It’s a word that drums up a lot of emotion for many.
Some jump to Adnan Syed, of the Serial Podcast, or even OJ Simpson.
Others will recall the innocence of their youth, long before the harsh realities of this world became all too familiar.
While some will remember holding their son or daughter for the first time, and looking into their shining, pure eyes.
But it was the main theme of our first reading at Mass, from Genesis 18.
Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The Lord replied,”If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
[And Abraham persisted to question further and further until…]
“What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”
I’m going to be honest…when I think of that word, my mind goes to one place, and one place only: the womb.
The unborn child: the most innocent, most blameless among us.
It’s no secret that the headlines have been bombarded with outrage over the various pro-life legislation passed here recently. In the wake of the phenomenal movie, Unplanned, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and others have passed truly encouraging pro-life bills to protect those most innocent.
And frankly, much of the country is up in arms, calling America the real life “Handmaid’s Tale” and calling for boycotts of goods and services in these states.
Being a defender of life is met with disdain, judgement, scoffs, and eye rolls, as anyone who opposes “My Body, My Choice” is seen as an anti-woman bully, brainwashed by the “patriarchy.”
But we can take heart at this reading. Because God is literally spelling out the truth for us.
Why is it, that Abraham keeps pestering God with question after question — will you destroy 50 innocent people? Forty-five? Thirty? Twenty? Ten?
As a reader, — and impatient millennial New Yorker — I always read this particular passage with a bit of annoyance — just get to the point already.
But Abraham is grappling with exactly what our legislators are wrestling with: where is the line?
Where is the line where innocent life becomes disposable?
God has a definitive answer.
Every. Single. Innocent. Life. Is. Worth. Protecting.
Bam. There it is.
One innocent life is all it takes.
God has made His position clear. There is value, there is purpose, there is importance in every innocent life.
How easily we have forgotten that as a society.
I’ve personally come a long way in my pro-life beliefs. Had you asked me during my anorexia, I would have shouted from the rooftops, “My body, my choice.”
Why? Because I wanted to destroy and abuse my body however I wanted, and absolutely no one could tell me otherwise.
And as an 18-year old high school senior — a legal adult — technically, no one could.
And though I would never had said “I’m trying to die,” my actions — my choices — communicated otherwise: all you needed to do was look at my 78 pound frame to see the evidence.
It was my body, and I was choosing to destroy it.
And the only way I recovered from such a severe case of anorexia, and left those destructive choices behind, was by realizing that my body was not *mine* to destroy.
My body was purchased at a price – the highest price possible. And therefore, my body is my responsibility. And the choice I must make, in response to that incredible gift — is to use my body to glorify and honor He who saved it.
It is my act of worship. An instrument though which I am to be used by God. It is my privilege, not mine to destroy.
And I finally realized the value that Abraham is so desperately searching for in today’s reading: every single innocent life is worth saving. Protecting. Defending. Respecting.
That is a hard position to take in today’s societal climate. But we are children of the Great Commission, and speaking the truth in love is what we’re called to do on this earth, in the bodies that have been so generously given, created, and purchased for us, as children of God.
May the world realize the value and sanctity of each innocent unborn life, and make the choice to protect each and every one.
About the author:
Caralyn is the writer and speaker behind the blog, BeautyBeyondBones. It has recently been named one of the Top Three Eating Disorder Recovery Sites on the WorldwideWeb. She’s a twenty-something actress and writer in New York City. Having battled a severe case of anorexia and Ulcerative Colitis, she now uses her story of total restoration to positively impact others, and offer Christ’s hope and encouragement for those with eating disorders, and other forms of adversity. Her book, Bloom is now available!
Photo Courtesy of Caralyn. Used with permission. All rights reserved.