“There is one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, himself a man” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Reflection: Jesus is humanity’s only mediator with God precisely because he is both God and human, and his humanity comes from Mary. All her importance flows from her Son, and our worship of the Son naturally leads to honoring his mother. Marian devotion teaches us something about our pro-life commitment. Mother and child belong together. To hurt one is to hurt the other; to love one is to love the other.
Prayer: Mary, thank you for being the mother of Jesus, who now shares our humanity. Teach us to honor every mother and child. Amen.
Miss Nellie Gray, Founder of the March for Life, has died.“Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. In 1976, when he was a senior in high school, Father Pavone went to the March for Life with his mother and grandmother. Although he had been quietly considering the priesthood before that, the March cemented both his vocation and his passion for pro-life issues.
“Every year since 1974, Nellie Gray has mobilized a diverse and energetic army for life,” said Father Pavone, who has attended every march since his first one. “Her own commitment to the cause never wavered. She was a tireless warrior for the unborn and her motto was ‘no exceptions.’ “
After his ordination in 1988, Father Pavone was assigned to a parish in Staten Island, NY. Every year he led a busload of parishioners to the March for Life. He took over as national director of Priests for Life in 1993, and the following year, attending the event in his new capacity, Miss Gray invited him to say the opening prayer at the March for Life Convention that annually precedes the March.
In 2008, the National Pro-Life Religious Council, which Father Pavone serves as president, presented Miss Gray with its Pro-Life Recognition Award. Later that day, Miss Gray tripped and fell on the stage at the opening rally for the March and had to be taken to the hospital with a head injury.
“As a colleague in national pro-life leadership, Nellie was always an inspiration to the rest of us,” Father Pavone said. “Her devotion was on display that same year, 2008, when, despite being in the hospital during the March for Life, she nevertheless was present at all all-day meeting of national leaders the very next morning, with a patch on her head.”
Every year since its founding in 2003, Miss Gray invited the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to stand on the rally stage holding signs that said, “I Regret My Abortion,” and she arranged for a larger group of post-abortive men and women from Silent No More to be in the vanguard of the March.
“We are so grateful that Nellie Gray shared our vision of Silent No More, and recognized that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice,” said Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More. “Every year more women and men come to march and to share their testimony. Nellie Gray helped make that possible for us.”
Miss Gray is also credited for realizing that African-American pro-life leaders had to become more vocal and visible in the fight for life.
“Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice,” said Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life. “She was a visionary.”
Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministry and director of Youth Outreach for Priests for Life, said: “My heart is broken by the loss of Nellie Gray, a true pro-life hero and role model. At the same time I celebrate that Nellie is with our Lord who she loved so dearly. I have had the honor of working with Nellie for years and every time I March in DC in January, I know she will be watching over us and praying for us. Nellie Gray, I will miss you dearly.
The 2013 March for Life will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, and the 39th anniversary of the March.
“It was an anniversary that broke Nellie Gray’s heart every year, and every day,” Father Pavone noted. “In January we will march in her memory, in her honor, to save the unborn children to whom she dedicated her life.”
Jesus said, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. You should be happy that they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” This command to love and serve those who cannot repay us strengthens our resolve to love and serve the unborn children, who are in danger of being killed by abortion. They cannot know right now that we are helping them and speaking up for them. They cannot repay us. These are the ones we should love and serve above all.
Must-have pro-life book: Ending Abortion; Not Just Fighting It is a collection of lifesaving and informative pro-life essays from Fr. Pavone. Click here to order your signed copy today.
In John’s Gospel, we read the story of the man born blind. He receives his sight, and then gets the spiritual eyesight to know that Jesus is Lord. The Pharisees, instead, insist on remaining blind about Jesus, even though the evidence of his power is staring them in the face.
So it is today with those who support abortion. In spite of clear and present evidence about who this child is, and how violent abortion is, some refuse to see. That is why, along with presenting the evidence, we pray that they may have open hearts to receive that evidence.
The same openness of heart that enables one to believe in Jesus enables one to welcome the truth about the unborn child. But if we miss who the child is, we’ve really missed Jesus too.
One day, the Lord Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, and was transfigured before their eyes. His clothes became as bright as the sun, Moses and Elijah were seen speaking with him about his upcoming passion, and the Father’s voice was heard declaring that he was his Son.
All this was a sign to those apostles that they should not be troubled by the events that would unfold. The betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus were to fulfill the Father’s plan for our salvation.
The Transfiguration is also a sign to us. Circumstances can make us forget that every human life is part of the Father’s plan, and that the glory of God is to be seen in every person, no matter how burdensome, unplanned, or ill that person may be.
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
So many pro-life leaders I know, including myself, have been falsely accused in public of advocating or even doing violence. Pregnancy centers, which compassionately serve parents and their babies every day, have been falsely accused of deceiving the public. Activists who try to change the laws have been falsely accused of opposing democracy.
The litany goes on and on, and proves that pro-life people are living this beatitude. They should rejoice, for their reward in heaven indeed is great. The children, who cannot know how much pro-life people love them, cannot repay them. They will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.
On June 29th the Church honors the Apostles Peter and Paul. We pray that we will be faithful to the teaching and grace handed down from the Apostles. At the heart of that faith “that comes to us from the Apostles” is the teaching on the Sanctity of Life. The fact that God cares for human life is the basis of all He does for us; the fact that He has entrusted us to the care of each other is the basis for all we do for each other. Peter and Paul had relied on the Lord to sustain them in many battles. That is true of the Church throughout the ages, yet “the gates of Hell will not prevail.” These words apply well to the battles to defend a Culture of Life against a Culture of Death.