Hearts Afire for Life
On Jan. 22 every year, the Catholic Church in the United States holds an annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. The date is, not coincidentally, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that first opened the door to legalized abortion in this country.
This year, as they do every year, a number of the Marian Fathers — priests, brothers, and seminarians — will join with hundreds of thousands of others at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Part of being a Marian, a Marian Helper, a Catholic, or someone who believes in inalienable human rights is being pro-life.
Is your heart on fire for the protection of human life? If not, why not?
Would you prefer a social justice emphasis? The life issues are at the root of all other social justice issues such as poverty relief, environmental protection, or equal dignity for all human persons, for if a person isn't safe from unjust killing in the womb of their mothers, no other right is safe.
Would you rather not be associated with the stereotypical pro-lifers described by the media? Read the stories of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic supervisor turned pro-life Catholic through the prayers and witness of Forty Days for Life; Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor; Norma McCorvey, the woman once called Jane Roe in that historic Supreme Court case, who is now a pro-life activist; and Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), a Catholic convert and creator of the video Silent Scream, showing an ultrasound of an abortion. They'll shatter those stereotypes into a million pieces. These are pro-lifers you can be proud to be associated with, and their stories show you that much of what passes in our culture for an honest conversation about reproductive rights isn't usually an honest conversation at all.
Would you prefer not to tell women what to do with their own bodies? A perfectly sound stance — but women are not free to do whatever they want with the bodies of their unborn children.
Would you rather someone else take on this fight? But God is calling us in this place and this time, through the private revelations received by St. Faustina Kowalska, through St. John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae, and through Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's explanation of the life issues in The 'One Thing' Is Three, among many other sources.
Look at the numbers. We live now during one of the greatest slaughters of innocent human beings in the history of humanity. What are we going to do about it?
Saint Faustina Kowalska was told by Jesus:
"I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor:
the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy" (Diary, 742).
"Many souls ... are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul.
If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy" (Diary, 1317).
In the cause of life, we have many, many opportunities for exercising mercy. Here are just a few of them:
• Pray for the doctors who perform abortions, the clinic staffers who facilitate them, and the women who go to get them. Pray for the family and friends who encourage the women to get abortions or who prevent them from having their child, as well as for the unborn children themselves. Pray for our legislators and tastemakers who prolong the present culture of death and dictatorship of relativism.
• Help women raise their children, especially single mothers and those who are facing a crisis pregnancy. Give material aid to those you know are in need, and support your local crisis pregnancy centers with your time, talent, and treasure.
• If you can, if you feel called, adopt.
• Educate yourself and those whom you love about the life issues. Read the stories of Abby Johnson, Gianna Jessen, Norma McCorvey, and Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Familiarize yourself with the pro-life answers to pro-choice arguments. Be prepared for the inevitable questions: How can you be against a woman's right to choose? How can you be "anti-choice" in the modern age? How can you be so medieval?
• Again, if you feel called, take part in the ministry of side-walk counseling and praying outside of abortion clinics. Be a loving witness to the right to life.
• Perform any and all of the works of mercy, laid out for you in 'You Did It to Me' A culture of mercy is a culture of life, forming a civilization of love.
Let us pray, fast, and give generously of our time, talents, and treasure to help usher in a culture of life and a civilization of love.