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Eight pro-life lessons from Lifemark

We cannot always control what we encounter in life, but we can control how we react to what we encounter.

Rebecca Rogers Nelson and Kirk Cameron star in a scene from the movie "Lifemark." (CNS photo/, via The Criterion)

Movies tend to give us an idealized version of life. No matter what happens, the good guy always wins in the end. People overcome incredible hurdles. The girl gets the guy she’s pined away for. But real life is a little messier. Real life doesn’t always have that perfect ending. Yet what if it did?

As Catholics, we know that, no matter what happens in our lives, the good guy does win. Christ showed us that on Easter Sunday.

We cannot always control what we encounter in life, but we can control how we react to what we encounter. We see a beautiful example of this in Kirk Cameron’s new movie Lifemark.

Lifemark is a superbly done adaptation of a real-life story about a young man’s journey to meet his biological parents. I was excited to see it, but I only had a week, as it is a limited-run movie. However, because it has done so well, Lifemark has been given another week in the theaters. I urge you and your families to go see this movie.

After watching it, I had to wonder: Why are movies showing the glory of God, the beauty of adoption, and the resilience of family given such a short time in the theater? I’m sure money has a lot to do with it, but the bigger question is: Why is it that our society prefers movies with violence, profanity, or malice over movies that show the importance of a family rooted in faith?

I know that rhetorical questions don’t usually get answers. But I wonder anyway.

I loved everything about this movie, especially the sense of joy I had as I left the theater. Lifemark offers many inspirational moments and lessons—things we can reflect upon as we strive to build a culture of life in our own lives. Without giving too many spoilers (you know what it’s about, after all), I want to emphasize eight pro-life lessons we can all learn from this movie.

1. Selflessness

Lifemark begins in present day but incorporates flashbacks to when David—now 18—was a baby in his mother’s womb. His young teenage mother chose life for him. Giving him up was the hardest things she ever did, but she did it because she wanted to do what was best for the baby not for herself.

2. Gratitude

One of the first things David says to his biological parents upon meeting them is thank you: “Thank you for giving me life.”

3. The importance of family

In a touching scene, David gives his adoptive parents (Jimmy and Susan) and his grandparents, letters telling them how much he loves them, stressing that they are his real family. He assures them that they will never be replaced.

4. The beauty of adoption

The couple who adopted David had lost two children to a congenital disease. They always treated David as a gift, for that is how they truly thought of him. That is how we should think of all babies.

5. The humanity of the preborn baby

Throughout the movie, we see the beauty and wonder of the preborn baby. We see the importance of advocating for life and of standing peacefully in front of an abortion clinic. We see how vital it is to give voice to the voiceless.

6. Godly marriages

No marriage, not even a TV or movie marriage, is perfect. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for perfection in our marriages. This movie teaches us that we must not give up when we fail. We allow our faith to guide us. We allow our mutual love and respect to bring us together rather than allowing the world to tear us apart. In the movie, the family reads the Bible together. They speak openly and regularly about God’s goodness. The couple speaks kindly to one another, even one thanking the other for doing the dishes. These kind and loving acts strengthen families and build powerful bonds.

7. Joy in others’ happiness

Love is desiring what is best for the other person. From the very first time David’s mother contacted him, his adoptive parents were nothing but supportive. They never reacted with jealousy. They allowed him to make decisions regarding how he wanted to proceed. They were genuinely happy for him. And when he met his biological parents, his adoptive parents were there with him, thanking his biological parents and crying tears of joy, for these people had given them the gift of a son.

8. Trust in God

Throughout the entire movie, Jimmy and Susan put their trust in God. That doesn’t mean they just allow life to happen around them. They take responsibility for their actions. But this trust keeps them from becoming angry when things don’t go their way or when bad things happen. This trust helps them live faithfully after the tragedies in their lives.

Building a culture of life is not easy, but it’s what God calls us to do. What if we all lived lives where we derived joy from others’ successes, where we put our faith and trust in God, where we spoke kindly to our spouses and children, where we let love and not anger shine, and where we gave lovingly of ourselves?

This doesn’t have to be a “pie-in-the-sky” dream. This can be real life; it can be our lives! We need only make that choice.

Remember, Christ has already won the battle over death. Will we join Him in building a culture of life?

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About Susan Ciancio 42 Articles
Susan Ciancio is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has worked as a writer and editor for nearly 19 years; 13 of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently, she is the editor of American Life League’s Celebrate Life Magazine—the nation’s premier Catholic pro-life magazine. She is also the executive editor of ALL’s Culture of Life Studies Program—a pre-K-12 Catholic pro-life education organization.

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