“And they shall name him Emmanuel, a name that means ‘God is with us'” Matthew 1:23.
Reflection: In the midst of the abortion tragedy, the Church does not point fingers of condemnation. Rather, the Church extends hands of compassion and help, to lift up out of despair those who are tempted to abort their children. The Church informs her people of the many alternatives to abortion, and says “I am with you, and will enable you to say yes to life.”
Prayer: Lord, so many are tempted to abort because they feel alone. May we reach out to them, that they may know that we and you are with them. Amen
“Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51).
Reflection: Though he was conceived of a virgin, Jesus nevertheless lived as a son in a human family. The family is the sanctuary of life. The family, above all, is where life is to be welcomed, no matter how fragile or inconvenient it may be. One of the many reasons why the Church sees abortion and euthanasia as pre-eminent issues is because these crimes are committed by one family member upon another.
Prayer: O Holy Family, bless our families, and lead us to a Culture of Life. Amen.
“Life is always a good. …Why is life a good?… The life which God gives man is …a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory” (John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.34).
Reflection: Abortion advocates say that the embryo or fetus is “just a collection of cells.” But this is no argument at all. The same can be said of you and me. If someone does not see the dignity of the human person, their view of people is just reduced to cells.
Prayer: Fill us with wonder, Lord, at your glory shining through every human life. Amen.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were distressed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Reflection: At times, we have all “aborted” God’s will in our lives. We never look down on those who have committed the sin of abortion or who promote it. They are not the enemy, but rather are captive to the enemy. We seek to free them, as their brothers and sisters who are no strangers to temptation, error, and sin.
Prayer: God of compassion, fill me with the same compassion you have for me and for all who have sinned. Amen.
“I have come to call not the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
Reflection: Some abortion supporters seek “common ground” with pro-lifers. How do we respond? Jesus Christ ate and talked with sinners, and yet also warned them strongly to repent of their sins. There is no common ground between life and death, yet to talk with those who disagree conveys to them that we respect their lives, too. There is no room for compromise about abortion, but there must always be room to talk to people about it.
Prayer: Lord, teach us the wisdom of dialogue that does not compromise, and of respect that does not equate evil with good. Amen.
Rachel’s Vineyard is a retreat program for women and men who have lost a child by abortion. The retreat provides an opportunity to face the wounds of abortion in a safe, affirming environment of prayer and the support of others who have been through the same experience. Through the use of “Living Scriptures,” participants are invited to place themselves into the parables and other Scriptural events, and encounter Jesus who heals them.
These retreats, of course, are not meant to substitute for the individual, ongoing counseling that comprises the journey of post-abortion healing. But they are a stepping stone towards making those sessions even more fruitful.
Rachel’s Vineyard is the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, and is a ministry of Priests for Life. Find out more about it at priestsforlife.org.