With huge victories for pro-life candidates in state legislatures all over the country, more pro-life laws are being passed in various states. These laws regulate the abortion mills more stringently, cut off money from the abortion industry, ban some late-term abortions, and bring more information to women who think they need abortions. The pro-abortion side is being more careful regarding which of these laws they challenge, fearing they may lose if a challenge reaches the Supreme Court. One of the things pro-abortion forces are attacking is the work of the pregnancy centers, claiming that they lie about the effects of abortion. This is a key time to support these centers and to inform ourselves and others about the medical studies that show the harm of abortion. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.
Archive for June, 2011
The letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ made the sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross “through the eternal spirit.” This makes sense, because the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son, a love that is then poured out on us. It is in the Holy Spirit that we, too, have the power to love, which consists in giving ourselves away for the good of the other. “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Such is to be our response to the unborn. We sacrifice our time, efforts, possessions, positions, and reputations, in order to save their lives. By filling us with this love, the Holy Spirit unites the human family, whereas abortion divides it.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. His gifts enable us to understand created realities, their value, and their relationship to the Creator and to our happiness. We should ask the Holy Spirit to give us an understanding of the value of the human person. The Spirit enables us to cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Abortion, on the other hand, sees the human person as a disposable object. The Spirit of Truth likewise shows us the truth about our sins. In Him we come to understand the difference between good and evil. This works directly against the dynamics of the abortion movement, which identifies a moral evil as a “right.” “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”
The creation account in Genesis 1 tells us that “a mighty wind,” the “breath” or “spirit” of God hovered over the waters and brought life and light out of chaos and darkness. The Holy Spirit is proclaimed in the Creed to be “the Lord and Giver of Life,” and this is true both on a natural and supernatural level. On the first Easter night, Jesus breathes His Spirit upon the Apostles, that they too might bring new life out of the chaos and darkness of sin. A second Creation account is taking place here. God indeed “has sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.” To worship the Holy Spirit, then, demands that we stand against all that destroys life, and that we bring repentance to those who have done so.
The wound comes from well-meaning people. “Well, it wasn’t that far along.” “You can always have another child.” “Lots of people go through this.”
Miscarriage is a tragedy that so many people misunderstand. They are not quite sure how to console a friend or relative who has suffered this loss.
While there are no magic formulas, there is one fundamental truth that needs to stay front and center: a miscarriage is the loss of a child who is just as real and has just as much value as any other child of any age. A woman who has a miscarriage is a parent who has lost a child, as is the father of the child as well.
In a society which continues to have a legal and cultural blind spot for the unborn, many suffer from the illusion that miscarriage doesn’t grieve a parent as much as the loss of, well, a “real child,” and that is precisely what hurts so much. We can never console someone in grief if we imply, even remotely, that the person they lost wasn’t real.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, President of the American Association of Pro-life Ob-Gyns, has observed that prior to 1970, the loss of a child before or during birth was often treated in medical literature as a “non-event,” but that now there is a growing awareness of the grief associated with such loss. In fact, Dr. Calhoun has developed a hospice program for unborn children.
As the medical community advances in sensitivity and understanding of these points, so must we all. Our love, our compassion, our sharing in the grief of such losses, can bring healing to the parents who have suffered miscarriage. The naming of these children who have died is one significant way of acknowledging their reality. The counting of these children matters too, so that if a parent is asked how many children he/she has, the child who died before birth is counted as one of them.
I recall the first pro-life billboard that we set up in 1990 here in our community of Staten Island, New York. It depicted a developing unborn child. One of the first phone calls I received about it was from a woman who had lost a child by miscarriage. “I can’t tell you how consoling your billboard is to me. Thank you.” That was all she said.
Perhaps the reason it was consoling was that someone was saying publicly what she knew privately: that was a real child. The life of that child matters, no matter how short it was. The death of that child matters, no matter how many may not cry. And the love I have for that child matters, even if nobody else knows.
Lord, comfort all parents who grieve the loss of their children of any age. Take them into Your loving arms, and give us strength until the day You give them back to us in heaven. Amen.
The Holy Spirit is God, and all He does and speaks to us is consistent with what God the Father and God the Son have done and spoken. In the sixteenth chapter of John’s Gospel we read these words of Jesus, “He will not speak on His own, but will speak only what He hears…because He will have received from me what He will announce to you.” And in John 14 we read, “The Holy Spirit…will…remind you of all that I told you.” Everything the Holy Spirit will ever say to us, individually or as a Church, will always reinforce the Gospel of Life. No disciple can claim the “freedom of the Spirit” to contradict the commandments, including that which forbids the killing of the innocent, whether born or unborn.
Hundreds of people in our nation have worked in the abortion industry, whether in Planned Parenthood or in any of the many independent killing centers, and have stopped doing so because of a moral conversion. We at Priests for Life minister to many of them. And what is the first thing that they need? They need healing. The guided effort to face what they have done and to find spiritual and psychological wholeness must be their first activity and responsibility. Only after this crucial process and careful discernment with the help of the pro-life community should those who so desire begin to share their story on the speaking circuit. Let’s pray for all those who have performed abortion, and for their healing and peace. Find out more at priestsforlife.org.
Father Pavone issued the following statement today about the death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian:
“All of us at Priests for Life pray for the soul of Jack Kevorkian, as we do for all who have died, and we renew our commitment to proclaim that life is better than death. Every life has burdens. When we respond to the call to bear one another’s burdens, then we close the door to despair. Those who promote the so-called ‘right to die’ are heralds of despair. We, on the other hand, are heralds of hope.
“And as for the ‘right to die,’ I say, Don’t worry – you won’t miss out on it.”
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.
Forty days after His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven. What was different on that day than when He was in heaven before coming to earth? The difference was that now He was in heaven in a human body and soul – the same human nature that you and I share. Jesus took our humanity to the heights of heaven, making it possible for us to go there, too. The Ascension teaches the world the meaning and destiny of human life: we are called to be in the heights of heaven.
That is why we can never permit human life to be thrown in the garbage by abortion and other atrocities. Jesus has taken human nature to the heights of heaven, the same human nature shared by every unborn child.
Tomorrow pro-life people around the world are invited to begin a special Novena to the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life. At priestsforlife.org you will be able to sign up for this novena and download the prayer.
The period of time between the Ascension and Pentecost was the original novena, when the disciples prayed at Jesus’ instruction that they would be clothed with power from on high.
That Holy Spirit, the Advocate, made them bold advocates for the Gospel. The same boldness is needed by us as we announce the sanctity of life and denounce the many attacks on life, beginning with abortion and euthanasia.
Let us pray in this novena that He will make us bold advocates for the unborn and all the vulnerable.