Looking back, I realize that I was pro-life when I was five years old. I can still picture that afternoon when my parents sat me down on the couch beside my two older siblings to tell us that the baby we had all been joyfully expecting for the past 16 weeks had been miscarried. I can’t recall details about my thoughts, but I do remember knowing that, though I couldn’t see her, she was a baby. She was my little sister. My belief in life was pure, inspired by my parents’ careful instruction and formation. When you’re little, everything seems so clear and true. And what could be truer than the value of life itself?

But as we grow up, entering adulthood provides new challenges. Making poor decisions — or even no decisions at all — can start to become a reality when we have no one telling us what to believe. For so many teenagers, the only reason they are involved in the Church at all is because of their parents’ insistence.

When we’re out on our own, things are different. No one is dragging us to Confession. No one is pulling us out of bed to go to Mass on Sunday mornings. It has to be through our own conscious efforts that we make it happen — or don’t.

Meanwhile, a morally ambiguous society is awaiting us with open arms, delighting in the possibilities to confuse things. The world can blur the lines between right and wrong. Many movies and TV shows glorify sinful behavior. You hear stories in the media involving issues you may have never considered before, and you have to take a side.

So here I find myself; I’m a freshman in college, living nine hours away from my parents. Even surrounded by ample opportunities to practice and grow in my faith, I could drop the ball and allow myself to stray away from my commitment to Christ. But I don’t want that, and I know I’m called to far more.

We are all called to serve God and His Church. We have to ask questions, dig deeper into the essence of our faith, and ask the Holy Spirit for the guidance to seek truth among lies. Strengthening our own relationships with our Heavenly Father leads us to actively choose to live how He lived. To actively choose Him.

And choosing Him means choosing life — every time.

With every day that passes, I am ever more convinced that truth and goodness rest in the protection of all human life, from conception to natural death. There are countless ways to fight for the unborn and promote a greater respect for human life. As we approach the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that helped to legalize abortion, we are reminded of our call to act. The March for Life at our nation’s capital (or in other locations around the country) is one way to do this.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go on the March this year. The planning just seemed so complicated, and I wasn’t sure if my presence was necessary. But then I heard friends talking about the rally in excited tones, and it prompted me to picture that walk to the Supreme Court building and the prayer for the unborn. The handmade signs, the spirited cheers, the tens of thousands of pro-life Americans in solidarity with the smallest and weakest among us. There’s unwavering strength and hope that is tremendously inspirational, and regardless of frigid temperatures and aching muscles, the March is worth it every time.

So as we begin a new year, let’s think of how we each can step up our pro-life game. Maybe we’re being called to return to the March for Life — or go for the first time. Let’s seek new opportunities to defend the unborn, the elderly, the homeless, and those unable to stand up for themselves.

It’s time for all of us to make our faith our own and to push back against a world that is trying to keep us from giving God our ‘yes.’ And it’s time to show that same world that life is always worth defending.

“Dear young people, do not be afraid of making decisive choices in life. Have faith; the Lord will not abandon you!” –Pope Francis

Julia Wehner

Julia Wehner is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying education and English. She is a dessert enthusiast, poet-in-training, and no matter how old she becomes, she will always be Anne Shirley at heart.