Up Front and Personal

Life Is All About Saying Yes!

By Michael R. Shoule

If God had a sneaker company, the motto might be “Just Say Yes!” And on the Feast of the Annunciation, Father Lawrence’s homily at St. Peter’s Church in downtown Manhattan prior to the International Gift of Life Walk reflected beautifully on Mary’s fiat — her Yes!

While my ears were on the altar, my eyes were drawn to the apse and the detailed painting of St. Peter being crucified upside down in recognition of his feeling of unworthiness to die upright as Jesus Christ did.

As I stared at the semicircular painting, I couldn’t help but associate Peter’s crucifixion with the upside-down world we live in today. A world (and state) in which efforts are made to protect nearly every group, sub-group, and sub-sub-group, yet so little is done to protect the unborn.

Many of us had said yes the morning of March 25 to standing in the wind and rain at the corner of Centre and Reade streets, fittingly with the New York Supreme Court buildings just behind us, getting energized by multiple speakers in advance of our prayerful walk.

Then came the moment of truth for two young teenagers, would-be Simons of Cyrene, as everyone lined up for the walk, and no one was left to hold the banner.

They said yes, and as we hurried down the sidewalk to the front of those assembling in the street, they soon witnessed the hatred that is in some people’s hearts, as many protesters tried to prevent us from being “Heroes for the Unborn” as we walked down the Canyon of Heroes.

The same Canyon of Heroes that has been the site of parades for our beloved Mets (and that other New York baseball team, too). It didn’t take much for tens of thousands of fans to say yes on those days, skipping work or school to be witnesses for their favorite baseball team. Why, then, is it so difficult for us to say yes and be witnesses for the unborn?

The media, politicians, and “rights” groups want us to accept their wrongs, but we can choose not to. Instead, we can choose to be a public witness for unborn babies and hang “Respect Life” banners at our churches and attend Respect Life Masses and participate in rosary processions with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and other groups.

We can choose to stand upright in an upside-down city. The Judgment of the Nations passage is clear that “these least brothers of mine” (Matthew 25:40) de- serve the most from you and me. Love life, choose life.

God knew you before He formed you in the womb, and He wants to change your heart. Mary said yes, and Simon said yes. Will you say yes?

Michael Shoule is a parishioner at American Martyrs in Bayside, where he is the program director and past Grand Knight of their Knights of Columbus council.