“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
“Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
Reflection: There is an axiom in psychiatry that says, “Believe behavior.” See what the speaker does. We are not just supposed to talk about how we care. The “pro-choice” movement, for all its rhetoric, leaves women alone with the pain of abortion. The pro-life movement, through thousands of pregnancy resource centers, offers women real help in their need, and the gifts of life and peace.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, free us from a superficial commitment to goodness. Continue to turn our good words into good actions, that life may flourish. 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.
Last night I was privileged to gather with a relatively small group of pro-life leaders and activists for the wake service of Nellie Gray. Board members of the March for Life, along with some pro-life leaders from Washington DC-based groups and elsewhere, gathered in a quiet Church of Saint Mary on 5th Street NW. This was Nellie’s parish, where she attended the Traditional Latin Mass. Some family members of Nellie were there, specifically three nieces and a nephew. They had come in from Texas and Georgia, and I very much enjoyed talking with them and reminiscing about Nellie.
I arrived at the Church at the same time the casket arrived, and we had a short initial prayer service at the door. One of the first people I saw there on the sidewalk was Dee Becker, who served for a long time as Vice-President of the March for Life and whom I have known and worked with for many years. Janet Morana and I had spoken with Dee on the phone not long after we got the news about Nellie, and Janet reminded her to make sure that Nellie’s distinctive red coat, which she wore at every March, was preserved. Sure enough, there next to her casket, on a coat stand, was the red coat (with a March for Life button pinned to it), red hat, and red scarf. It brought back many memories.
My friend and colleague Pastor Luke Robinson shared an exhortation during the evening service. He read the Life Principles, reminding us that this is the basis on which Nellie asked us to unite the pro-life movement. Moreover, he pointed out how Nellie made the Silent No More Awareness Campaign an integral aspect of the March, thereby representing her conviction that abortion did not only destroy the baby, but the baby’s parents as well.
Nellie and I had a number of very honest discussions about what would happen with the March for Life after she died. One concern of hers was paramount: that its nature and message be preserved. It is not simply a rally and march; it is an expression of the American people to their elected representatives that all law must conform to the Life Principles, without exception or compromise. It will take a while for all of us to grieve and readjust to Nellie’s absence. But I’m confident that her hope about the future of the March will be fulfilled.
Reflection: Prayer is not just asking God to do something. Prayer is union with God. Prayer means we open ourselves so wide to God that He comes in and does something through us! Prayer and action are not two separate options, but rather two aspects of union with God. When we come away from prayer we should not feel rested but restless. We should not feel that we’ve done our duty, but that we’ve been given our duty.
Prayer: Lord, you are a consuming fire, the source of all activity. Keep me rooted in prayer and strong in action. Amen.