‘Day for Life’ is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to celebrating and upholding the dignity of human life.
The Church teaches that life should be protected and nurtured from conception to natural death.
This year’s ‘Day for Life’ is celebrated on three days: 31 May in Scotland, 26 July in England and Wales, and 4 October in Ireland.
The following text is taken from the Day For Life Website. For further information please see http://dayforlife.org/
On Thursday 5 May 2015, Pope Francis addressed members of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Palliative care, he said, “is an expression of the properly human attitude of taking care of one another, especially of those who suffer. It bears witness that the human person is always precious, even if marked by age and sickness.”
Further information available from the Website
There have been remarkable medical and technological advances so that the chronically ill can receive life-saving treatments. We can be truly thankful for such advances. And yet at some time or other we will all die. These same advances have led to more complex decision making about appropriate treatment.
At the end of life, there are two thoughts which can help guide us all:
The first is that we love life. Every person is loved by God and every life is a precious gift never to be destroyed or neglected. It is wrong to hasten or bring about death. God will call us in his good time.
The second is that we accept death. This means there is no obligation to pursue medical treatment when it no longer serves its purpose – that is when treatment is having no effect or indeed harming the patient.
We need to prepare to face life-threatening crises. Ideally these difficult and important decisions need to be faced with others – our spouse, our siblings, our extended family members. The family, after all, should be the privileged place where mutual support and understanding occurs.
Some times difficult decisions need to be made and the views of family and experts are needed. But in such situations these two questions can guide us: “is this decision loving life?” and “is this decision accepting the inevitability of death?”.
Depending on the situation we should seek ways to answer yes to both, as life itself is a gift from God, and death but the gateway to new life with Him.
A prayer that can be offered for the intercession of St Joseph to ask God to guide those at the end of life to a good death.
O blessed Joseph,
who breathed your last in the arms of Jesus
obtain for me this grace:
that I may breathe forth my soul in praise,
saying in spirit, if I am unable to do so in words:
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul.”