Columns

The right path

Originally Appeared in : 9903-1/31/19

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When I was in the fifth grade, I placed beans over moist cotton balls inside clear plastic cups and waited. Soon enough, a slender green shoot sprung forth from one of the beans. I still clearly remember the excitement I felt to see life spring forth from the small, plain bean. The shoot grew quickly, and its bright green color stood in contrast to the dark bean. I do not recall the exact topic of the science fair project

 

I was conducting, but I do remember well my amazement at the life that effortlessly emerged right before my eyes from a plain bean.

 

Growing up on a farm I saw the power of nature bring forth life over and over again. Fields were plowed, and seeds were scattered. Rainwater came, and life emerged from the dirt. I saw calves born, sometimes needing to be pulled out with a rope tied to their front legs as they emerged from cows in labor. I saw the newborn calves quickly rise, follow their mothers, drink milk, and call out to their mothers desperately if separated. I experienced the death and the return of the animals to the earth, most of them in the woods past the milking parlor.

 

I recently spent time with a cousin and her husband as they waited for the birth of their first child. Just three days after I left them, the baby was born. Seeing a pregnant woman with new life within her that grows and kicks is truly inspiring. The springing up of new life from where there was none is a constant reminder of God’s presence and continued work. It is a quiet yet powerful presence seen in the way a shoot emerges from a bean, or a days-old baby forms in the womb. 

 

Hundreds of thousands recently gathered in Washington, D.C. to defend the precious right which is the right to life. On its 46th year now, the March for Life continues to be a concrete and loud expression of what millions believe: All life is precious from its beginning, and it must be defended especially at its start because it is fragile and voiceless. The marchers wish to become the voice of the voiceless, the millions who were not afforded the choice to live. 

 

Cardinal Joseph Bernadin, former archbishop of Chicago, questioned that if the value of a human life is not upheld, how can any other human value or right be upheld? There is no earthly value more fundamental than human life itself, therefore, without human life being defended, we cannot defend any other human values. Bernadin also wrote, “the more one reverences human life at all stages, the more one becomes committed to preserving the life of the unborn, for this is human life at its earliest and most vulnerable stage.” 

 

Once I finished my project in the fifth grade, I recall not being able to just throw away the life that had emerged from the beans. Instead I planted them in the backyard. To my 10-year-old mind, it felt wrong to simply dispose of life in a trash can. How much more precious is a human life. The conversion of hearts and minds alone will lead to a change in our society where the value of life is respected and treasured by all. One step at a time, one march at a time, may hearts be changed and society be renewed.

 

Father Pablo Migone is chancellor of the Diocese of Savannah and resides in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah.

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