I was blessed to have Matt Birk’s brother in my fourth-grade class when I was a brand new teacher. For Valentine’s Day that year, I taught the students about measurement by instructing them on how to make French Silk pies. His enterprising mother told me that her boys used that recipe to turn a “sweet” profit. They had their own little business out of the home in which they took orders from neighbors and family members. They’d make the pies and then deliver them in a wagon. This was Matt Birk’s first job. I’m glad he has given up peddling pies and is now doing something that pays a bit better. With six kids, the grocery bills are as high as a football post, and difficult to tackle.
I know, my husband and I have nine kids. We have enjoyed watching Matt Birk and his wife, Adrianna, with their own brood. Often we are in the back of church together trying to quiet toddlers. They are excellent parents, and so good to their Catholic faith. In fact, my sister is in a Bible study with Adrianna; it’s a program she brought to our area. And, as many of you know, Matt Birk has done a brilliant job in speaking out for traditional marriage, family and life.
Thank you Birk family!
Here are some great quotes from him taken from an article in The National Catholic Register:
1) You’ve been active in the pro-life movement. What would you say to someone discouraged about the more than 50 million boys and girls killed in abortions during 40 years under Roe v. Wade?
The big picture is really ugly, but instead of letting that dominate your thinking, I would say to keep the faith and concentrate on the one or two things you can do. You may not be able to save thousands of lives on your own, but the one life you can save today does mean a lot.
Whether it’s teaching our own children to be pro-life, contacting our elected representatives or working at crisis-pregnancy centers, we can all do something. These examples are in addition to prayer, which everyone can do and which everyone should do. Prayer is the basis of any good action. Each little effort helps to bring about a culture of life, a culture in which children are appreciated rather than disposed of.
I spoke at a pro-life rally in Maryland a couple years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. I heard other speakers, including women who deeply regretted their own abortions. Their work, carried out through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, was very persuasive. It wasn’t just a theoretical discussion; it was real women who had experienced the trauma of losing a child through abortion. They wanted to prevent other women from going through that same thing.
If people were told the truth about abortion, no one would ever seek out the procedure. We hear about “choice” and “reproductive rights,” but no one is ever told by an abortionist, “I will kill your baby by ripping off its arms and legs.” The women from Silent No More let people know the facts so that better decisions will be made. It’s very admirable work.
2) You’ve also been publicly supporting the institution of marriage. What are some misconceptions that people have regarding marriage?
The major misconception is that marriage is anything you want it to be, rather than the lifelong union of a man and a woman for the purpose of raising children. That’s what it has been for all of recorded history and what it continues to be today, regardless of what some people think.
There has been an intense attack on marriage for decades. It has become easier to get divorced, which means the breakup of the closest relationships: those involving spouses and children. This is devastating for the family, especially children, who need a father and a mother. When the marriage is torn apart, each child can feel like he or she is being torn apart.
After all these years of easy divorce, many people have given up on marriage completely. They just live together without any commitment. Needless to say, this isn’t the best of situations for them or for the children who might be involved. What’s needed is not a flight from responsibility, but a firmer commitment to it.
One of the things I’ve learned from the Catholic faith that applies to marriage, football and any other aspect of life is to appreciate discipline. On the surface, self-indulgence appears best for us, but that route only weakens us and leaves us unhappy. Self-denial appears to be worst for us, but that route strengthens us and makes us truly content.
Jesus said if anyone would be his follower he or she must deny his or herself, take up his or her cross and follow him. The way of the cross is the only way to be a true Christian, and it’s really the only way to get anything worthwhile done. It helps you to become the best version of yourself, to use a term from Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly.
In order for us to be the best versions of ourselves, we do not need to reinvent marriage, but to recommit ourselves to it. We need to look at it, not with our own agendas in mind, but with God’s plan in mind. He created us, so he knows what is best for us.