Why the Our Father is a Pro-life Prayer (Part 1)

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

The Lord gave us the Our Father as the model of all prayer, and in each line we receive insight as to why we are pro-life. Prayer itself is inherently pro-life because it puts God at the center of our lives and choices. The “pro-choice” mentality, instead, puts us at the center.

“Our Father”. There is one Father of us all, the one who gives both divine life and the natural human life which is its pre-requisite. The Father is the Creator, and if he is “our” Father, then that means we are all brothers and sisters in one human family.

One Father entrusts us to the care of each other. We are to seek the good of one another. This is why Paul exhorts us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep, and to bear one another’s burdens. The first way we do that is to safeguard the most basic good each person has – life itself.

“Who art in Heaven.” The Lord’s prayer reminds us of our true home. If our Father is in heaven, then that is our home, too. Heaven is full union with God and with one another; it is, in short, the fullness of life.

We pray to the Father in heaven as we long to be there ourselves. Yet that longing does not diminish our concern for building a better world here. Rather, it energizes that concern, which translates into building the culture of life.

“Hallowed be thy name.” When the People of God live in a way that reflects the holiness, justice, truth and love of God himself, then God’s name is honored. In other words, God’s people give God a good reputation, and the word “Christian” is something people want to identify with.

But when God’s people are unfaithful, God’s name is dishonored. This is what happens when God’s people turn the other way and ignore (or sometimes participate in) the abortions that kill thousands of babies every day. This dishonors both the rights of that child and the name of God.

“Hallowed be thy name,” through our commitment to life. “Hallowed be thy name,” through the sacrifice we make to defend life, and the care we give to mother and child alike.

“Thy Kingdom Come!” When Jesus began his preaching he declared that the Kingdom of God had come among us. The kingdom, indeed, is already here. The Kingdom is Jesus himself, united with his members who, together with him, make up his Body, the Church.
Yet the kingdom is not yet here in all its completion. It continues to grow, and it continues to strive against many enemies.

God’s Kingdom, as the liturgy says, is a kingdom “of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace.” This kingdom defines the culture of life, where the unborn and frail are welcomed and protected. Each time we pray the Our Father, let our longing for that kingdom increase.

Priesthood Sunday

The last Sunday of October is Priesthood Sunday. This Saturday, Priests for Life will begin a special novena for all priests.

I would like to invite you to send me your prayer requests for priests that you know. In particular, I would like to hear your favorite priest stories.

At www.priestsforlife.org, we have set up a special web page to enable you to send us your prayer intentions and favorite priest stories.

Our priests rely on the prayers of everyone in the Church. Let us pray in particular that they will not be afraid to address pro-life issues, and speak out with vigor and compassion for unborn children.

Priests need to know that each time they speak up for the unborn, lives will be saved.

Join our novena at www.priestsforlife.org.

–Fr. Frank

The Feast of St. Gerard Majella

Today is the Feast of St. Gerard Majella, who is the patron saint of pregnant mothers, of childbirth, and of unborn children.

St. Gerard was a Redemptorist brother who lived in the 18th century. Many miracles have been worked through his intercession, especially in regard to pregnancy and childbirth. In many countries, mothers will devoutly keep a St. Gerard medal with them throughout their pregnancy and delivery.

Many hospitals dedicate their maternity wards to him and give medals and prayer leaflets of St. Gerard to their patients. Thousands of children have been named after St. Gerard by parents who are convinced that it was his intercession that helped them to have healthy children.

Today, let us ask St. Gerard to give light and courage to those who are tempted to abortion, that they may choose life.

–Fr. Frank

Blessed Are The Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs. When the Lord speaks about the poor in spirit, he is speaking about those for whom there is no help or hope but God Himself. God is the only hope for any of us. But when we have a lot of possessions, friends, and earthly protection, we are tempted to think that those are the things on which our spirits can ultimately rely. But that is an illusion. “Only in God be at rest, my soul; from him comes my help and salvation.” Today, nobody is more unsafe and unprotected than the child in the womb. Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. The unborn are the poorest of the poor, and God calls us to acknowledge and bless them.

–Fr. Frank

Proclaim Freedom for the Unborn

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

The pro-life movement is all about freedom. That’s why Priests for Life, with the leadership of our Pastoral Associate Dr. Alveda King, is launching “Freedom Rides” for the unborn to galvanize pro-life activity across the country.

During the Civil Rights movement, the “Freedom Rides” constituted a distinctive moment of resolve and unity. The Supreme Court, in its 1960 decision Boynton vs. Virginia, had outlawed segregation in bus terminals and restaurants serving interstate travelers. So the following spring, thirteen people – seven African-Americans and six whites – decided to travel by bus from Washington DC to New Orleans to test the enforcement of that Supreme Court decision.

Along the way, particularly in Alabama, they encountered opposition and violence from those who did not want desegregation. But having been brutally attacked, and some lying with wounds in hospital beds, the “Freedom Riders” vowed that the journey would continue. That’s when others joined in, and the initial Freedom Ride became 60 rides across Southern states in the summer of 1961, with some 450 riders participating. And by the fall of that same year, the government issued orders for the enforcement of desegregation at the bus terminals.

The Civil Rights movement and the Pro-Life movement have the same heart and soul: a longing for equal justice for everyone, based on the inherent dignity of every human life. That’s why, when Dr. Alveda King first walked with me at the annual March for Life and I asked her, “Does this remind you of the marches in the civil rights movement?” she declared, “Fr. Frank, this is the civil rights movement!” Both movements are movements of freedom

It is therefore time for Freedom Rides for the unborn. The pro-life movement is more ready than ever to proclaim freedom…

Freedom from the lies and the deceit that allow abortion to continue…
Freedom from the fear of speaking up and taking action for the unborn…
Freedom from the shame and guilt of past involvement in abortion, so that those called to speak up and share their testimonies may do so as people who are “Silent No More”…
Freedom from the political oppression that tramples on human rights and denies equality before the law…
Freedom from violence and death itself.

People will be invited to participate in the Freedom Rides themselves. The bus rides are a symbol of the journey we are on, of the fellowship we share with each other, and of the fact that we are a movement. Major events in cities along the bus routes will be held, in which all the different facets of the pro-life movement will be invited to participate.

At the same time, people not on the rides or along the route can participate by being “Freedom Riders for the Unborn” and carrying out special projects that will be coordinated among Freedom Riders nationwide.

In his first public sermon, Jesus summarized his message and mission by saying he had come to “proclaim liberty to the captives…” As his disciples, as his People of Life, let us do the same!

For more information visit www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

Deliver Us From Evil

The Lord’s Prayer concludes with the words, “Deliver us from evil.” In asking this, we are not asking to be delivered from some vague force or bad luck. Rather, we are asking to be delivered from the influence and power of a real person, the devil, also known as the evil one. His kingdom of death has been defeated, and so his power is limited, but he still seeks to lead us astray. When we pray to be delivered from the evil one, we are praying to be delivered from the culture of death, and to stay faithful to Christ’s Kingdom of Life. WE are praying that we will not be deceived by the false promises of the evil one, who presents abortion as a solution to a problem, though it is no such thing.

–Fr. Frank

Prayer and Fasting in the Pro-Life Movement

Prayer and fasting have always been central to the Church’s effort to end abortion. But each year, at the beginning of October, pro-life people throughout the world observe a special week of prayer and fasting to end abortion, bring conversion to the nations, and establish peace. We are in the midst of that week right now, and it runs through October 12. On Monday a Day of Prayer will be held in Washington DC at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This all day event is open to everyone without charge, and will feature speakers, adoration, rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, confessions, and Mass. I will share a special message at that event about how pro-life work is not just activity, but spirituality. Wherever you are, let’s pray and fast to end abortion!

–Fr. Frank

A Novena to St. Gerard Majella

The Feast of St. Gerard Majella is approaching. He is the patron saint of pregnant mothers, of childbirth, and of unborn children.

Priests for Life invites you to join a special novena in his honor. At the priestsforlife.org website, you can download a prayer to St. Gerard, and give to us any prayer intentions you have for couples who are seeking to conceive a child, or for women having difficult pregnancies, for those who have lost children, or who have special prayer intentions for their living children.

All of our priests will remember those intentions during this novena, leading up to St. Gerard’s feast day on October 16.

Many miracles have been worked through the intercession of St. Gerard, especially in regard to pregnancy and childbirth. Please join the St. Gerard Majella novena, at priestsforlife.org

-Fr. Frank

Pray For Us Sinners

The rosary is, without doubt, one of the greatest devotions in history to be embraced by the Church. And it is a devotion strongly embraced by the pro-life movement. This is so for good reasons, because in the Hail Mary we praise a mother, and we worship the fruit of her womb. Our salvation began because a mother said yes to the life within her!

In the rosary we also say, “Pray for US sinners.” We don’t point the finger at others, but rather at ourselves. We know that sin that is in the world, but we start by repenting of the sin within us. The pro-life movement is in fact a movement of repentance, of admitting we haven’t done enough. That is the best way to rebuild the Culture of Life.

–Fr. Frank

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask, “lead us not into temptation.” Every temptation is a lie, that makes something evil look good. Among the most masterful temptations of the evil one is to make the killing of a child seem better than the birth of that child. This is the lie that leads each day to thousands of abortions. As we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” let’s keep in mind the need to protect all pregnant mothers from the deception of abortion. Let’s also pray against the temptation to be silent and passive in the midst of this holocaust. Sins of omission are the most frequent sins, especially in regard to the culture of death. Let’s say more, do more, and sacrifice more for life! Lead us not into temptation!

–Fr. Frank