When it comes to family, we often think about the wonder and mystery of pro-creation. There is good reason for this. There is a Trinitarian invitation through the sacrament of marriage for husbands and wives to take part in the creative power of God. Pro-creation is a sublime mystery. Because it involves human sexuality, it is easily misunderstood. Nevertheless, it is a supreme joy for every mother and father.
Adoption also has deep theological significance and basis. Analyzing the theological foundation of adoption can help us both better understand a profoundly generous human act and the Father’s work of salvation. In the end, adoption also bears a supreme dignity that should be promoted more broadly.
In several instances throughout his letters, St. Paul lays out a Theology of Adoption. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal 4:4-5) Here St. Paul directly states that we have become adopted sons and daughters of the Father through the Incarnation of the Son.
Christ exhorted us to call him brother and friend and thus with Christ we can say “Abba Father.” (Gal 4:6) The Semitic word “Abba” is a special key to understanding the significance of “Abba Father.” “Abba” is a very affectionate term for father. It would be like us saying “daddy.” Through Christ, we become adopted sons and daughters of God the Father and Father desires a kind of closeness with his adopted children that is signified by a word like “Daddy.”
St. Paul continues to say, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal 4:7) This means that through adoption, we have become heirs to all that the Father has. This idea of inheritance is extremely important. As adopted sons and daughters, we are not second class citizens, but rather full heirs of the heavenly kingdom. The Father’s love through adoption holds nothing back.
If we stop to think about it, this should blow our minds. God the Father desires that we, His adopted son and daughters, inherit EVERYTHING that is due to the Son. Christ, the Son, makes this possible by paying the adoption fee with His life. This kind of divine love simply doesn’t exist in any other religion.
In Ephesians, St. Paul explains that adoption through the Son is part of God plan for salvation. “[God] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:4-6)
The analogy between the Father’s plan for salvation through adoption and husbands and wives adopting children in need of families can teach us so much in both directions. God the Father’s adoption of all of us through the Son teaches us much about the dignity of adoption. At the same time, adopting children in need gives us a small glimpse of God the Father’s love in adopting us and making us full heirs. Of, course divine adoption and human adoption are the not the same, but the analogy is extremely important for understanding love, both human and divine.
After this brief tour of the Theology of Adoption, I hope you get one simple take-away. When you adopt a child, you are imitating God the Father.
Mo Woltering is the Headmaster of Covington Latin School. He is married and has 6 children.
It is a great joy for to have this occasion to speak to you and send forth the graduating Class of 2015.
I had the privilege of teaching and serving here for 7 years. In so many ways, Holy Family Academy formed who I am today as an educator.
One of the great foundational concepts operative here at Holy Family Academy is that formation is a part of the educational mission.
So Class of 2015 and future graduates, while you deserve much congratulations for your great accomplishment, my wish and challenge for you is that you continue your education and formation that you started here—that you thirst for more.
In a just a few minutes, I would like to discuss how formation occurs and why we should thirst for more.
To better understand the nature and role formation at a Catholic school, it is necessary to reflect upon an age-old concept that was most notably articulated by St. Thomas Aquinas. This concept is something called connaturality. Let’s take a look at this passage from the Summa.
Now rightness of judgment is twofold: first, in accord with the complete use of reason, second, on account of a certain connaturality with the matter about which one has to judge. Thus, about matters of chastity, a man after inquiring with his reason forms a right judgment, if he has acquired the knowledge of ethics, while the one who has the virtue of chastity judges of such matter by a kind of connaturality. Accordingly it belongs to the wisdom that is an intellectual virtue to pronounce right judgment about divine things after reason has made its inquiry, but it belongs to wisdom as a gift of the Holy Spirit to judge aright about them on account of connaturality with them. Thus Dionysius says (Div. Nom.ii), ‘The man of God is complete in divine things, not only by learning, but also by suffering divine things (patiens divina).’ Suffering with God and connaturality with God (compassio et connaturalitas) is the result of charity, which unites us to God, according to 1 Cor.6:17: Anyone united to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him. Consequently wisdom which is a gift, has its cause in the will, which cause is charity, but it has its essence in the intellect, whose act is to judge aright, as stated above.” (Summa Theol., II-II, q.45, a.2).
This passage is obviously very complex. We could easily spend a whole semester exploring the different aspects of connaturality, but I think there are a few simple things we can get from this passage that will serve us well. The first thing to notice is that St. Thomas clearly distinguishes connaturality from the “use of reason.” So we could say that gaining knowledge through connaturality would be different from textbook or classroom type of learning or instructional learning. Second, we should notice that connaturality is associated with virtue, which is doing things rightly, not necessarily just thinking rightly. Third, and perhaps most importantly, we should see that connaturality is a gift that comes from compassio, or a kind of suffering with God. This presupposes a receptivity to God’s gift. In other words, we have to be open to knowledge through connaturality.
So what’s the point of talking about connaturality in the context of education and formation? The point is that the human person is not just a thinker; he is also a receiver. That’s not to say that knowledge through the use of reason is not also a gift. However, St. Thomas is pointing out that we receive knowledge in other ways besides from conventional instruction. Knowledge can come from a certain closeness or openness to God, which is lived out through virtue. Understanding the role connaturality can play in education casts great importance to even the smallest details of daily life at a school.
Indeed, for a school to be successful in imparting a connatural knowledge of God and the permanent things, it has to structure its daily life to transmit the Good, the True and the Beautiful. Philosophically speaking, these are the properties of being. The Good, the True and the Beautiful are metaphysical properties. Rooted in being, each transcends the limitations of place and time. We call them the transcendentals. These transcendentals are not contingent upon cultural diversity, religious doctrine, or personal ideologies, but are the objective properties of all that exists.
Traditonal philosophy also holds that the transcendental are all convertible. That is to say where one exists, they all exist. Where the good is, there is also the true and beautiful. Where there is beauty, there is also truth and goodness.
What you have done in the classroom has certainly given time the encounter the Good, the True and the Beautiful. However, what you have done outside the classroom has had perhaps an even more power effect on your formation.
Your formation here at Holy Family Academy has occurred in the encounter with the good, the true and the beautiful that permeate the school’s daily life. In singing in Choir, in performing on stage, in the translating of Vergil, in the pick-up games of basketball, in your relationships and most powerfully, in your encounter at the Altar.
I would like to give you another quote to consider. This is a quote from a recent giant among Catholic thinkers, Stratford Caldecott. He unfortunately passed away last year. This is what he says about Catholic education.
The purpose of education is not merely to communicate information, let alone current scientific opinion, not train future workers and managers. It is partly to teach the ability to think, speak and write. This was the function of the classical Trivium of Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric, the essential foundations for the study of the various subjects in the Quadrivium. Yet even this falls short of the goal. More important than the ability to think—or, if you prefer, the highest aim of thought—is the ability to find meaning. We must be able to perceive the inner, connecting principles, the intrinsic relations, the logoi, of creation. For this the eye of the poet, or of the mystic, is needed. Education should lead to contemplation. (Stratford Caldecott, “A distinctively Catholic school,” Communio 19, 274)
Caldecott makes a striking point here by saying that even the traditional ideals of education, like the Trivium and Quadrivium, are not enough for the fulfillment of the human person. Education should provide the person with the tools to find meaning. “Education should lead to contemplation.”
Class of 2015 and future graduates of Holy Family Academy, I give you a challenge. I challenge you to continue your education and formation in the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We have reflected upon the philosophical nature of formation and connaturality. There is a practical reason for continuing your formation. There is no question that a persecution is coming for faithful Catholics and the Church Christ founded. In the near future, it will become increasingly more difficult to live our Catholic faith publicly and live according to conscience. You will need more than reason to judge how to live according to conscience. You will need connatural knowledge to best judge when not to lash out against injustice because of its futility. And you will need that same virtue in your hearts to know when a moral absolute compels you to risk your reputation, career, family and even your life to uphold the Truth.
There is also a Christological reason for thirsting for more—thirsting for more education and formation in the Good, the True and the Beautiful. In the Gospel of John, Christ says “Ego sum via et verita et vita.” I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. Among other things, Christ is saying “I am the Good, the True and the Beautiful. When you pursue the Good, the True and the Beautiful, when you allow yourself to be formed by the Good, the True and the Beautiful, you are being formed by Christ Himself. In other words, education and formation is really pursuing Christ with your intellect, your appetites, your imagination and your relationships.
I want to leave you with the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the words deserve a little introduction. Many people do not realize that she received locutions during her life. She heard the words of Christ in her prayer and meditation. These are some of the words that Christ spoke to her on one occasion. These are the words that Christ speaks to us everyday.
It is true. I stand at the door of your heart, day and night. Even when you are not listening, even when you doubt it could be Me, I am there. I await even the smallest sign of your response, even the least whispered invitation that will allow Me to enter.
And I want you to know that whenever you invite Me, I do come – always, without fail. Silent and unseen I come, but with infinite power and love, and bringing the many gifts of My Spirit. I come with My mercy, with My desire to forgive and heal you, and with a love for you beyond your comprehension – a love every bit as great as the love I have received from the Father (“As much as the Father has loved me, I have loved you…” (Jn. 15:10) I come – longing to console you and give you strength, to lift you up and bind all your wounds. I bring you My light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and My peace I give to still your soul.
I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds.
Ladies and gentlemen, why should you thirst for Christ as you continue your education? Because Christ thirsts for you.
May God bless you and keep you.
June 6, 2015
Bishop Foys, Fr. Maher, Reverend Fathers, Superintendent Clines, Esteemed Faculty, Parents, Friends and Dear Graduates, each year I am privileged to be a part of a Latin School graduation, the occasion is sweeter. It’s because there is one more year to get to know the graduates.
It has been a joy to serve you as Headmaster for three years. In the few words I have here tonight, I would like to do two things. I would like to congratulate you and I would like to give you a charge.
To help me do these two things, I want to tell you a story about a boy who grew up in Poland. This boy was born on May 18, 1920 in a small Polish town called Wadowice. To his family and friends he was known as Lolek.
Lolek began secondary schooling at age ten. It was here that he began his studies in Latin and Ancient Greek. This path was not too out of the ordinary for children in Poland at that time, but Lolek’s embrace of early responsibility also included extra hardship and sorrow. Lolek’s mother died when he was 9 and his brother died when he was 12.
Lolek’s father worked hard to put his son through school and Lolek carried out his obligations with diligence and grace. Lolek’s early embrace of responsibility also meant that at an early age he set out on a course of Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.
It was easy to see the virtue of goodness in Lolek. Wadowice was a town of about 8,000 Catholics and 2,000 Jews. One of Lolek’s best friends, Jerry Kluger, was Jewish. Jerry recalls a part of their childhood that speaks volumes about the goodness of Lolek. In his book Jerry remembers that there was always a disparity between soccer teams when the kids would form teams for pick-up play after school. Lolek always volunteered to play on the Jewish team to make up for their numbers. At an early age, Lolek recognized the seeds of anti-Semitism and he was willing to risk himself to correct that injustice.
It is at this point where I want congratulate you Covington Latin School Class of 2015. Very much like Lolek, you chose to embrace responsibility at an early age. In a concrete way you started a path like Lolek’s. Like Lolek you embraced a course of intensive studies that has included Latin, and for some of you Ancient Greek. You have started a path to leadership and started developing the necessary skills, like critical thinking, clear writing and eloquent speaking. You have represented your school and your faith in so many ways like competing on our sports and academic teams, giving yourselves to your neighbor through community service and serving our Shepherd as a Pontifical Server.
You have embraced and fulfilled responsibility at an early age. For this you truly deserve credit and congratulations. Indeed, you deserve a well-earned celebration.
In giving something to take with you as you leave Latin School, I want to continue the story of Lolek. However, at this point in his life he was no longer known by the diminutive name Lolek. Instead, he now was known by his Christian name Karol. Karol’s university career was interrupted by the Nazi invasion of Poland. During this very tense and dangerous time, we can see the virtue of discipline in Karol’s life and actions.
The discipline Karol displayed was not simply working hard and fulfilling his obligations. The Nazi occupation demanded a kind of discipline that involved not lashing out in response to atrocities when it would have done no good, courage in offering peaceful and symbolic resistance to Poland’s oppressors and correct judgement in knowing when one should risk his life in order to save another person. From 1939 to 1945, the Germans murdered 5.5 million Poles. 3 million were Polish Jews. The Germans killed thousands of priests and nuns, as well as teachers and professors. It took intense prudential discipline to live and to live according to conscience.
During this time period, Karol was forced to work in a stone quarry for four years. By night, he participated in several different clandestine activities. One of the activities was a secret theater group where he and fellow thespians wrote and performed plays to remember and celebrate Polish independence. It was their way of inspiring hope in one another. He also decided to begin secret seminary studies to become a priest despite the danger.
There was also a moment where he had to decide to risk his life to save another. Towards the end of the Nazi occupation, Karol came across a 14 year-old Jewish girl who had managed to escape from a Labor Camp. She had absolutely no strength left. Karol got food for her and somehow he managed to get her on a train and took her to Krakow, where he left her with friends who would help. Her name was Edith Zierer and the next time she heard about Karol was when he became Pope.
So my charge to you or my challenge to you as you go forward is to learn more about Karol Wojtyle, St. John Paul II, and follow his example. You have already started a similar path of Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge. You have already embraced early responsibility like young Lolek. It’s time to follow his example as an young adult.
To conclude, let us briefly consider what St. John Paul II said about knowledge. This is a passage from his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, the Splendor of Truth.
In the depths of everyone’s heart there always remains a yearning for absolute truth and a thirst to attain full knowledge of it. This is eloquently proved by man’s tireless search for knowledge in all fields. It is proved even more by his search for the meaning of life. The development of science and technology, this splendid testimony of the human capacity for understanding and for perseverance, does not free humanity from the obligation to ask the ultimate religious questions. Rather, it spurs us on to face the most painful and decisive of struggles, those of the heart and of the moral conscience.
Knowledge is more than information. Knowledge is the judgement of ideas because ideas have consequences. Karol Wojtyle knew intimately about the ideas that were behind Nazi Fascism and Soviet Communism. These ideas justified the slaughter of millions of innocent people. There are ideas today in our society that justify to killing of innocent people.
Graduates, as future leaders, it is up to you to continue to cultivate your knowledge so you can rightly judge the ideas that compete for rule in our society.
Most importantly, knowledge should be inspired by the light of God. And so dear graduates I leave you with the words of St. John Paul II given at World Youth Day in Toronto 2002. You should consider this as John Paul II speaking to you. This is what he says.
“People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him. True joy is a victory, something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle. Christ holds the secret of this victory.” (World Youth Day 2002 Toronto, Canada, Welcoming Address, 2)
Dear graduates, may God bless you and keep you always.
Allan Carlson, one of the most accomplished family sociologists of our day, has a very interesting view on the breakdown of the family. He points out that before the industrial revolution, children played a large role on the family farm and contributed vital help in procuring the livelihood of the whole family. Parents taught their children important craftsman, trade and life skills. Children became productive and responsible at an earlier age and would do the same when they became parents. Religion was also lived and practiced in a holistic way and was dependably passed down from generation to generation.
After family farming became less viable for most families, dads (and moms) left the house to find work. Children were not called upon to be productive and responsible until their schooling was complete. Family members had different roles during the day that often never overlapped. Now of course, average family life looks much different than the family farm.
Carlson’s point here is not to idealize the past that we can never hope to recover. His point is that the family farm provided an opportunity to families to be productive as a family. It allowed family members to have a shared enterprise, to overcome challenges collectively and enjoy the fruits of their labor together. There is a real difference in a family that is productive as a family and a family that is just a consumer.
Carlson’s point is a challenge to us. Are we, as families, just consumers?
I think it’s an important question to face as Catholic families, as domestic churches. If our families are going to be the first school of values and virtues for our children, I think we will be naturally productive in some way. We can flip this around. If our families are productive in some way as a family, we will automatically be schools of values and virtues for our children.
So if the family farm is not realistic for most of us, how can we approach this?
There are all kinds of ways for families to be productive as families. Here are a few ideas, but there are so many ways, both large and small, in which families produce beauty and benefit.
The family business, whether it’s a main livelihood or a source of secondary income, is a common enterprise for many families. There are so many families out there where dads are running businesses, moms are keeping the books and accounts and children are taking part at various levels. Invariably, children are excited and enthusiastic about learning business skills and making a real contribution to family income.
Education should be a family enterprise, even if kids attend school. These days successful students need their parents to be involved in the daily life of the school for negotiating the various aspects classroom and extra-curricular obligations. In addition, there are so many educational opportunities outside of school families can take advantage of together. Trips to museums, historical sites, cathedrals, symphonies, botanical gardens, zoos, plays, teaching farms and nature parks are all great educational experiences families can have together. Chronicling these experiences by way of a family blog or other social media is a good way to keep and expand the family memory.
Before mass media, families would often play music together for entertainment. I know a few families who still do this today and it’s remarkable to see how much fun and joy they have together. The great thing about the performing arts is that the performers get be artists. So making music as a family is a tremendously productive enterprise. Even just singing together as a family can be so much fun. And when it comes to hymns and religious music, St. Augustine reminds us that “a person who sings, prays twice.” So it stands to reason that a domestic church would sing together as a part of their family prayer.
Backyard and community gardening is making a strong comeback and the benefits of gardening for families are numerous. Gardening is actually easy and it’s a terrific activity in which all family members can be involved. Watching the full cycle of plant life is an outstanding educational opportunity that children can have on a hands-on level. Fresh home-grown produce offers great health benefits in comparison to store-bought produce. It usually tastes better too. And finally there’s great satisfaction for families in enjoying the fruits of their collective labor at the family table.
So families, don’t just be a consumer. Produce something beautiful for yourself and for God.
Endnote—Allan Carlson is the President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society
For more than half a century, the prevailing forces in society have been telling people that personal fulfillment lies in sexual fulfillment. And sex sells. So mainstream media is saturated with sex. We are bombarded with ads and graphic language on how to extend one’s sex life in the senior years. Marriage, through no-fault divorce, in the eyes of many has become almost meaningless. Young people, at increasingly younger ages, are being pressured to identify themselves as a particular orientation or gender (there are 56 according to Facebook) so that they can realize their sexual fulfillment. The sexual revolution is now basically a sexual anarchy and the wreckage of confusion, alienation and brokenness is piling up beyond our imagination.
For more than a quarter century now, Pope St. John Paul II has been trying to tell people that personal fulfillment lies in the gift of self—Love. In 1979, John Paul II began a series of Wednesday Audiences, which has become known in the United States as the Theology of the Body. In the rest of the world, these Wednesday Audiences have become known as the Catechesis on Human Love, which I think better captures the wide breadth of John Paul’s teaching.
Throughout the Wednesday Audiences, John Paul II kept emphasizing in different ways one passage from Vatican II, “Man is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, [and he] cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” (Gaudium et Spes 24)
This makes sense if we think about the origin of the human person. Man and woman are made in the image of God. (cf. Gen 1:27) We have to remember that God is a loving communion of three Persons. In fact, the actual words in the Bible are “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1:26) So we are made in the image of love between persons. This is why John Paul II repeatedly stressed, the human person made from love, for love and called to love.
The Second Person the Trinity shows us what true love is. He gave himself completely in His Passion and Death to redeem us. In fact, he gave His Body to do this. Moreover, He continues to give His Body to us in the Eucharist so that we can imitate His act of love.
This is the very core of Theology of the Body. We are meant to realize personal fulfillment through love, which is only true when it is a gift of self. It’s only when we have the primacy of love in the hierarchy of human values that we can properly orient the dimension of sexuality in the human person. Acknowledging love as self-gift is not a denial of sexuality, but rather it allows sexuality to be a beautiful gift integrated into the whole of the person.
You can really see this if you get a chance to spend some time with a Religious sister or brother or a priest who has made an offering of the sexuality through a vow or promise of celibacy. Many times you can see their inner peace and joy. They have chosen to integrate their sexuality into a vocation and their offering of self is fruitful in so many ways. They are the best examples of how love requires an integration of sexuality and how that love leads to personal fulfillment.
It’s too bad that the word chastity is made fun of today. Chastity is seen as prudish and archaic by most people today. However, when chastity is properly understood, it is a powerful concept that effectively orients everything we have been talking about. Here’s a definition. Chastity is the successful integration of sexuality in the vocation to love according to one’s state in life.
Chastity is not something just for people who have vowed or promised celibacy. Married men and women are called to live chastity in their marriages, particularly through their exclusive gift of self and openness to life.
Single people, including teens, are called to chastity. We know that young people are capable of chastity, because young people are capable of love.
St. John Paul II continues to be a beacon of hope today. Slowly, more and more people are hearing his message in the Catechesis on Human Love. Despite society’s preoccupation with sex, the human person is only fulfilled through a sincere gift of self.
The March for Life 2015 was the 24th year I have attended March in Washington, DC. Every year, I come away from the March for Life with mixed emotions. In many ways, this gathering of 500,000 people from across the country (and around the world) that come to the nation’s capitol to stand for the dignity of human life is tremendously exhilarating and joyful. On the other hand, abortion has been legal for 42 years, with annual abortions averaging 1.2 million. That puts the abortion total at about 60 million in the US since 1973.
60 million is a staggering number. It’s roughly the population of Italy or California and Florida combined. Here are some more startling statistics: 21% of all pregnancies in the US end in abortion and about 1/3 of all women in America will have an abortion. Legalized abortion has truly been a holocaust and, in addition to the lives lost, it has adversely affected our country in so many unpublicized ways. St. Mother Theresa said, “The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.” We can see violence increasing in every part of society.
So how do we take stock of the pro-life movement? How do we build a culture of life? First we have to acknowledge the positive developments in the pro-life movement.
No one who attends the March for Life can deny that the future of the pro-life movement is bright, because when you look around, it is predominantly young people that populate the event. Buses upon buses of young people flood the route of the March every year. They can be heard singing, praying the rosary and chanting familiar pro-life slogans. In addition, the Archdiocese of Washington, DC sponsors a youth prayer rally that fills up the Verizon Center every year and the Diocese of Arlington, VA packs the Patriot Center with teenagers at another prayer rally. These rallies feature music, confession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It’s quite impressive to be with thousands of teenagers praying for the end of abortion.
40 Days for Life is another bright spot in the pro-life movement. It started in 2007 as a very simple concept—a daily prayer vigil outside abortion facilities for 40 days. Since 2007 here’s what 40 Days for Life has accomplished: over 9000 abortions prevented, over 100 abortion workers persuaded to quit, and 59 abortion facilities closed. These achievements are just the ones that they were able to document. These results show the power of prayer and moreover, they show the power of sacrificial witness. 40 Days for Life is gearing up for the Lenten Campaign which will take place in over 500 cities in 27 countries. Go to 40daysforlife.com to learn more.
While these positive things in the pro-life movement should encourage us, we still have to acknowledge there is widespread ambivalence to the abortion holocaust. It’s not that most Americans support legalized abortion. Most Americans are apathetic. 42 years of Roe v Wade as the law of the land has desensitized minds and hearts to the reality of abortion.
St. Thomas Aquinas always emphasized that laws do not merely regulate society, but more importantly teach people about right and wrong. Unjust laws engrain a warped view of right and wrong. For 42 years, the laws in the United States have taught Americans that it is okay to end human life before birth and the rights of the woman supersede the rights of her child.
So what can we conclude? Like most things in life, there are many good things happening in the pro-life movement, but there is also much up-hill climbing to change the hearts and minds of Americans and build a Culture of Life. We need to take inspiration from the words of St. Augustine to go forward. “Pray as though everything depended of God and work as though everything depended on you.”