Our feast today is certainly one of the most pro-life: here, centre stage, two unborn babies "speak". The Saviour, still "unviable" as some would say, begins his work touching St Elizabeth and St John the Baptist with his divine presence and his grace. There can be no doubt that here in Our Lady's womb God-made-Man is present. St John the Baptist, a little older in gestational time, leaps in his mother's womb as he responds to the presence of Jesus, and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.
As we reflect on this we see, not only vibrant life in the womb, but how God has already called that nascent life - (human beings in the womb at various stages of development) to carry out certain tasks. There is no doubt over their existence, no doubt as to who they are, and no doubt that they have a unique destiny.
One of the points I was meditating on this morning before Mass was the relationship between the Magnificat and the life of those in the womb. Our Lady's song is a great hymn of praise, of God's mercy; but also a hymn in which she recognises the call she has received from God and the heights to which he has raised her. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity came to mind - her reflection on our being "the praise of glory" for God sums up what Our Lady is saying in the Magnificat: we are all called to be the praise of glory for God through our lives, and even the unborn child in the womb is not excluded from this - our feast today reiterates that point.
We all have a destiny. We are all called by God to something: not just to do something, but to be someone; and humanity is all the richer for that. As each has a unique call, vocation if you like, if we do not fulfil that then humanity is all the poorer. If Our Lady had said no to the Lord, then what would have happened? Would the Lord have found another way to redeem us? Yes; but we would not have had Mary, vessel of grace, who brings joy to our lives through her love, maternal care and Christian discipleship.
This is true of the unborn: each person conceived has a vocation, a call to enrich humanity in some way. If that child is killed in the womb, then we are all the poorer, not only because we have devalued life and murdered another human being, but also because what that human being was called to do may never be done. The apocryphal story of Blessed Mother Teresa and Hillary Clinton serves as a good example. I'm not sure if it happened, but it makes a point. For those who do not know it: according to the story Mother Teresa was sitting beside Hillary Clinton at some function, and Mrs Clinton was discussing women in politics. She wondered why it was taking so long for a woman to become president of the US and who she might be. Blessed Teresa was blunt in her reply: "Perhaps you have aborted her."
Whether the story is true or not I do not know, but the point is correct. In the billions who have now been aborted there may have been great figures who would have made a huge difference to humanity: men and women gifted with that quirky view of life which often leads to great discoveries. Perhaps among the dead we might find the baby who was to be the scientist who would find a cure for AIDS or cancer; perhaps a great peacemaker who would sort out the problems of the Middle East; a great teacher or philosopher.
For us Christians we most certainly have lost vocations, perhaps Popes and even men and women who were destined one day to be canonised Saints. And one thing for sure: in killing the child in the womb, we kill our future and we kill our hope; and for those who promote and carry out these abortions, they are killing their souls. Many are offended when the Church warns pro-abortion people of the consequences of cooperation with this evil - they think the Church has no right to do so. If believers, they think that they will go to heaven like everyone else. Well, heaven is for the living, for living souls, those whose souls are dead through sin wander elsewhere for eternity.
So our reflection for today: the call to all who are conceived to become a praise of glory for God and enrich human life, to be a living Magnificat. We who live in the world do so, and the child still in the womb also does so.