Only our deeds can determine our actions

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds,” wrote novelist George Eliot.
Eliot believed that our deeds influence our lives and compel us to repeat our actions. What we have done, in other words, determines what we will do.

During my first week of class this semester, a student asked me whether I would be watching the “historic” inauguration. My initial response was that all inaugurations are historic: Each president can change – and does change – the course of history.

It’s a special moment every four years in our country’s history.

My more direct response was that I would have to watch after it aired due to scheduling conflicts. His response was interesting: He told me that he would be marching. So, I pressed him and asked why he was marching.

Again, his response surprised me.

“It’s not the march that you think,” he said. “I’m marching on Planned Parenthood.”

His connection between the inauguration and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which was commemorated in St. Louis by a prayerful march and vigil outside of Planned Parenthood, struck me.

And he was right: It seemed that the nationwide protests against abortion on the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade were overshadowed by the marches coinciding with President Trump’s first day in office.

We don’t know what will happen in these next months and even years. Only our deeds can determine our actions.

My students had the weekend to think over and decide their positions on an issue for which they’ll spend the semester advocating.

On Sunday evening, my student sent in his topic: he would be advocating for life.

I wasn’t surprised. “Our deeds determine us.”

St. Peter wrote of persecution: “Do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you” (1 Peter 4:12).

Many people have begun thinking that simply because President Trump promised to advocate for life and “defund Planned Parenthood,” the fight is over. I think it’s just beginning to flare up.

This fight will not be easy, but it will be important.

Archbishop Robert Carlson also reminded the faithful in St. Louis that “it’s a subtle trial, but the smoke of the evil one is there.”

Today, the abortion fight is a matter of life and death, and each one of us is asked to respond to the Lord’s call to follow him.”

“Protect Choice” was emblazoned on a number of protest signs in the media coverage for the March on D.C. But what about moral duty and righteousness? Why should we not protect those values as well?

Our deeds determine our actions. What choices will we make?

Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at

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