Feast of the Archangels: St. Raphael

On September 29, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Raphael means “God Heals.” This is the angel of whom we read in the book of Tobit, whose father was healed of blindness through the angel’s help.

Today, let’s pray to Raphael to heal the many wounds caused by abortion in our world, and to bring those who have committed abortion to the peace and forgiveness of Christ.

Let’s also ask Raphael’s intercession to heal the blindness of all who think it is OK to let children in the womb be ripped apart by abortion, or who are not motivated to do something to save these vulnerable lives.
Raphael the Archangel, bring God’s healing to our nation, that we may become a culture of life.

–Fr. Frank

Pro-life: Hobby or Spirituality?

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Jesus Christ is Life. To stand with him is to stand with life, and to stand against whatever destroys life. Being “pro-life,” therefore, is not merely a “personal belief” or a political ideology. Pro-life action is not merely a hobby or an “extra-curricular” activity.

Pro-life is a spirituality, a way of relating to God, an integral dimension of the Christian Gospel. There is, in the end, only one Gospel. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel of Life. The work of announcing and applying that Gospel to the concrete circumstances of our culture of death is deeply rooted in the commitment we already have as Christians. It is an aspect of discipleship.

At Priests for Life, we have developed and articulated this spirituality since 1991. It is a spirituality not only for priests, but for all the baptized, and the Church has allowed us not only to train people in it but to have them publicly profess promises to live it as Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. In nearly a thousand cities, people are taking this training and professing these promises.

This spirituality that draws deeply from the lives and teachings of three great pro-life warriors whom I was privileged to know personally: Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Cardinal John O’Connor.

The spirituality is biblical, prophetic, liturgical, Eucharistic, ecumenical, and Marian. It is marked by a spirit of joy, a serene confidence, a deep compassion, a radical solidarity with the vulnerable, a strong courage, a constant readiness for public witness, and a passion for justice. The missionaries do the pro-life work they are already doing, but in a way more deeply rooted in the Church.

Here’s what the promises say. Try them on for size!

“I, (name), in the presence of God the Father, the Creator of all Life, Jesus Christ the Son, the Resurrection and the Life, and the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, and in the presence of this gathering of the People of Life, do joyfully promise, for the rest of my life, to live as a Lay Missionary of the Gospel of Life. I promise to defend my brothers and sisters whose right to life is under direct attack, and to be, especially for the unborn, the voice they do not have. . I promise to pursue union with God in all things, and holiness of life which will foster my love for the weakest among us. I further promise to engage in pro-life work, according to the spirituality and virtues of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, and to collaborate with their work to the best of my ability and within the context of my own vocation. I am confident that the Victory of Life has already been won through the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, and as the Church proclaims, celebrates, and serves the Gospel of Life, Christ will transform the Culture of Death into the Culture of Life.”

Find out more at www.MissionariesoftheGospelofLife.org.

Feast of the Archangels: St. Gabriel

On September 29, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Gabriel was the angel who told Mary she would carry the Son of God in her womb. Mary was confused and frightened by this, but Gabriel’s message was, “Do not be afraid.”

Such is Gabriel’s message today to every pregnant mother. “Do not be afraid” to welcome new life, even when it upsets your plans, changes the direction of your life, and requires you to mature in unexpected ways. Do not be afraid if you feel unprepared, or others tell you that you are not ready. If God creates a life in the womb, it’s because he is making you ready, and has plans from all eternity for that child and for you.

–Fr. Frank

Feast of the Archangels: St. Michael

On September 29, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

Michael led the faithful angels in the battle that broke out in heaven when Lucifer rebelled. The devil and his followers thought they could be like God by their own choice.

But Michael, whose name means “Who is like God?”, represents the fact that it is only by God’s sovereign choice that we can be exalted to his throne.

The battle between pro-life and pro-choice is the same battle. They are wrong who think that the only thing that matters in the end is their own choice, or that such a choice determines right and wrong.

Rather, it is God’s choice that matters, and when he chooses to create a little child, it is our duty to welcome and protect that precious gift.

–Fr. Frank

Forgive Those Who Sinned Against Us

In the Lord’s prayer, we ask that we may be forgiven our sins “as we forgive those who sin against us.” We are asking the Lord to use us as an example of how readily and generously he should forgive our sins.

He is more eager to forgive our sins than we are. This should not only give us confidence, but should help us inspire confidence in those who despair. One of the hardest sins to confess is abortion. And even there, the Lord is ready to pour out his mercy on those who repent.

Nothing can minimize the horror of abortion, and nothing can justify it. Yet countless people come each day to the cross where they find that even this sin is washed away in the Blood of Christ.

–Fr. Frank

Our Daily Bread

The Lord taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We ask him for the provisions we need each day to live and to serve him. We ask him for the spiritual strength to resist the temptations that will certainly come our way, and for the grace to advance his Kingdom.

This also means we are praying for the graces we need to advance the protection of human life. We may be tempted to compromise with the culture of death. We ask for the daily bread of strength to defend life, to speak up for the helpless, to intervene to save the weak. We pray also that those tempted to abort their children because of economic reasons may experience the help of God’s people, the daily bread of their generosity.

–Fr. Frank

Our Father and the Culture of Life

In the Our Father, we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” These words are a cornerstone of the culture of life. After all, to say, “thy will be done” is exactly the opposite of saying, “my will be done; it’s all up to my choice.” When we see a child living in the womb, we see the will of God. The Lord does not ever make human beings by accident. Each child exists precisely because God wants that child to exist, no matter what the circumstances surrounding his or her existence.

When we say “Thy will be done,” we are expressing confidence that because God says yes to the child, so can we. He will give us all the strength we need to follow his plan.

–Fr. Frank

Scriptures, Old and New Testament, Speak of Sanctity of Life

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, we see how the life and teachings of Christ are the fulfillment of everything that the Old Testament taught. Indeed, it is not just the New Testament that is about Christ; all the Scriptures are about him and his saving work.

This also means that all the Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, teach us about the sacredness of human life. We do not have to look only at the specific passages that speak about the unborn child. Rather, the great Biblical themes of the dominion of God over human life, the care God has for the needy, and the fact that we are our brother’s keeper, are present throughout the bible. These are the themes that challenge us to be a culture of life.

-Fr. Frank

Fr. Pavone on Michigan Shooting of Pro-Life Activist

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today upon learning of the shooting of longtime pro-life activist James Pouillon in front of a high school in Owosso, Michigan.

“We do not know the motive yet. But this is a time to console one another, and to renew our determination to organize peaceful protests. It is no time for fear. And I am waiting to hear the abortion advocates condemn this killing.”

Prayer and Testimony Will Shape Health Care Debate

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

The health care debate in our country continues to rage, and for us in the pro-life movement, the key issue continues to be the fact that access to and funding for abortion will be vastly expanded unless the legislation explicitly prohibits that from happening. Those who claim it won’t should have no problem putting words in the bill that say so.

There are two specific things I want to call on pro-life Americans to do regarding the health care reform debate.

First of all, now is the time to intensify our prayers and gear them specifically to the health care reform debate. We at Priests for Life have composed a special prayer for this purpose. I have placed it below, and urge people to use it in their families, prayer groups, and parishes. Moreover, we have created a cause on Facebook called “Pray to End Abortion.” This cause can become the largest prayer group in history as people connect on Facebook and commit together to pray not only regarding health care, but regarding all aspects of the pro-life movement. Special prayer resources will be created throughout the year, corresponding to specific needs and seasons. You can access the Facebook prayer cause at www.ProLifePrayers.com. (For those who do not wish to use Facebook, another option is our website www.PrayerCampaign.org).

Let’s promote this cause, link to it from our websites, blogs, and social networking pages, and send it out to our email blasts during these days that are so critical to this debate!

The second action item is to trumpet the voices of those who have had abortions. The women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign have created a three-minute video in which women who have had abortions speak about how it harmed them, and declare that an increase in abortion will mean an increase in health problems for women.

Let’s meet their courage with ours and use this video to bring their voices into the debate. See and spread the video at www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org/healthcare.

The time for action is now, and the action could not be more simple.

Prayer for our Nation’s Health Care Reform

Lord Jesus, you are the Divine Physician,
And the source of all life and health.

Guide our nation at this critical moment,
As our government seeks health care reforms.

Give our elected officials the humility to know
That they are servants, not masters.
Give them the wisdom to realize
That every life has equal value.
Give them the strength to resist the idea
That some lives can be sacrificed to save others
Or that killing the unborn is a part of health care.

Give your people the courage to speak up
And to hold public officials accountable for their actions.

Save us, Lord Jesus, from a culture of death,
And let every reform in our public policy
Be based on the reform of our hearts and minds
In the light of your Gospel,
For you are Lord forever and ever. Amen.