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.
Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run so as to win. … I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.” The term shadowboxing means that the participant punches at nobody in particular. But when the Church swings, she is supposed to hit something. We have to set specific goals in our fight to overcome evil and extend God’s Kingdom. There are specific enemies of the Church and the Gospel of Life. Our work, therefore, cannot be one of platitudes and generalities.
It needs to begin with research and concrete knowledge of the obstacles in our way. Let’s not shadowbox. Let’s aim to win.
Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We rejoice that this woman was chosen by God to be His own mother.
In our day, we need Mary’s presence and example more than ever, because so many mothers are afraid to be mothers, and so many opinion-makers in our society have forgotten what motherhood really means.
Let’s honor Mary today by offering special prayers for all who are pregnant and afraid, especially those tempted to abort their child. Pray that they find new hope and strength in the one who said “Yes” to God’s plan.
Pray also for those who have aborted their children. Pray that on this day, Mary herself will comfort them, and point them to her Son, in whom there is forgiveness and life.
In response to Planned Parenthood’s intention to open a new killing center in Omaha, the local Archbishop, George Lucas, issued a statement in which he said, “Women and their unborn children deserve better than to suffer the violence of abortion. As a caring community, we can offer them a compassionate alternative. I invite any woman who might be considering abortion to turn first to the loving and supportive care of the pro-life pregnancy help centers.”
The Archbishop also indicated he would attend a prayer vigil at the location of the new mill. This is an example of the Church’s response to this ongoing abortion tragedy: we pray, we show up, we speak up, and we offer alternatives. Let’s pray for our bishops and all clergy, that they may continue to offer this example.
The war against the unborn can only ultimately be stopped by and through the Church. Just from a natural point of view, this is a vast network of interaction and communication. Imagine what can happen if our clergy infuse that vast structure with clear, vigorous, and compassionate pro-life teaching and action.
The Church is the only institution that has a Divine guarantee that it will prevail over the culture of death. “The gates of hell will not prevail against it,” the Lord said. The gates of death fall in the presence of life.
To fully apply those gifts to the task of ending abortion, does not so much require more structure as it does more spirit, more awareness, more courage, and more determination to use both the means and the opportunities we already have.
Some people think that because men cannot get pregnant, they have no right to say anything about abortion.
But any human being, male or female, has the right and duty to speak up when someone’s life is in danger. Real men don’t stand around with their hands at their side when innocent babies are being ripped apart. They do something to defend these children.
Saying that only women should have any say about abortion is like saying that only Jews can speak about the Holocaust, or only Blacks can speak about segregation, or only children can speak about child abuse.
The truth is that every human being can speak about human rights, and has a duty to defend those rights when they are under attack.
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptizer, who leaped for joy in the womb of Elizabeth because of the coming of Christ. John told the people to prepare for Jesus’ coming by repenting of their sins, and continued to preach that message of repentance to those in power, such as when he told King Herod that it was wrong for him to have his brother’s wife.
John is an example for us to speak the truth boldly. Being a prophet is not primarily about telling the future, but about telling the present – pointing out what God thinks of what is happening now and what He wants us to do about it.
As we honor John the Baptizer, then, let us resolve to boldly proclaim the right to life for all, including the unborn.