Persevering with Patience


Fr. Frank Pavone


We in the pro-life movement have many reasons to hope, many reasons to persevere in our efforts with patience. Let me just mention three of them.

1. The pro-life cause is not simply a battle or a war. It is a vocation. A battle or war has a specific time frame, after which it is either "won" or "lost." There are aspects of that when it comes to the pro-life movement. Yet our involvement in this work is a vocation. Specifically, it is an aspect of the vocation to love one another.

Loving other people, such as the preborn or infirm, is not something we do based on whether we are winning or losing, or on what year it is. It is, rather, a dimension of our very existence from day to day. We are to be faithful to it no matter what, and our joy and fulfillment spring from that fidelity.

2. There are many signs of progress in our pro-life efforts. The pro-life movement, for example, never ceases to bring forth fresh ideas, approaches, and initiatives. Some may wonder about the multiplicity of groups, but it is actually a sign of the fruitfulness of the message of life. In every corner of society and in every profession, that message brings forth a response.

Recent surveys of the general public, of youth, of nurses, and of various other groups, show movement in the pro-life direction. People are increasingly uncomfortable with the ease with which abortions are obtained in this country. More and more people are willing to see more and more abortions restricted.

Aside from the polls, we see more and more men and women speaking up about the fact that abortion was a false promise, which hurt them rather than helped them. We also see greater numbers of people leaving the abortion industry and exposing its horrors. The Society of Centurions, consisting of former abortion providers, is one of the signs of this phenomenon.

I've always said that I believe in the dead-end rule, which is, "If you go down a dead end road and ignore the signs that say it's a dead end, you will soon learn by personal experience that it is a dead end!" We put up the signs that abortion is wrong. Many who once ignored those signs are now coming back and saying we were right…And they themselves become the signs for others. Our Lord said it this way, "If they were to keep silence, I tell you the very stones would cry out" (Lk.19:40). In other words, truth always outlasts those who hide or deny it.

3. We are commanded to hope. Hope is not simply something that is "nice to do." It is a command. "O Israel, hope in the Lord, both now and forever!" (Psalm 131:3). The fact that the Lord commands us to hope indicates that it is not a mood or feeling, because we cannot directly control those. Hope springs from an act of the will, cooperating with God's grace.

Some people insist that they are "realists." Of course, we need to be realistic, which means that we take full account of the truth. But we need to take account of the whole truth, and be realistic also about the power of God. He knows how to uproot evil. The knowledge of history fuels our hope. God knows how to change civilizations. He has brought His Church out of the devastation of barbarian invasions. He has toppled evil institutions like slavery and Communism.

And He has not changed.