reality which has each generation pushed God further away from both from an intellectual and cultural point of view. Modern philosophy has rejected God as the transcendent Creator and Lord of the universe and instead elevates man and his freedom as an absolute value. This way of thinking has led to moral relativism, where each has their ‘own truth’ with no objective moral norm with which to judge actions as good or evil. In the early 20th century, these ideologies led to unprecedentedly cruel totalitarian groups such as Nazism and Communism, leaving untold destruction and horrors in their path.
In a world that has rejected God entirely, we can expect nothing but the discord, confusion, and culture of death in which we find ourselves today.
While regimes have come and gone, the ideas of moral relativism have continued to permeate in our world creating havoc and destruction in society, the family, and individual persons. Youth are now even confused about the basic truths of sexuality.
None of this should surprise us, because as the Second Vatican Council states, “only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light”. In a world that has rejected God entirely, we can expect nothing but the discord, confusion, and culture of death in which we find ourselves today.
Simply put, modern culture has rejected life because it has rejected God.
This leads us to our second question: how do we bring peace and build a culture of life in our modern world?
In his masterful encyclical on the value on inviolability of human life, St. John Paul II declares that the Gospel of life, which is “at the heart of Jesus’ message” is also “something concrete and personal, for it consists in the proclamation of the very person of Jesus”. It is only through Jesus, His words, actions and very person that “man is given the possibility of "knowing" the complete truth concerning the value of human life”.
But as we have seen, the world has discarded Jesus, who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (cf. Jn 14:6).
And hence, in order to battle the spirit of the world (cf. 1 Cor 2:12), we must seek to “renew all things in Christ”.
We must “restore all things in Christ”.
And what is the way to do this?
I highly advocate reading chapter four of Evangelium Vitae where St. John Paul the Great shows how we can build a new culture of life. Here, I will present just three principal ways JP2 recommends for establishing a culture that is renewed in Christ: preaching, celebrating, and service of charity.
To build a culture of life...we must “restore all things in Christ”
Preaching - "That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you" (1 Jn 1:3)
“To proclaim Jesus is itself to proclaim life” (EV 81). We most promote the dignity of the human person made in the image and likeness of God. Above all, we most proclaim the core message of the Gospel, that our God is a living God, close to us, who loves us dearly and wants us to be with Him forever. The lofty vocation for each man and woman is to partake in the divine nature by grace (cf. 2 Pet. 1:14). We must also not be afraid to speak and witness to the fact that this truth, that human life, a gift from God, is inviolable and sacred, making abortion a grave evil.
Celebration - "I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made" (Ps 139:14)
“To celebrate the Gospel of life means to celebrate the God of life, the God who gives life” (EV 84). Based on a spirit of prayer, we must celebrate with great joy the gift of life and redemption that we have been given by God. This can also be done in public demonstrations, such as peaceful prayer at abortion clinics or by attending the March for Life. Above all, this is to be celebrated in the day-to-day actions of our life, through a spirit of self-giving love for others.
While it can appear to us as an insurmountable task to restore all things in Christ, we can recall an important truth: in order for Christ to reign in the world, He must first reign in me. As the saying goes, “you cannot give what you don’t have”, and we cannot give Christ to the world if we do not possess Him by grace in our soul. To live, preach, and celebrate the gospel of life involves that our lives are rooted in prayer, the sacraments, and a constant striving to acquire virtue and the truth.
We can listen to the words of St. Paul who exhorts us to “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts, to which indeed [we] were called in the one body” (Col 3:15).
As we invite our Lord more and more into ourselves, we allow Him to reign more and more in society. Through living a serious Christian life, including prayer and fasting (cf. Mt. 4: 1-11) we can help bring peace to a troubled world.
 Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), 1
 Live Action estimates 2,363 babies are aborted each day. https://www.liveaction.org
 Beginning with the infamous “I think therefore I am” of Descartes, modern philosophy has gone down a path that inevitably leads to the rejection of God and atheism. See God in Exile: Modern Atheism by Fr. Cornelio Fabro for a detailed analysis.
 Cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22
 EV, 1
 EV 29
 EV 29
 ES, 4
 St. Pius X, E Supremi, 8, https://www.vatican.va/content/pius-x/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_04101903_e-supremi.html
 Come be My Light, p. 58
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