Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Priests for Life is happy to announce the establishment of
Deacons in the Service of Life. As history has shown, the Church in every
age provides the witness and service that the demands of the times require. Our
times require above all else a charism in the Church directed to the defense of
human life and the promotion of the family. Priests for Life and Seminarians for
Life have been shaped by that charism. Now Deacons in the Service of Life joins
in this marvelous witness.
Our Lord came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for the many. His
"service" was not something separate from the giving of His life. Actually, His
service was His giving. St. John, in fact, identifies Jesus' self-giving
as the reality that reveals to us the meaning of love: "This is how we know what
love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us" (1Jn.3:16). This kind of love
reverses the abortion culture. Abortion lays down the life of the other person.
Love lays down one's own life, that the other person may live.
Diaconate is service. The service of the deacon is his giving, but a giving
which has a special shape in our day. He is to give his time, energy, and spoken
word on behalf of the most defenseless members of the human family, those still
in the womb. The effort and sacrifice he makes on their behalf is itself a
witness that raises the value of the lives of these children in the eyes of the
world. It also expresses the Church's preferential option for the poor. The word
"poor" does not simply refer to those who lack sufficient material resources. It
means those whose human dignity is not recognized by others. The children in the
womb have been declared to be outside the realm of personhood. They are the
poorest of the poor.
Service is not service unless it serves where the need is greatest. Love is
not love unless it gives without counting the cost.
The Church needs deacons for many reasons. A world immersed in the culture of
death needs them for even more reasons. The Church goes forward to confront the
culture of death in the strength of the promise that "the gates of hell will not
prevail." A gate does not run into the battlefield to attack the enemy. Instead,
the gate stands still to defend the city against the enemy attacking it. When
our Lord promises that the gates of hell will not prevail, He means that the
Church is taking the initiative to storm the gates, and that those gates will
fall when the Church advances!
Deacons in the Service of Life, joining with Priests for Life and Seminarians
for Life, makes for a formula which the culture of death cannot and will not
withstand. Let us go forward with confidence, with the joy of the Gospel of
Life, and with deep gratitude that the Lord has called us at this time to serve,
to give our lives as a ransom for many.
Reflection by Associate Director,
Deacon Keith A. Fournier