In the season of Lent, meditation on the Seven Last Words of Jesus can give us profound insight into His mission and teaching, and about the intersection of the Passion of Christ and the pro-life efforts of the Church. These words from the Cross enlighten us about the power of forgiveness, the promise of Paradise, and the victory over death which Christ obtains for us by dying and rising again. The words from the Cross teach us of the thirst we should have for the new heavens and the new earth where justice will reside and life will be respected. Reflections I’ve given on the Seven Last Words of Christ can be obtained by visiting our online store.
Today, Ash Wednesday, we receive the ashes that remind us of the power of sin and death, which return us to the dust from which we came. Yet we wear the ashes in the form of a cross, professing that Christ has conquered death and restored life. We repent of all sin, and prepare to renew the vows of our baptism at Easter, when many will be baptized for the first time.
In other words, Lent prepares us to share the victory of Life and to live as the People of Life. Lent is the time when we learn more deeply why we are pro-life. Turning away from sin means we put God above our “freedom of choice.” Believing in the Gospel means we believe in life, and reject the forces of death, including abortion.
Each Nov 1 the Church observes All Saints’ Day, and many of those saints were martyrs. But what is the difference between martyrdom and suicide? It is the difference between giving and taking. In suicide, one takes his own life, pretending to be the master of it. In martyrdom, one realizes that only God is master of his life, and therefore that he cannot hold on to that life at the cost of betraying God. Martyrdom is the very opposite of suicide, because the martyr declares that God alone is Lord of Life, and that being faithful to Him is worth any price, including death.
As we honor the martyrs and all the saints, let’s recommit ourselves to building a world that acknowledges God alone as the Master of life and death.
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 copy today.
Saint Paul declared that he never wanted to boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself indicated to His followers that they were to take up their own cross each day, and Saint Peter declares that Christ suffered for us to leave us an example, that we might follow in His footsteps.
Christians venerate the Cross, not because Jesus is still on it, but because it is the instrument by which He saved the world and by which we take hold of that salvation.
This means that the Cross is also the instrument for ending abortion and building the culture of life. Practically, that means that it is silly to seek to escape controversy and criticism. When we plan pro-life projects, let’s plan to embrace the Cross.