He now became their voice and begged, “Please don’t harm all my little folks, who have as much right to live as us bigger folks do!” He remained their guardian even though others called him crazy and were persistent in getting rid of his speck and destroying it in a field of clovers and a bubbling cauldron. His neighbors were relentless, stating that these people had no rights. Horton was determined to prove the truth that, “a person is a person no matter how small.” It became his life’s mission to save them from harm and speak on behalf of these unseen people.
At last, their voices were heard by Horton’s neighbors. These unseen and unheard people that were going to be killed were indeed people! They were saved! Horton was affirmed. He knew all along that they were people; it is just that now others finally understood this too. His perseverance won him his perfect reward: life. His saving mission was fulfilled, as he willed to sacrifice his life for the friends he didn’t even know.
The unique point of this children’s story is that it parallels with each of us as Catholics. We each are given a perfect mission and asked to be obedient in fulfilling it, even as we must go against the odds or the culture. Jesus Christ showed us how to live out our vocation.
He is the Way, Truth and LIFE and by his love and enduring the cross, he laid down his life so that we may not grow weary and lose heart.
In our struggle against sin, we are called to step up to the challenge and live out our own mission. We are called to follow his perfect example: to persevere in running the race that lies before us, to be joyful in the face of opposition and to be obedient to the point of placing the lives of our friends before our own.
There may not be an elephant named Horton with a pink clover walking around, but we are blessed to know many people who withstand similar types of persecution when it comes to standing up for life issues. They continue to give their lives for a friend; even the friends who are unseen and unheard.
As Catholics we have the mandate of respecting all life, from the embryo who is the smallest speck of a person, to the oldest person that has championed a life deserving of great dignity. So, just as Horton proclaimed, “Don’t give up! I believe in you all! A person is a person, no matter how small.” God calls each of us to persevere … to love … and to celebrate, promote and defend innocent human life from fertilization to natural death!
Pallini is respect life consultant for the Diocese of Green Bay.