Three Essential Ingredients


Fr. Frank Pavone

   Nobody said it would be easy.

Those who strive to defend the right to life in this society know what a difficult struggle it is, and also know how many different approaches, tactics, and strategies there are. Is it possible to identify, in the midst of the variety of methods, common and essential ingredients that every pro-lifer must utilize?

It should be obvious, first of all, that we cannot rely on human strength alone. Prayer is essential. We rely on God. Prayer takes so many forms, but is always a turning to God, a reaching beyond our limited resources to a strength that is unlimited. Prayer must pervade all we do.

Some may think, however, that all they need to do is pray. Martin Luther King noted that to think human action is sufficient is arrogance, but to think prayer alone is sufficient is superstition. Prayer alone is not enough; in fact, it can become an escape for those unwilling to step out and do more. Prayer leads to action. Prayer is not simply asking God to do something. Prayer is opening our soul wide enough for God to come in and do something through us! Prayer is union with God, a God who is vibrant and active. When we come in touch with Him, we touch the Fire. We burn with a restless energy that always seeks to do more.

So two essential ingredients, intimately linked, are prayer and action.

But that's not enough. There is a third element, harder than these, and Christ tells us what it is. "Do this in memory of Me," he commands. Do what? What He did was to give His Body and shed His blood. He suffered. Christ did not save the world primarily through His preaching or miracles, but through His cross. "We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, for by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world." We who strive to save the world from abortion must suffer with Christ. It has been said that the false god transforms suffering into violence, but the true God transforms violence into suffering. We are called to transform the violence of abortion by our own suffering. We are to be like lightning rods amidst an awful storm of destruction and death raging around us. We stand tall amid the storm and say to God, "Use me, O Lord, to transform this violence; I am willing to suffer for the sake of life." "Do this in memory of Me." Yes, Lord. This is my body, my blood, my life, offered to You for the sake of Your children, their mothers, their world.

Prayer, work, and suffering: the three essential ingredients. Nobody said it would be easy. But that's OK. It is enough to know it works.