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.
ATLANTA — Dr. Alveda C. King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, today mourned the passing of the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“Howard will be sorely missed. He was a man of integrity and deep compassion,” said Dr. King
Rev. Creecy, 57, died Thursday, July 28, at his Atlanta home. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
He was elected to lead the SCLC in January, when Bernice King, the daughter of SCLC co-founder Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., declined the position. A third-generation preacher, he also was the senior pastor of Olivet Church in Fayette, Ga.
When he assumed the SCLC post, Rev. Creecy acknowledged that internal divisions had troubled the 54-year-old organization in recent years. His goal was to get past those divisions and move the organization forward with a clearly defined mission.
SCLC spokesman Maynard Eaton told Reuters that Rev. Creecy “saved this organization. It was on the brink of disaster. He became this organization’s lifeline with his charisma and his preacher passion.”
Dr. King was looking forward to working with Rev. Creecy to raise awareness of the devastating impact of abortion on the African-American community.
“Howard and I spoke just a few weeks ago at a women’s conference honoring both our mothers. He stopped me in the hallway and said, ‘Alveda, we should meet soon. I am with you in the fight for life.’ He went on to say that he had attended a pro-life prayer meeting with Dr. Billy Graham, and had also participated in Operation Rescue pro-life rallies.”
Isaac Newton Farris Jr., a nephew of Martin Luther King Jr., has been named interim president, the organization said.
Rev. Creecy is survived by his wife, Yolanda Grier Creecy, and two children. The funeral will be Saturday at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church in Atlanta.
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.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. The person who lives the Beatitudes knows that God is the source of all he needs. Although he develops his human skills and asserts himself as necessary, the Lord’s servant never believes he has to hurt another to get what he needs. The meek are strong and secure in their dependence on God. They will have a healthy ability to fight for their rights, but will not do so with an anxious need to dominate. In the Lord, they know they will inherit the earth.
The Culture of Death, on the contrary, is built on the idea that sometimes you have to do violence to advance your rights, your career, or your freedom. The violence of abortion is seen as a path to fulfillment.
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite days.
Living across the street from a public high school field from which the town fireworks display was launched each year made it extra special, as did the presence of many relatives and friends who would come to our house to celebrate the day (as well as my father’s and brother’s birthdays).
As a priest, furthermore, I enjoy offering the prayers of the liturgy for Independence Day. The Preface is particularly inspiring. It reads in part:
“[Christ] spoke to men a message of peace and taught us to live as brothers. His message took form in the vision of our Fathers, as they fashioned a nation where men might live as one. This message lives on in our midst as a task for men today and a promise for tomorrow. We thank you, Father, for Your blessings in the past, and for all that, with Your help, we must yet achieve” (Sacramentary, Preface for Independence Day I, P82).
The blessings we give thanks for on the Fourth of July are many. I have come to realize that more than ever as I have had occasion to speak on almost every continent. We give thanks not only for material possessions and for freedom, but for the vision behind them. The vision is that “men might live as one”; the vision is that all will be welcomed, as the Statue of Liberty symbolizes; the vision is that “all are created equal”; the vision is “liberty and justice for all.”
It is a vision that we do not merely look back on, thanking God that our Founding Fathers had it. It is, rather, a vision which is “a task for today and a promise for tomorrow.”
This is why the pro-life movement is so American. It is a movement striving to achieve welcome for those of whom Roe v. Wade spoke when it said, “The word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn” (Roe at 158). Roe excluded; the pro-life movement includes. Roe made the circle of persons in America smaller; the pro-life movement seeks to expand it.
One Fourth of July, some friends of mine and I held a banner in front of my house as all the people gathered across the street for the fireworks. It said, “Pray to end Abortion.” One man, expressing agreement with the message, questioned whether it was the right setting to deliver it. “Of course it is,” I explained. “This is the day we celebrate a nation in which all are supposed to be considered equal. What better way to celebrate our freedom than to work to extend it to others?”
I pray you will all enjoy this Fourth of July. I know I will, as I watch the fireworks right from home. As I celebrate Mass that day, I will pray that this year’s celebration will renew your determination to work for justice and freedom for all unborn Americans.
The celebration of our nation’s independence is an important moment to reflect on the blessings of God, the meaning of freedom, and the task to expand the blessings of freedom to our unborn brothers and sisters who are still enslaved by our nation’s abortion policies. That’s why Priests for Life begins this Sunday a special novena of prayer for our nation, in preparation for Independence Day. You can download the prayer at priestsforlife.org. The prayer reminds us that our Founding Fathers took inspiration from the Gospel in founding this nation, and that our task is to secure liberty and justice not just for some, but for all, including the unborn. Please visit priestsforlife.org, download the Independence Day Novena, and invite your family, pro-life groups, schools and parishes to take part in it.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us that when Jesus rose from the dead, there was a great earthquake. In the Old Testament, earthquakes are a sign of the coming of God, the breaking in of the new age in which God’s kingdom will flourish.
That is what happens, of course, at the Resurrection. A new chapter of history now begins, in which the risen life of Christ is accepted by believers, who live this newness of life, reconciled and redeemed by the blood of the Cross.
In this new chapter of history, humanity is reconciled with God, and human life is raised in Christ to the heights of glory. God’s victory over death continues to grow.
It is therefore an age in which we have more reason than ever to respect and protect human life.
Advocates of abortion have always tried to hijack the language and concept of freedom. The reality of killing a child has been camouflaged in the words “freedom of choice.” Yet Scripture makes clear the real meaning of freedom. In Exodus seven sixteen, God has Moses tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” But here, and in the following chapters, this command in its fullness is, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Freedom has a content. It is not a cloak for whatever we want to do; it is a road to serve the Lord. And the service of the Lord means there are some things we always choose and some things that we always reject. The service of the Lord is a way of life – indeed a narrow way. Yet to follow it is freedom.
In the Lord’s prayer, we ask that we may be forgiven our sins “as we forgive those who sin against us.” We are asking the Lord to use us as an example of how readily and generously He should forgive our sins.
He is more eager to forgive our sins than we are. This should not only give us confidence, but should help us inspire confidence in those who despair. One of the hardest sins to confess is abortion. And even there, the Lord is ready to pour out His mercy on those who repent.
Nothing can minimize the horror of abortion, and nothing can justify it. Yet countless people come each day to the cross where they find that even this sin is washed away in the Blood of Christ.
As part of the Freedom Rides for the Unborn, Priests for Life has launched the Ten Steps to End Abortion initiative. This is an effort by which the strategic thinking and planning of hundreds of pro-life leaders will be joined together in a ten step plan that can be followed both by individuals and organizations, churches, and dioceses.
The experience of the pro-life movement has shown what works and what does not work to stop the killing. Now it’s a matter of recruiting and training more people to carry out those things that work.
The Ten Steps to End Abortion project will lead also to a pro-life university online, that will provide training and credits in every form of pro-life activism.
For more info on all these items, visit priests for life dot org.