October: The Month of Mary and Respect for Life

At the beginning of October, Bishop Raica released the 40th installment of his Grace & Peace video series. The complete text of his remarks follows herein.

My sisters and brothers, grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ! October is the month of Mary, our spiritual mother, and Respect Life Month for us Catholics. It is truly a moment to reflect upon these important dimensions of our faith.

First, October is the month of Mary. We cannot imagine life itself without a mother. Even in our spiritual lives, the life of Mary, the new Eve, seeks to bring us together by her “yes” to the invitation to become the mother of Jesus. I wonder what that must have been like! Isn’t it true that the first thing a child just born does is look for his or her mother? There is comfort and tenderness. There is an expression of love because here is new life. Here is new hope. What was nurtured in her womb was not some amorphous clump of cells or a lump of coal. No, it was the living God wanting to be present to us.

Therefore, for us, during this month, the Rosary is such a beautiful gift. We say the familiar greeting of the Archangel Gabriel, “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you.” And then we continue with Mary’s cousin Elizabeth’s cherished words to her, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Then, there is the highlight of the prayer: we name “Jesus” this gift to humanity. Then, we conclude begging Mary, our Mother, “Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.”

How blessed we are for this magnificent gift. So, I urge you to pray the Rosary – at home, when you’re out for a walk, or stop by one of our Eucharistic chapels or churches or shrines. May we lift up our prayer to the Lord, especially through the unique role and presence of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and, at the same time, a mother to each of us in the expression of our faith.

Second, October is Respect Life Month. Similarly, the gift of Jesus who took flesh in the womb of Mary invites us to reflect upon the respect of all life – the most vulnerable, the sick, the suffering, the elderly, the incarcerated, the immigrant, those who are struggling with life itself. Recently, we have been told of a dramatic uptick of suicides, especially among young people who are having difficulty finding meaning in life. Our solidarity with each other, in praying for and highlighting the idea that Jesus is with us to help us along our pilgrim way should not be lost.

We are brothers and sisters all, even the most vulnerable and weak among us. During this Respect Life Month, may we renew our own minds to support and safeguard life. Every life is important. Every life has value. Every life is necessary. Every life is needed. There is no one quite like you and me! Join me in praying that all life be cherished and treasured and for greater awareness for those who have difficulty believing in life as a gift to world.

October is the month of Mary and Respect Life Month. May we grow in our faith acknowledging our spiritual mother, and the respect due all life.