One Small Step

Photo by George Goss


One Small Step
By Br. Clement Greenspan, O.P.

In the summer of ‘69, the world heard, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar lander over two hundred thousand miles from earth, Neil Armstrong accomplished a feat unthinkable fifty years prior. Yet this was not a solitary action. More than four hundred thousand Americans worked tirelessly to ensure a successful mission. Years earlier, when questioned by President Kennedy about his role at NASA, a janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon, Mr. President.” He understood the significance of his small task.

Over fifty years later, in the summer of 2022, the United States accomplished another milestone—Roe was overturned. A victory for the pro-life movement that seemed implausible a decade earlier, this decision is built upon years of dedication by countless Americans advocating for the unborn and counseling women in crisis pregnancies. Since 1974, thousands have marched in Washington, D.C., through the bitter cold. In post-Roe America, that work continues and we still march. While the Dobbs decision has had major effects on America, it was only one small step forward.

Now that the focus has turned to the state and local levels, many wonder whether the national March for Life is still necessary. Attending this year’s March, I was nervous. When I arrived with a few friars, attendance on the Mall seemed sparse. Obscured by the snowfall, the U.S. Capitol even seemed to absent itself. I feared a flop. Yet it was still early. Within a couple of hours, the ankle-deep snow was completely trampled and our banner was surrounded. The March was growing and I soon feared we might be stuck at the back of the line!


Photo by George Goss


Under our Dominican banner, friars, sisters, students, and families from across the world marched, including a grandmother, who has been marching since the first demonstrations after Roe, and multiple infants, who already proclaim the goodness of life by their very existence. They are a sign of contradiction against the culture of death, and, in their littleness, they magnify the goodness of the Lord. While the world devalues the smallest among us, God works precisely in our littleness:

It was not because you are more numerous than all the peoples that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you; for you are really the smallest of all peoples (Deut 7:7).

This is a mystery of the Faith: through his Incarnation in the womb of a lowly virgin, Christ became a little child of Israel to save the world from sin. He entered our smallness and seeming insignificance to make us adopted children of God. In the footsteps of the Apostles, we should be impelled by the love of God to make him known to our neighbor and, by the love we have for our neighbor, to preach for the salvation of souls. Through the study of sacred truth and the common life, every Dominican is formed and orders his life to this mission, because “the object of our preaching is either to cause the faith to be born, or to allow it to penetrate people’s entire lives more deeply” (Fundamental Constitutions, V). Both in the Church and in the pro-life movement, each of us, utilizing the gifts God has given us, can promote the Gospel of life one small step at a time. #WhyWeMarch

And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!” (Rom 10:15).

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