Celebrant: When we cry for help, the Lord assures us that he is here. Let us therefore pray to him with confidence.
That the Church may continue to be the light of the world, bringing truth and salvation to all the nations, we pray to the Lord...
That our Holy Father may enjoy continued health and strength to lead the Church on earth, we pray to the Lord...
That God, who calls us to remove all oppression, will enable our nation to restore equal protection to the lives of children still in their mother's womb, we pray to the Lord...
For an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life, we pray to the Lord...
For those who serve in the military, that they be surrounded with the grace and protection of the Lord, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have died may be purified of sin and share eternal joy, we pray to the Lord...
As you answer our prayers,
Keep our minds and hearts centered on Your Son,
Who was crucified to save us,
And who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Child psychiatrist Philip Ney relates, "A woman reported telling her nine year old son about her abortion, which had taken place years before he was born. He said, 'I knew, Mom, that there was something wrong. I always have nightmares about knives and my mother killing me. I have an imaginary brother who wants to kill me. If you had not aborted the other, would you have aborted me?'" (Abortion Survivors, p.36).
This is a story repeated more times than most people realize, and representing a societal and pastoral problem whose proportions are greater today than at any previous time in history: the phenomenon of tens of millions of abortion survivors.
It is clear that abortion's primary victim is the child who is killed. It has also become increasingly clear that to kill the child is to harm the mother and father as well. What is not always so well known, however, is that abortion makes its impact felt on those who have had a sibling aborted, and that this impact is felt in surprising and astonishing ways, which also have wider implications for the whole of society.
1 Cor 2:1-5
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The readings today focus on how the children of the King are to show to the world who their Father is by acting like him. This, in fact, is the best way to accomplish the “New Evangelization,” the re-announcement of the Gospel in places where, though it was once accepted, it has been eclipsed by secularism. When that happens, as Pope Benedict has said, we lose a proper understanding of the meaning of the most basic human experiences, like birth and death.
That is why it is so hard for some to perceive that abortion is always wrong. We can convince them through many arguments. But even more powerful, as Paul declares in the second reading, is “the convincing power of the Spirit.” That power convinces people when they see the Spirit’s effects in our own lives. We become the light of the world, as Jesus indicated. Regarding the pro-life issues, we are called to let people see that in our own lives, we not only choose life, but we sacrifice our own convenience, plans, and resources that others may live. Not only do we – as individuals and as a community – accept the gift of new life when God gives it, but we eradicate injustice from our midst.
Isaiah speaks about sheltering the oppressed and providing for the afflicted. Children in the womb are more oppressed in our day than any other segment of the population. The prophet’s words, applied in our day, call us to pro-life action. Isaiah also points out that this must begin with our own flesh and blood. “Do not turn your back on your own.” These are powerful words for our culture: parents, do not turn your back on the child you have conceived! Grandparents, do not turn your back on your daughter’s unborn child. Speak up for that life, and intervene to help both your daughter and her child! Some mistakenly think that the fact that the child in the womb is “their own” is precisely what gives them the “right to choose” to kill the child by abortion. But Isaiah’s words declare the opposite: when one is your own flesh and blood, your obligations to that person increase, and you are all the more obliged to do them good.
Only when God’s people are actively and generously living as the “People of Life” can the words of today’s readings be fulfilled.