IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - REVISITED
Strange, isn't it? Each man's life
touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole,
thirteen year old son Anthony asked to watch "It's a Wonderful Life"
the other night as he claimed never to have seen it start to finish. Of course
I happily obliged. While watching it I
thought about how much has been written about the Frank Capra's classic. I thought about my own ideas - especially with
a pro-life angle, but the idea that I could add something new might be a
challenge. But the next day there was a post with this picture of Clarence
sitting on the log and George Bailey looking at the angel second class. My
friend Sue Joan had shared her thoughts similar to mine about what Clarence
said, that is, how many children are
lost who could have made such a difference in the world. With that came the notion that "It's a
Wonderful Life" may be the most powerful pro-life movie ever made.
all know the story about George Bailey, the fellow who time and again
sacrifices for the sake of others, who at times is miserable wishing he could
do the things he always wanted to do and yet happy in having helped so many
realize the dignity of their humanity. Many have written on the dark side of
the film, the frustrations, the angst, the disappointments and the selfish side
of human nature. At the same time the film conveys a realism especially in the
dream sequence when George Bailey is given a vision of the town had he not been
impact one person's life can have upon a family, a community, a society is
universally recognized both in art and literature. So why in today's upscale and ever expanding
society, is this concept ignored or missed by so many at every age level? Have we become so myopic to miss the amazing perspective
that each of us has an effect on those around us and that for the most part
that effect is a good thing? Have we
tuned out this message? Why are we not
realizing this on an everyday level?
out to George, "Strange, isn't it?
Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an
awful hole, doesn't he?"
Those of us
committed to the pro-life movement have seen this little scene played out so
many different times in so many different situations. Yet there are still so many good people who
simply do not connect the dots and see how this fundamental respect for the
human person must be the cornerstone of our moral foundation. Whether one is a politician or a voter, a minister or a union steward, a lack of
respect for the human person is the cancer that destroys a culture. And the
concern we wish others to show toward the immigrant, the refugee, the elderly
or poor must be rooted in something transcendent that starts with the unborn
child. How can we then ask people to
care about someone half way around the globe, if we do not respect the unborn
child? How can we call upon people to look beyond the color of another person's
skin, if aborting them is a part of a government population control philosophy?
How can we teach
restraint in the exercise of power, if there is no universal moral code?
What the movie
can remind us to do is to look deep within ourselves and imagine a world
without someone dear to us? Then realize that there are thousands of children
every day denied the opportunity to make a difference. There are thousands of mothers every day who
will live with the regret of their actions because we as a society did not
reach out to help.
of us do identify with George Bailey. We
like to think of ourselves as caring and generous. Watching the movie allows us to claim that
mantle. We really want to be that friend who will be there to help our
neighbor. So let us make a resolution
for 2015. Let us be George Bailey in our world.
Let us reach out an help the unwed mother and child by supporting the local pregnancy
resource center. Let us demand our priests, ministers, pastors and religious
leaders speak clearly on the moral imperative to act in justice and mercy. Let us pick one thing within this pro-life
work that will make a real difference - for example - how many beds are
available in your community to house homeless pregnant mothers. Perhaps if each church or parish could
support a location with four beds, there would be "room at the Inn."
In a similar
vein, the need to educate at the local level is so critical. Perhaps a series
of presentations would instill greater understanding of the issue at all
different levels. Just as George Bailey had to explain to the customers
during the run on the bank where their
money was and how it was being use, so too both clergy and politician need to
understand the primary role of a pro-life position and how to influence others.
need to take that pro-life message contained in "It's a Wonderful
Life" and apply it to our own lives. As
George remarked about his father's beliefs, "People were human beings to him,"
we need to live this mantra. From the womb to the tomb, all human life is sacred. Every human being has a reason and purpose
for being. We must remind our neighbors
of this notion. Using a film such as
It's a Wonderful Life" is one such way.