By the looks of it, most Australian Catholics will not have a chance to participate in the world-wide vigil for all nascent human life this Saturday, except in the privacy of their homes.
So I thought I'd put up a short piece each day that reflects on why this is such an important subject.
Reflections on why nascent human life is sacred....
And I think the best starting point is to reflect on the dignity of human life. Psalm 8 provides a little mini-catechism on the distinction between humans and the rest of creation:
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour"
In other words, God endows us with the gifts of free will and reason, creating us in his image in a way that is not true of other animals, over which man is granted dominion, with the duty of stewardship.
More, we are called not just to life in this world, but to eternal life. Unlike the animals, we have immortal souls.
These gifts - of being created by God in his likeness and image, and being called to a fullness of life that 'exceeds the dimensions of earthly existence' - are the first source of the sacredness of life, from its very beginning to its end.