Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum, in vanum laborant qui aedificaverunt eam - "Unless the Lord has built the house, they labored in vain who built it" Psalm 127

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Life Sells

An earlier version of this Worth Revisiting post first appeared as a part of my Sunday Snippets post on 1 February 2015 on the blog Principium et Finis. To enjoy the work of other faithful Catholic bloggers please see Worth Revisiting Wednesday, hosted by Elizabeth Reardon at and Alison Gingras at

Tim Tebow
      This coming Sunday, as Americans and those who follow American football will know, is “Super Bowl Sunday”, when the National Football League has its annual championship game.  Since this sporting event typically has a larger television audience than any other program throughout the year, advertisers pay enormous amounts of money for advertising time during the game. Over the years they have concocted increasingly bizarre commercials in order to catch the attention of that massive audience: twenty years ago an ad featuring an alligator and some frogs stealing a case of beer to the tune of Bob Marley's "Jammin'" [here] was a big hit; this year [2015] there will be an ad for ketchup and mustard [here] featuring dachshunds running around wearing hot dog buns (I'm not sure how appetizing most people will find it); over the past few decades there have been countless commercials that have gone as far as possible to employ the old advertising maxim, "sex sells" (sorry, no link to those).  The curious result has been, at least in years when the action on the field hasn't been particularly arresting, most of the chatter the next day is about the ads and not the game itself.
     Interestingly, the most discussed commercial seven years ago was not bizarre at all: it simply showed a mother talking about her son [here] (o.k., he does appear to tackle her at the end, but that’s pretty tame for a Superbowl commercial).  The mother was Pam Tebow and her son, Tim, had just compiled one of the most spectacular college football records in memory (which, unfortunately, would not translate into comparable success as a professional).  The reason why this ad was more controversial than all those others ones filled with innuendo and grotesquery is that it was a pro-life ad.  Mrs. Tebow was talking about why she did not follow doctors’ advice and abort the baby who later became one of the most celebrated college athletes ever.  That, apparently, was shocking.

Avita Grace Wood
     Now, a few years later, comes the story of another child, Avita Grace Wood, whose life was saved by the same commercial.  Her mother, Susan Wood, had agreed to abort the unborn Avita, at the insistence of her boyfriend, the child’s father.  After seeing the Pam Tebow commercial, however, Susan changed her mind and chose life (full story here). As in the case of the numerous accounts of women who chose not to abort because of 40 Days for Life and other pro-life efforts, we are reminded that our faith, prayer, and witness can change hearts and save lives.  We just need to keep moving the ball down to the field.

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