Persevering with Patience
Fr. Frank Pavone
Priests for Life
We in the pro-life movement have many reasons to hope, many reasons to
persevere in our efforts with patience. Let me just mention three of them.
1. The pro-life cause is not simply a battle or a war. It is a vocation.
A battle or war has a specific time frame, after which it is either "won" or
"lost." There are aspects of that when it comes to the pro-life movement. Yet
our involvement in this work is a vocation. Specifically, it is an aspect
of the vocation to love one another.
Loving other people, such as the preborn or infirm, is not something we do
based on whether we are winning or losing, or on what year it is. It is, rather,
a dimension of our very existence from day to day. We are to be faithful to it
no matter what, and our joy and fulfillment spring from that fidelity.
2. There are many signs of progress in our pro-life efforts. The pro-life
movement, for example, never ceases to bring forth fresh ideas, approaches, and
initiatives. Some may wonder about the multiplicity of groups, but it is
actually a sign of the fruitfulness of the message of life. In every corner of
society and in every profession, that message brings forth a response.
Recent surveys of the general public, of youth, of nurses, and of various
other groups, show movement in the pro-life direction. People are increasingly
uncomfortable with the ease with which abortions are obtained in this country.
More and more people are willing to see more and more abortions restricted.
Aside from the polls, we see more and more men and women speaking up about
the fact that abortion was a false promise, which hurt them rather than helped
them. We also see greater numbers of people leaving the abortion industry and
exposing its horrors. The Society of Centurions, consisting of former abortion
providers, is one of the signs of this phenomenon.
I've always said that I believe in the dead-end rule, which is, "If you go
down a dead end road and ignore the signs that say it's a dead end, you will
soon learn by personal experience that it is a dead end!" We put up the
signs that abortion is wrong. Many who once ignored those signs are now coming
back and saying we were right…And they themselves become the signs for
others. Our Lord said it this way, "If they were to keep silence, I tell you the
very stones would cry out" (Lk.19:40). In other words, truth always outlasts
those who hide or deny it.
3. We are commanded to hope. Hope is not simply something that is "nice to
do." It is a command. "O Israel, hope in the Lord, both now and forever!" (Psalm
131:3). The fact that the Lord commands us to hope indicates that it is
not a mood or feeling, because we cannot directly control those. Hope springs
from an act of the will, cooperating with God's grace.
Some people insist that they are "realists." Of course, we need to be
realistic, which means that we take full account of the truth. But we need to
take account of the whole truth, and be realistic also about the power of
God. He knows how to uproot evil. The knowledge of history fuels our hope. God
knows how to change civilizations. He has brought His Church out of the
devastation of barbarian invasions. He has toppled evil institutions like
slavery and Communism.
And He has not changed.