When the Lord gave the command to take away the stone so that He could call Lazarus to walk out of his own grave, Lazarus’ sister Martha expressed a concern: “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Notice how we worry about small things when God is about to do great things. He works through us to end abortion, but we worry that we will lose friends; pastors worry that they will anger parishioners; politicians worry that they will lose votes; we all worry that there will be a stench. It’s time to stop limiting the power of God. As Mother Teresa said, let’s give God permission, so that He can work mightily through us to end abortion and bring about a culture of life.
Lent teaches us the meaning of love. Jesus endures His passion and crucifixion for each of us, giving Himself away that we might have life. Abortion, on the other hand, is the opposite of love, because it takes life. Love says, “I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person.” Abortion says, “I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself.” Strangely, the same words are used in both cases. Supporters of abortion say, “This is my body, I can do what I want.” Jesus says, “This is My body, given up for you.” The same words are spoken from opposite ends of the universe, with totally opposite results. Let us resolve to live those words as Jesus did, giving ourselves away for the good of others, born and unborn.
Lent is a season of life. As baptized believers, we reflect on how the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ have brought us the new life we now live. We commit ourselves to join all our suffering to His for our own salvation and that of the whole world. To help us all observe Lent, I have written a special Lenten Prayer for Life, and invite you to join me in saying it each day of this holy season. Please download it at priestsforlife.org. As we prepare to celebrate the victory of Christ over death, we commit ourselves to defeat the power of abortion and the culture of death, and as we practice Lenten penance, we can do no better than to reach out and save the lives of our youngest brothers and sisters.
The Passion of Christ was far more horrible than most of our crucifixes portray. As we reflect on how much He suffered, we also reflect on why.
He suffered for the sake of human life. Christ Jesus came to rescue the human life He had created, to snatch it from the kingdom of death and bring it into His kingdom of life. And He includes every human being of every age. I ask you to remember this Lent that Jesus endured his Passion for every unborn child in the womb. He endured every pain that the unborn might be saved as well as the born.
When you pray the Stations of the Cross or the Sorrowful Mysteries, or watch the movie of His Passion, ask for the grace to inconvenience yourself a little more for the unborn.
New York, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced yesterday at the beginning of Lent that the Priests for Life family of ministries is looking forward to a very fruitful season for Life.
“We are beginning this week by sharing with every priest in the nation our resources for preaching, including those found at priestsforlife.org/lent, which show them how to tie in the powerful Lenten themes with the urgent need to defend the unborn. We also have a coordinated prayer campaign taking place in thousands of parishes and schools nationwide, using prayers found at prayercampaign.org.
“Our Pastoral Team, including our priests as well as people like Dr. Alveda King and Dr. Theresa Burke, will speak in dozens of cities and conduct numerous media interviews.
“Our Silent No More Awareness Campaign, co-founded by Janet Morana, our Executive Director, will have gatherings across the nation, including at the office buildings of the US Senate where we are coordinating particular efforts to impact the vote on defunding Planned Parenthood by using the voices of women who were harmed at Planned Parenthood.
“Our priests will speak at many events for 40 Days for Life, a campaign that credits Priests for Life with a large reason for its growth.
“Our media outreach marks this Lent with a new set of episodes on our EWTN program Defending Life, the world’s largest, longest-running TV and radio program on abortion, now in its 18th season. We also mark this week the start of a brand new show, The Catholic View for Women, co-hosted by Janet Morana, Teresa Tomeo, and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez.
“We recommend as Lenten spiritual reading my book Pro-life Reflections for Every Day, as well as the regular You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter updates that I will provide during Lent for pro-life activists. Our clergy webcast on March 21 will help priests to lead their people into a pro-life Lent, and later in the month we will convene a Summit meeting of national pro-life leaders to chart a course of greater collaboration to hasten the day of victory.
“In short, this Lent will be a major boost to the pro-life movement in our country,” Fr. Pavone concluded.
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.
Are you committed to pray every day for an end to abortion? I invite you to join the Priests for Life national prayer campaign.
If you visit priestsforlife.org, you will be able to sign up and download the “Prayer to End Abortion” that we invite every believer to pray daily. You can find the prayer in English and Spanish.
This interdenominational prayer does not simply ask God to end abortion, but expresses your individual commitment to speak and work in defense of the unborn.
Remember, not only can they not speak, but they cannot even pray. They are the most defenseless of human beings. We must stand in the gap. Prayer is the foundation of everything we do in the pro-life movement. Please join this National Prayer Campaign at priestsforlife.org
One of the shortest and most powerful prayers we say, taught and used by Jesus Himself, is “Thy Will be done.” Union with the will of God is the heart of salvation and the essence of holiness. It is also the soul of the Culture of Life, where we do not pretend that human life is subject to our will. Rather, we welcome human life because it is God’s will to create and to entrust the lives of others to our care.
Not only accepting, but eagerly yearning for the will of God, causes us to serve the weak, and to work to see that human law reflects God’s will by protecting the vulnerable. Saying “Thy will be done” also helps us avoid the temptation to throw life away when it is afflicted with illness.
Today 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.
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.