Reflections on the March, Rally and Mass for Life


Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl

  Catholic Standard - Washington, DC

For years, the Archdiocese of Washington has sponsored the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life. Each time we do this, we sense all over again both the urgency of the rally, the commitment of our young people and the power of the Eucharist. The Mass and Rally that precede the annual March for Life are always a sign of hope for the future and a witness to the vitality of the Church, especially her young members. This year's events will again confirm that optimism. Tens of thousands of young men and women from all over the nation will come together at the Verizon Center and - because the demand is so great - churches throughout the region to proclaim and support the Gospel of Life.

But they do much more. The pro-life youth, together with their bishops and priests, and joined by so many deacons and religious, renew our conviction that with God's grace and our good works, we can change this world.

As believers, our hope for a better world is rooted in our faith that God will help us make this happen. Hence, our perennial optimism is the source of our social activism and involvement. We pray that with God's grace, our work can help to bring about that world of peace, justice, understanding, wisdom, kindness, respect and love that we call the Kingdom of God.

Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said, "Peace I give you, my peace I leave with you" (John 14:27). Maybe that is why so many of this age and generation seek an interior peace, a peace that the world cannot give.

At the very beginning, God sent forth the Spirit who made life possible. This life includes a dimension that we call the soul. There is that part of us that cannot be reduced to flesh and blood. Each of us recognizes that there is more to being human than we can touch, hear, smell or taste. The realm of the spirit is as much an aspect of human life, aspiration, hope and satisfaction as are the body and physical needs.

We not only pray for the renewal promised by Christ, we actually help to bring it about. We are not idle bystanders watching the mystery of the Kingdom of God unfold around us. We share in the mystery of how the kingdom comes to be. That is why the Church never hesitates to call on the Lord to return, to send forth the Spirit, to renew the face of the earth and to make the kingdom come.

Every time we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we proclaim that we pledge ourselves again to live out the mystery of love of God and love of neighbor in our actions. We renew our own commitment to be better so that we can do better, to love more so that we can love all, to respond to the urging of the Spirit within us so that we can touch those around us with the healing, saving love that is Christ.

More Americans than ever before are pro-life. Many believe that abortion should not be legal in any circumstance. Almost three quarters of all Americans believe that killing the unborn child merely to give a woman a choice is wrong. What is particularly encouraging is that more and more, often young people, are speaking out for life without hesitation or apology. A national survey of college freshmen found that the generous love praised in the Gospel remains attractive, volunteerism is up, casual sex is down and the acceptance of legalized abortion is at its lowest point since the late 1970s. This renewal in faith and values, in part, we see reflected in the Rally and Mass for Life.

The vision of God's kingdom coming to be through the power of his Spirit at work in all of us is made visible and tangible at the Verizon Center during the Rally and the Mass for Life. While the scourge of abortion is still a part of our land, the faith, love and witness of so many young people is a reminder that in the end, truth, goodness, life and love will win out.