Learning to Choose Life

Mar 22, 2024 | Blog Articles

“Behold: today I set before you life and happiness, death and misfortune… choose life and you will live” (cf. Deut. 30:15). 

Life with a capital “L” is not only a gift, but also a task that invites us to take care of it and unfold it. Life is not something static but something that grows, that is “given” in time and that asks us to “put the most convenient means” to accompany it and help it grow, strengthen and unfold with all its potential. In order to accompany, we must learn to recognize this life that is growing and choose it among other options that are not life. It is a matter of sharpening the heart and the senses to see and experience this gift in the midst of our ordinary life.

This month the Pope invites us to pray for the new martyrs who give their lives for the Gospel. Is martyrdom and self-giving a space of life? Life grows for the eye and heart trained to discover it. The invisible thread of life grows everywhere, beyond apparent circumstances. Life grows today, where we discover that “even today, in various parts of the world, there continue to be numerous martyrs who, in imitation of Jesus and with his grace, even in the midst of violence and persecution, give the greatest proof of love, offering their lives and going so far as to forgive their own enemies” (Pope Francis).

That is why life is also a choice, it is always possible to discover the current of Life that runs through all reality, “Look: today I place before you life and happiness, death and misfortune. If you obey the commands of the Lord your God… You will live and grow… But if your heart turns away and you do not obey, if you allow yourself to be carried away… I announce to you today that you will die without remedy” (Deuteronomy 30, 15-18). To choose life is to choose Jesus Christ incarnated in every reality, with his gestures, his ways, his lifestyle, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

This month we invite you to do this exercise of “discovering” where life grows in your life, with those who are close to you, at work, at school, with friends, with family. Wherever a gesture of tenderness, joy in the midst of difficulties, loving care for those in need, a word of hope in the face of failure, a hand that supports, an encouragement that prevents us from falling, there life grows. And it is precisely there that we can take a stand and accompany and help it to grow. In short, to choose those breaths of life and favor their unfolding.

Step 3 of The Way of the Heart, “In a Disheartened World”, introduces us to this teaching by helping us to discover the dynamics of life and death in the midst of our lives. To discover what brings us closer to life in abundance and what keeps us away from it, taking a clear position in favor of life and rejecting the opposite.

The martyrs of this time give us clues, they choose life at every step, even in the midst of persecution and pain, sometimes silently and invisibly they give their own lives for the Gospel, to give life where they are. They give life where the world is disheartened. “The Church needs everyday saints, those of ordinary life, carried out with consistency; but also those who have the courage to accept the grace to be witnesses to the end, to death” (Pope Francis), witnesses who choose life to the point of giving their own.

To deepen link to The Way of the Heart Step 3

Bettina Raed

International Coordinator of The Way of the Heart


The Pope’s Official Prayer Network

We pray that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick confer to those who receive it and their loved ones the power of the Lord and become ever more a visible sign of compassion and hope for all