In the science fiction movie, Children of Men, the world descends into near anarchy because no one is able to conceive a child. The movie doesn’t quite say why this is the case. The premise of the movie allows us to imagine a world where there would be no new life. Could you imagine? There would be no hope. In the movie, the world descends into anarchy, only kept in check by a police state. Great Britain attempts to hold on to its own natural resources, while sending any foreigners trying to flee their own fallen nations into concentration camp ghettos.
In Children of Men, a woman is finally able to conceive a child for the first time in 20 years. The child is conceived in the middle of a warzone. The sight of a newborn child brings an cease fire to the fighting, as the combatants can hardly believe that new life has been born. Unfortunately, the cease fire is only a few minutes long, and the fighting resumes. The child survives the warzone, and is able to make it to a safe place. The movie ends at that point.
How often do we take for granted the gift of new life? Do we celebrate the gift of creating new life? It seems as if we celebrate the ability to avoid the creation of life, in favor of celebrating the present moment. Imagine a world in which no one was willing or able to give the gift of new life. It would be a lot like the movie we just discussed. The truth is that we cannot have a world unless someone is willing to be generous in bringing life into the world. Are we open to being called to a life-giving vocation?
We see in the younger generation record low marriage rates, record low birth rates, and declining vocations. Are we losing our desire to give new life? It seems to be so. This has to change, for the sake of a hopeful and peaceful world. Someone has to answer the call. Someone needs to be generous. Someone needs to give their lives for the betterment of the life of another. We can be tempted to believe that if we want to act selfishly, someone will come along and fix our mess. That is not the case. Each time we choose to be self-serving, we withhold our gift from another. We should not view our self-centered choices as small things that will be corrected by another. The greatest sin of selfishness is not what it does, but what it prevents us from doing. Selfishness prevents us from bringing new life into the world.
There are many parishes that do not have priests because there are no priests for them to have. There are many places where baptisms are declining, and marriages declining. Religious orders are forced to close their doors. Will we allow this to continue? When will we begin to educate our young people to be generous in building their world? Will we encourage our youth to share the tremendous gift of life which they have within them? I know that there are many youth who are ready to step up – to make the choice of a life-giving, life-long commitment. We need a youth generation who is unafraid to bring new life into the world! Our youth are our hope, and that hope is our peace for the future. If we do not have hope in our youth, then we will be at war with each other. We will not have peace.
Please, young people, choose life! Choose hope, regardless of how discouraging this life can be. We need you not to give up. We need you more than you can even imagine. We are ready to help you. Let’s rebuild a culture of love in our world.