This weekend we observe Mothers’ Day. It is an opportunity not only to thank our Mothers and to thank the Lord for them, but also to pray for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. So many are already mothers and are just finding out that they are carrying their child within them. They need our encouragement and support, no matter how unplanned, surprising, or shocking the pregnancy may be to them or to us. The fact that motherhood begins before the mother realizes it reminds us of Jesus’ words, “It was not you who chose me; it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit that will last.” God’s choice always comes before ours. When He chooses that someone is to be a mother, let us respond with joyful support.
Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category
At the end of February I was privileged to be welcomed at the Vatican as a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Established in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, this body has “the specific task to study and provide information and training about the principal problems of law and biomedicine pertaining to the promotion and protection of life, especially in the direct relationship they have with Christian morality.”
In our General Assembly meeting this year, we addressed in depth the theme of post-abortion healing. Two other members of our Priests for Life team were also invited: Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and Dr. Theresa Burke, who founded Rachel’s Vineyard.
The group met with Pope Benedict, who said in his address, “It is necessary to provide the necessary help to women who sadly have already taken recourse to abortion, and who now experience all its moral and existential tragedy. There are many initiatives, at the diocesan level or through individual volunteer entities, which offer psychological and spiritual support for a complete human recovery. The solidarity of the Christian community cannot give up this type of co-responsibility.”
He also had strong words about the responsibilities of doctors:
“Doctors cannot fail to defend against the deception of the conscience of many women who think they will find in abortion the solution to family, economic, social difficulties or to the problems of health of their children. Especially in this last situation, the woman is convinced, often by the doctors themselves, that abortion represents not only a licit moral choice, but that in addition it is a necessary “therapeutic” act”.
He also said doctors are to “Continue affirming that abortion does not resolve anything, but that it kills the child, destroys the woman and blinds the conscience of the child’s father, often ruining family life.”
The Pope expanded on the idea of fathers by saying:
“It would be useful to focus attention on the fathers of the children, who often abandon pregnant women. It is the duty of the moral conscience to discern good from evil in the different situations of existence.”
While men can’t have abortions, they do commit the sin of abortion. The “abandonment” of which the Pope speaks often consists in the man saying it is the woman’s choice. This makes her feel alone and desperate, and increases the temptation to abort. The man, instead, is called to stand with the woman and the baby and say, “we can do the right thing.”
Finally, the Pope reminded us all that “It is necessary that the whole of society defend the right to life of the conceived and the true good of the woman, who never, under any circumstance, will be fulfilled in the choice of abortion.”
As one of many entities of the Vatican – essentially a bioethics council for the Pope and the Church — the Academy for Life represents a key concern of the Church. You can follow its activities and publications at www.AcademiaVita.org.
Today, the Church throughout the world celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation. This solemnity marks the moment when God Himself became an unborn child. At that moment He also began redeeming the unborn child — and all of us who once were unborn children. Never can the unborn be considered too small to be significant or to possess rights, for God Himself was that small.
In many countries, today’s Feast is observed as a special day honored in celebration of Life, even by decree of the government. At www.priestsforlife.org, you will find special prayers you can use in your homes and Churches as you observe this feast.
Let us all renew our commitment to the lives of the unborn, and to Jesus, whose image is in each one of them.
The Lord declares in His word that even if a mother forsakes her own child, He will not forsake us. He uses the abandonment of one’s own child as an example of the most unimaginable infidelity. This passage makes it clear that God cannot possibly think that the act of abortion is ever justified. It is a forsaking of the child whom God has entrusted not only to that mother, but to all of us. God’s own faithfulness to us is reflected in how we take care of one another, particularly the weak and the lowly. That’s why pro-life work glorifies God. It restores to the human community that compassionate care and protection that those made in God’s image are to have for one another. Let’s give mothers the strength never to forsake their children.
As we enter the second half of Advent, the liturgy focuses more specifically on the Incarnation and birth of Jesus at the first Christmas. We think about Mary’s initial fear and uncertainty in the face of her unexpected pregnancy. Then, in every Church in the world, believers spiritually rush to her side to eagerly await with her the birth of the Savior.
The best way for a parish to celebrate Christmas is to rush physically to the side of those in the community who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancy. We are to accompany them through their pregnancy with support and encouragement, and help them experience the fact that every birth reflects the joy of the birth of Christ.
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, the Aztec people among whom he lived were practicing human sacrifice, because their beliefs were based on despair. They thought God was against them.
Mary’s image brought the message that God was with them — so much, in fact, that He became a child, carried in Mary’s womb. This gave them hope, and they stopped their human sacrifice and became Christian.
Today, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes to abortion clinics, where human sacrifice is practiced, and turns the despair of those mothers and fathers into the hope that brings new life. That is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Unborn. As we honor her, let us pray for an end to the human sacrifice that is abortion.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the unborn. Priests for Life has therefore composed a special prayer novena to prepare for her feastday. This novena for life begins tomorrow and can be found here.
The prayer asks for renewed hope, because Mary points us to Christ, who has conquered death.
Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image ended the practice of human sacrifice among the Aztecs. The novena asks that the human sacrifice of abortion end through her intercession.
It asks that we may have compassion for all those tempted to abort or who have had abortions.
Please join this novena at priestsforlife.org, and invite your family, pro-life group, school and parish to take part in it as well.
The Feast of St. Gerard Majella is approaching. He is the patron saint of pregnant mothers, of childbirth, and of unborn children.
Priests for Life invites you to join a special novena in his honor. At the priestsforlife.org website, you can download a prayer to St. Gerard, and give to us any prayer intentions you have for couples who are seeking to conceive a child, or for women having difficult pregnancies, for those who have lost children, or who have special prayer intentions for their living children.
All of our priests will remember those intentions during this novena, leading up to St. Gerard’s feast day on October 16th.
Many miracles have been worked through the intercession of St. Gerard, especially in regard to pregnancy and childbirth. Please join the St. Gerard Majella novena, at priestsforlife.org.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. In the history of the world and in the personal journeys of countless Christians, the Rosary has conquered many enemies. Now, many people — Catholic and Protestant — pray the Rosary in front of abortion mills. This is especially appropriate, because in this prayer we acknowledge Jesus as the fruit of Mary’s womb. As we do so, we stand to pray for our brothers and sisters who are being torn from the wombs of their mothers. As we honor the greatest mother, we pray for the frightened mothers. As we worship God who was an unborn child, we proclaim the image of God in every unborn child.
If you pray the rosary at abortion facilities, please continue to do so; if you never have, please consider starting.
In John, chapter 19, we read that the mother of Jesus stood faithfully at the cross as He suffered and died for our salvation. All but one of the apostles had run away in fear. But perhaps Mary remembered the words that had been spoken to her thirty-three years earlier, as related in Luke 2: “This child is appointed…as a sign that is opposed…and a sword will pierce through your own soul also.” She knew that the plan of God was unfolding before her eyes, and so she bore the suffering bravely.
So many abortions happen because mothers are afraid to bear the suffering that comes with fulfilling God’s plan for their child. Let’s point them to the example of Mary, and the strength of Christ, that they may choose life.