This morning, I spent hours researching all the candidates for this upcoming primary election. As I reflected and prayed through this often tedious process, I was guided by the truth of these three simple words, "ALL lives matter." It's what I love most about the Catholic Church. EaCh life is important and NO life is More important than the other. The life of the immigrant has equal importance to the life of the natural born citizen. The life of the mother has equal importance to the life of the unborn baby. The life of colored people has equal importance to the life of non-colored people. The life of the poor has equal importance to the life of the rich. The life of the LGBT person is equal to the life of the non-LGBT person. The life of a criminal is equal to the life of the non-criminal. ALL lives matter.
Some people have used the phrase "all lives matter" as an oppositional response to the "Black Lives Matter" movement (https://www.raanetwork.org/black-lives-matter-and-immigration/). This, however, is not my intention and is its exact opposite. I use it, because it expresses the truth that we are called to care for the life of all people including and most especially those on the fringes, those who are often discriminated against, the unforgotten and the "least common denominator" in our society.
It is difficult for me to watch people and politicians "debate" over issues when it most often becomes a death match over who is right and who is wrong. I see friends, family members and strangers attacking each other for holding contrary opinions without considering what the "other" has to share. In addition, there are those who see their particular issue as "the" issue that supersedes or is deemed as more important than the rest.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1, it is written, "If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal." God calls us to speak and act with love. He urges us to see those who are often unseen, and He inspires us to advocate against injustice of all kinds out of love for them. Why? Because their life matters too! The life of the black person, the life of the disabled, the life of the elderly, the life of the criminal, and so on. We can not hate one and love the other, because "for if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them" (Luke 6:32). As Christians we are called to be emblems of mercy, of peace, and most importantly, of Love!
Who or what group of people do you struggle loving? Throughout this upcoming election, how have you spoken with or without love to those who hold opinions contrary to yours? How is God calling you to grow in love today? How have you experienced God's love through others? And how are you called to share God's love with others?
My prayer is that in this upcoming election, we (and this includes me) can learn to speak with Love as we express our individual viewpoints regarding candidates, significant issues, and all aspects of this election and all future elections. In addition, I fervently pray that we will advocate for the most vulnerable in our society. May we see differences in viewpoints as an opportunity to grow in understanding of others, and may we speak with a desire to express the love and mercy of Christ who lives in us not to condemn but to be His presence and His light in this world!