Soldiers on a Journey

By Zoe Cannon

Gratitude for the Gift of Faith

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

I love my family; they fill my heart with joy and lasting connections. I love my friends; they fill my life with fun times and companionship. I love my country; it provides me with the freedom to live peacefully in committed citizenship. I love God and His Church, which fills my soul with hope and enough grace to enjoy my blessings and endure the trials of life.

Connection, companionship, citizenship, Church … love, joy, peace and hope! We belong to God. We fail Him with our human weakness and propensity to sin. The culture we live in is very challenging, and our children are losing their innocence far too soon. As a member of the family of God, we must share the truth of Jesus with future generations.

The month of January ushered in a new year, my birthday, and participation in the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. I was born on the second day of January in 1956. I entered a world unaware of the darkness soon to descend upon the culture of life, family, Church and country. I was a high school student in 1973 when a decision to legalize abortion became law. Sadly, I do not recall any discussion on this landmark decision in my Catholic school or my home. The first March for Life was organized on Jan. 22, 1974, and at the time I was thinking about ending high school and beginning college life.

In 2010, I made my first trip to the March for Life in D.C., as a Catholic, woman, wife, and mom; I wanted to promote the cause for respecting life. I have been intentional about reading and studying the teachings and traditions of the Church. I am blessed by my experiences with ministry inside a maximum-security prison, where I’ve led Catholic bible study and RCIA programs for 17 years. I love facilitating youth groups, religious education classes, and adult formation groups in my parish. I gain knowledge from people seeking to know God in all stages of life. I also administered communion in nursing facilities and hospitals for 20+ years, where my faith grew because of the witness of other people. We are blessed to be members of the Body of Christ!

When the March for Life rolled around this year, I wanted to explain the reasons for this event with our 11-year-old, 10-year-old and 8-year-old grandsons during our religion class. I was going to share the pictures from my participation in 2010. I knew the word “abortion” on the signs might prompt questions. When is the appropriate age to share social concerns about respect for life issues? The innocence of children is compromised by societal norms; they need to know God’s perfect plans. Even the commercials on television during sports programs may lead to questions young minds are not prepared to have answers for. We must be advocates of truth in ways that inform as well as protect our children.

With much preparation, prayer and permission from the parents, my conversation in religion class went very well. Children who know God and understand salvation history are far more capable of comprehending social evils than you may think. I heard our 2-year-old grandson singing the words to this song, and it confirmed the importance of promoting a relationship with God in their lives as early as possible. His precious voice sang out, “Lord, prepare me, to be a sanctuary, pure and holy tried and true.” Keep soldiering for Jesus, because our children need to understand their citizenship is in heaven! Amen!