UNBORN WORD of the day


Join Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer for life
October 31, 2007, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI, Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians

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General view of the open-air mass conducted by Pope Benedict XVI in the vast explanade of the National Sanctuary of Aparecida, in Aparecida do Norte, Brazil.

Popes have been using the Apostleship of Prayer as a dedicated prayer group for about 120 years. . Each month this group encourages us to pray for the monthly intentions of the Holy Father

Pope Benedict’s intention for November, 2007 is Respect for Life. That medical researchers and legislators may have a deep respect for human life from its beginning to its natural conclusion.

Each month the Apostleship of Prayer offers a monthly reflection on the the Holy Fathers intentions:

Something that many parents will appreciate is that they offer a reflection for children each month too.

The Apostleship of Prayer also encourages the morning offering. Their motto is a simple profound way of life. Father Raoul Plus, S. J. in his book Christ in Our Time explains:

“As all activity is offered to God in the morning, with occasional renewals during the day, all work is undertaken solely for the Glory of the Master, and rises to Heaven like a prayer…To pray always-that is what it means. That is not to say that the soul should always be in the act of prayer, but rather that it should live in a state of elevation. It is to live always with the implicit desire strongly formed in the soul to render to God, in every passing moment the glory which is His due.”



A Pro-life Christmas
October 30, 2007, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Advent, The Incarnation

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When most people start taking down their Halloween decorations, stores around Los Angeles put up garland and wreaths.

One of my pet peeves is the fact that commercially the Christmas season now starts right after Halloween. When I was young businesses did not promote Christmas until after Thanksgiving. But we are living more and more in a consumer society – you guessed it Christmas = money.

Why don’t we try to beat them at their own game? Let’s make this a real Christmas season and start preparing spiritually now. Today Dan and Mike Engler sent us a link to a really great video on You-tube. It combines Christmas with the pro-life message. Click here:

O Holy Night-A Pro-life Christmas

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Jeremiah 31:22 “The LORD has created a new thing upon the earth…”
October 30, 2007, 12:11 am
Filed under: Fathers of the Church, Unborn Jesus

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This weekend we attended the Holy Family Festival in Ojai. They had a wonderful speaker from Catholic Answers, Tim Staples, who gave two talks on “The Immaculate Conception and the Dignity of Man”. Tim Staples is a fabulous speaker and I would recommend him highly for both adults and teenagers.

At the end of the day, we were fortunate enough to get to speak with Tim and his lovely wife, Valerie. Tim brought up an interesting scripture about Mary and referenced St. Jerome’s interpretation of it. We were surprised because we weren’t aware of this passage about Mary’s pregnancy and the Unborn Christ Child.

“The LORD has created a new thing upon the earth: the woman must encompass the man with devotion.” Jeremiah 31:22

St. Jerome in his commentary on this verse understood it of Mary’s virginal conception of Christ. “The LORD has created a new thing on earth; without seed of man, without carnal union and conception, ‘a woman will encompass a man’ within her womb – One who, though He will later appear to advance in wisdom and age through the stages of infancy and childhood, yet, while confined for the usual number of months in his mother’s womb, will already be perfect man.” USCCB New American Bible Footnote 3 Point C



Caryll Houselander on the power of the Infancy of Christ
October 29, 2007, 8:01 am
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help *

Caryll Houselander was born on October 29, 1901. Caryll was one of the most popular spiritual writers of her day. She is certainly still one of my favorites. Many of her books are still in print. Maisie Ward (Frank Sheed’s wife) wrote a wonderful biography about her “Caryll Houselander – The Divine Eccentric” which was published in 1962.

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While in college (many eons ago) a friend of mine and I were reading this biography at the same time – I still remember a funny comment that she made to me at the time – ‘Hey, this is actually, the first person I’ve read about who might be a saint who drank a Martini.’ I think Maisie Ward had a story in the book about inviting Caryll over for dinner and giving her a before dinner drink. I don’t have the book so I can’t check on why my friend made this comment but it made me laugh at the time and has always stuck with me.

On the occasion of her death, Ronald Knox said of Caryll Houselander that she could have established a school of spirituality. In a letter to The Tablet on 23 October 1954, he wrote:

“…she seemed to see everybody for the first time, and the driest of doctrinal considerations shone out like a restored picture when she had finished with it. And her writing was always natural; she seemed to find no difficulty in getting the right word; no, not merely the right word, the telling word, that left you gasping.”

Of course I’m going to end this with a quote from Caryll Houselander about the Unborn Christ Child from her book, The Passion of the Infant Christ.

“There is in fact, a huge force, a tremendous power for love being neglected, not being used, at the time when it is needed as never before and when every sign seems to be pointing to it and challenging it as the only answer-the power of the Infancy of Christ.

The Infant Christ is the whole Christ. Christ was not more God, more Christ, more man, on the Cross than He was in His Mother’s womb. His first tear, His first smile, His first pulsation in the womb of His Mother, could have redeemed the world.”

*An icon venerated by Christians of the East and West for centuries. The Archangels Gabriel and Michael hold the instruments of the Lord’s Passion, while the Divine Child looks on and clings to His Mother’s hand. Also known as “Our Mother of Sorrows.” 

As God, He knew that the angelic apparition was prophetic of His future passion.  Yet in His human nature as a small child, He is frightened and runs to His Mother for protection.  Our Lady hastily picks Him up and clasps Him to her bosom.  This action is indicated by the fact that the Lord’s right foot is nervously curled about the left ankle and in such haste that His right sandal has become loosened and hangs by a single strap.  Further action is indicated by the way the Child Jesus clasps His Mother’s right hand with both of His, holding tightly to Our Lady’s thumb.




The First condition of rest is trust
October 27, 2007, 1:30 am
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation

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Caryll Houselander’s (1901-1954) birthday is October 29. Here is a beautiful quote from her book The Passion of the Infant Christ.

“Rest is not idleness; indeed, restlessness is the torment of idle people….

Rest, far from being relaxation, is a culmination, a fullness of gathered peace, like the fullness and stillness of waters gathered to a flood tide.

Think of a child asleep in his mother’s arms; the abandon with which he gives himself to sleep can only be because he has complete trust in the arms that hold him. He is not lying asleep on that heart because he is worn out with anxiety. He is asleep there because it is a delight to him to be asleep there. The mother rests too. She rests in his rest. Her mind and her body rest in him. … Rest is a communion of love between them. It is a culmination of content.

…Not content to be a human being, Christ wishes to be each human being, and in fact is born in the soul of everyone who will receive Him; and in each one in whom He lives, whose life He lives, He is loved infinitely by the Father, loved for what He is, the only Son.

…If this were realized there could be no one who could not fulfill the first condition of rest, which is trust.”



the image of God’s glory
October 25, 2007, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

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Here is a beautiful quote from John Paul II’s encyclical, The Gospel of Life:

“In every child which is born and in every person who lives or dies we see the image of God’s glory. We celebrate this glory in every human being, a sign of the living God, an icon of Jesus Christ.” #84

One of my favorite quotes from St. Francis de Sales
(1567-1622) elaborates:

“…if someone intends to build a house or a palace he must first consider whether it is to be a lodging for a vine dresser or a peasant or if it is for a lord, since obviously he would use entirely different plans depending on the rank of the person who is to live there. Now the Eternal Father did just that when he built this world. He intended to create it for the Incarnation of His Son, the Eternal Word. The end or goal of His work was thus its beginning, for Divine Wisdom had foreseen from all eternity that His Word would assume our nature in coming to earth.” The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Advent and Christmas



Morning Offering mirrors Christ’s Offering as He came into the world
October 23, 2007, 8:57 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation

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There is a wonderful tradition in Christendom of beginning each day by offering oneself and one’s day to God. It has been called by some ‘morning devotions’ or more frequently in Catholicism a ‘morning offering’. One of the traditional morning offering prayers is that promoted by the Apostleship of Prayer.

The morning offering is a great way to start each day. I know when I make this offering as I begin my day I am often mindful of the offering Christ made to His Father, from Mary’s womb, as He entered the world:

“Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired;
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.”
(Hebrews 10:5-7)

Pope Paul VI called this “…the fundamental offering that the Incarnate Word made to the Father when He entered the world (cf. Heb. 10:5-7).” Marialis Cultus, #20

St. Alphonsus De Ligouri, a Doctor of the Church, made the following comment about this quote from Heb. 10:5-7:

The divine Word, from the first instant that he was made man and an infant in Mary’s womb, offered himself of his own accord…” (The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ)

John Paul II, reflecting on these words in Hebrews states: “He places himself as a gift within the womb of Mary.” (The Word Made Flesh). Later, in the same book he says: “All Christians are in fact called to share in Christ’s priesthood and mirror his total gift of self to the Father and be a spiritual sacrifice…”

One way we can mirror this total gift of self that Christ made as He first came into the world is to offer ourselves to the Lord as we start each day.



Schools around the world are severing ties with Amnesty
October 22, 2007, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Pro-life

Yesterday we had a post about the Launching of the Benenson Society – For more information here is a link to Catholic News.com about the Benenson Society: Schools set up Amnesty pro-life alternative

The good news is that Catholic schools around the world are opting out of Amnesty because of their new pro-abortion policy. Here are a few stories:

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Click here for Lifesite News Story

From Scotland:

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Click Here for Link to Scottish Catholic Observer News Page

Here is another story from Lifesite News

Irish Diocese Advises Catholic School to Suspend Amnesty Chapter

The BBC Reports:

Schools ‘cut links with Amnesty’ (from Ireland)

I find all of this very encouraging although I have not been able to find any information on schools in the U.S. or England. And it seems that the Canadian Bishops are delaying their decision about Amnesty until November. I know because of a pro-life administration my daughter’s school in California has cut ties with Amnesty. It is my hope that many other schools are quietly severing their ties with Amnesty.



Benenson Society Launched
October 21, 2007, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders, Pro-life

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White Rose*

On September 3, we had a post School Severs Ties with Amnesty and Starts a New Group Called Benenson Society.

Last week one of our readers in a comment asked:

Todays word of the day put me in mind of why I no longer support Amnesty International. Has anyone heard anything further on the Benenson Society?

Well I am happy to say that Fr Chris Middleton, S.J. has sent an email out announcing the official launching of the Benenson Society.

Benenson Society Information Page (St. Aloysius’ College)

On this page you will find:

  • Charter of the Benenson Society
  • Withdrawal from Amnesty and Establishment of the Benenson Society
  • Register as an individual or Chapter
  • Comments and Feedback

Father Chris explains in his email:
“We are now inviting groups and individuals to affiliate, especially existing Amnesty groups in schools or universities. The aim would be to allow groups to continue to do much as they are already doing and keep their autonomy while allowing the sharing of resources through an email group list and arrangements with human rights organizations…

As of Friday schools or individuals were able to go on the St Aloysius website and register membership. Initially Aloysius and Loreto here in Sydney will sponsor the Society, but hopefully once it is up and running it might be rotated around schools. Already schools in Brisbane and Perth and individuals in England have registered.”

*The Benenson Society has as its symbol a stylized white rose. This symbol draws inspiration from the White Rose Society, a group of Catholic and Protestant students and teachers at Munich University, who opposed Nazism with letters and pamphlets, with nine paying the ultimate price of being guillotined for their stand for human rights.


 



Church Teaching Regarding the Unborn Christ Child
October 19, 2007, 10:23 pm
Filed under: The Incarnation

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“The conception and birth of Jesus Christ are in fact the greatest work accomplished by the Holy Spirit in the history of creation and salvation…”Pope John Paul II , The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World (#50)

“John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.” Catechism of the Catholic Church (717)

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In the Visitation episode, St Luke shows how the grace of the Incarnation, after filling Mary, brings salvation and joy to Elizabeth’s house. The Saviour of men, carried in his Mother’s womb, pours out the Holy Spirit, revealing himself from the very start of his coming into the world…. St Luke also seems to invite us to see Mary as the first “evangelist”, who spreads the “good news”, initiating the missionary journeys of her divine Son. Pope John Paul II, General Audience, , October 2, 1996

In assuming human nature he has united to himself all humanity in a supernatural solidarity which makes of it one single family. Vatican II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (#8)



The Infant in My Womb Leaped for Joy -The theme of the 2007 Respect Life Program
October 18, 2007, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians

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October is Respect Life Month in the U.S. Catholic Church. Each year the bishops choose a different theme for this special month. Cardinal Justin Rigali – Chairman, USCCB Committee for Pro-Life – explains this year’s theme in his Statement for Respect Life Sunday, 2007.

“The theme of the 2007 Respect Life Program – The Infant in My Womb Leaped for Joy – calls to mind an extraordinary scene in Luke’s Gospel (1:39-56). Mary, newly pregnant with the Lord Jesus, is visiting her elderly cousin Elizabeth whose son, John, will soon be born. The moment Mary’s greeting reaches Elizabeth’s ears and John’s, the tiny prophet announces to his mother the Messiah’s arrival, as if his entire being were exclaiming: Behold! The Lamb of God! There was no confusion as to what and who were nestled under their mothers’ hearts. Yet 2,000 years later, many well-educated people do not know – or claim they do not know – the truth about human life before birth.”

In their 2007-2008 Respect Life Program Flyer they explain further:

“Elizabeth, too, is filled with the Holy Spirit, and recognizes Mary as the blessed tabernacle of our Lord and Savior. Through the evangelical witness and sacrificial love of Mary, Jesus and John, the work of our salvation has begun.”

For more information about this program:

2007-2008 Respect Life Program

 



A TRIBUTE TO ST. LUKE FOR HIS INFANCY NARRATIVES
October 16, 2007, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Saints, The Incarnation

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Michele Tosini (1503-77) St. Luke

October 18 is the feast day of St. Luke.

In chapters One and Two of the Gospel of St. Luke we have 127 verses of narrative concerning the infancy and childhood of Jesus Christ and mysteries surrounding His infancy (Lk 1:5 – 2:52). These verses are unique to Luke and outline the earliest vignettes known about the childhood of Jesus Christ. The verses restricted to the infancy period are slightly less: 114 verses (Lk 1:5 – Lk 2:39).

The extraordinary account of the Annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, for example, is presented only in Luke and no where else. Likewise, the remarkable Visitation event (and Magnificat “song”) and Bethlehem birth saga are Lukan treasures only. Which might lead us to wonder how would Christianity be different if there was no Luke? Would we celebrate Christmas? (Matthew also provides 47 verses of invaluable introductory information as well concerning Mary, Joseph and Jesus, before and after the birth. Mt 1:18 – 2:23)

We are indebted to Luke in a thousand ways, but especially for the first two chapters of his Gospel which are in a way a “prologue”, comparable to the famous “Prologue” to the Gospel of John (Jn 1:1-18): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” But while the Prologue of John is about Mysteries and realities concerning the Word Incarnate, this “prologue” of Luke’s is focused on biological and historical events which reveal the Child Incarnate. While John is mystical, Luke is highly personal yet supernatural. All of this is to say that, the Incarnation Mystery of faith is so wondrous, that we need both Luke and John to unfold for us its beauty and reality. We can listen to John’s Prologue and see it with the eyes of the heart, but Luke’s we visualize all in fabulous images.

But it is only Luke who reveals to us the babyhood of Jesus and the attendant mysteries thereto. Luke is one of the Church’s great “Pro – Life” saints! There is no way around it. He alone tells of the conception of Jesus Christ, paints for us the tender mother who opens up her heart and soul to God’s plan and Spirit, then recounts the mysterious encounter between pregnant mothers and unborn children and finally recounts in all its poverty and glory the birth of humankind’s Savior in a manger.

St. Luke we thank you for the little details you carefully recorded about our Savior’s first nine months in the womb and then in the manger. You, St. Luke, have brought more tears of joy to human eyes than any other author in human history. You have revealed to us the mother of the baby Jesus and have transported us in our thoughts to kneel beside the beasts and shepherds, beneath the angels’ meditative gaze. It was first your descriptive words which gave rise to those Christmas hymns we sing now that cause our hearts to bow down in adoration again.

St. Luke, when we see you in heaven, we will get in that very long reception line of pro-life Christians who want to shake your hand, the hand which wrote down the sacred events of our Savior’s babyhood, events which gave us hope for all our earthly days.

George A. Peate, Unborn Word Alliance

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El Greco (1541-1614) St. Luke (detail)

 




Why honor the Unborn Christ Child?
October 15, 2007, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Papal Quotes, Sacred Heart, Unborn Jesus

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Today, October 16 is the feast day of St. Margaret Mary who was the Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (Mt 11:28-30)

Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical on Reparation To the Sacred Heart, (#2) explained how this devotion helped end the heresy of that time, Jansenism.

“As formerly Divine Goodness wished to exhibit to the human race, as it came from the Ark of Noe, a sign of the renewed covenant between them . . . so in our own troubled times, while that heresy held sway which is known as Jansenism, the most insidious of all heresies, enemy of the love of God and of filial affection for Him – for this heresy preached that God was not so much to be loved by us as a Father as to be feared as an unrelenting Judge – the most kind Jesus manifested to the nations His Sacred Heart .”

Today we need God’s love and help in fighting the most insidious heresy of our time – abortion. That is why Unborn Word of the day is dedicated to honoring the Unborn Christ Child. By honoring the 9 months Christ spent in Mary’s womb we want to show God’s love for and solidarity with each unborn child.

Because He completely identifies with all unborn children, indeed is one of them, when we lift up and exalt Unborn Jesus, in a real sense we lift up all unborn children with Him. Him we honor as God, they we honor as children created in His image and likeness, and for His glory.

We believe that just as the devotion to the Sacred Heard helped end the heresy of Jansensim – devotion to the Unborn Christ Child can help end abortion.



St. Teresa of Avila and the Christ Child
October 14, 2007, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Saints

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I have carved you in the palm of my hand (Isaiah 49:16)

Today, October 15 is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. In their book, Miracles of the Christ Child, Bob and Penny Lord recount this story of the Christ Child and St. Teresa of Avila:

“Teresa had such a great love of the Child Jesus that one day, as she was preparing to ascend stairs leading to the upper rooms of the convent she met a beautiful child. He asked her “Who are you?” She replied, “I am Teresa of Jesus, and who are you?” To which the child responded, “I am Jesus of Teresa.”

They say that encounter with the Lord, as a child, affected her so deeply, after that, when Saint Teresa set out to found a new house (she founded eighteen in all) she always brought a statue of the Child Jesus with her.”



New Signs of Hope!
October 11, 2007, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

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Here is a quote from John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae:

“I look with renewed confidence to every household and I pray that at every level a general commitment to support the family will reappear and be strengthened, so that today too – even amid so many difficulties and serious threats – the family will always remain, in accordance with God’s plan, the “sanctuary of life”.

To all the members of the Church, the people of life and for life, I make this most urgent appeal, that together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.” Point #6

Here are links put together by Michael Roderick at Kanawha County Right to Life to some of the groups working to offer new signs of hope.

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“The Son of God is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh!”
October 10, 2007, 9:38 pm
Filed under: The Incarnation

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Today October 11 is the feast day of the Maternity of Our Lady:

Unimaginable beforehand, incomprehensible afterward: the Incarnation is a glorious crowning to all of human history.

In a reversal of the creation of Eve from Adam’s side, here Mary could say on behalf of all humanity: “The Son of God is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh!” (Catechism Of The Council Of Trent For Parish Priests, (1934),  pg.48)

By divine intervention Mary’s maternity marks the beginning of the new creation in Christ (II Cor.5:17, Rev.21:5)



MOBILIZING FOR A CULTURE OF LIFE – YOUR IMPORTANT ROLE
October 9, 2007, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

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40 Days for Life campaign

Fr. Frank Pavone calls The Gospel of Life – written by John Paul II – the Magna Carta of the Pro – Life Movement. I think he’s right. The text is broken down into 105 sections. As he winds down towards the end of the document, John Paul II has some very inspirational words of challenge for all of us. Following are some examples and comments.

“In this mobilization for a new culture of life no one must feel excluded; everyone has an important role to play.” # 98

Thankfully, many people have stepped forward to become actively involved in promoting respect for human life and offering services to pregnant women with various needs. The numerous ministries and organizations formed throughout the world are a constant cause for encouragement and hope.

But John Paul is also speaking here to those people who are less mobile or caught up in exceptional constraints of time and scheduling, people who don’t have easy means of transportation or are limited in their activities. They too need to mobilize “for a new culture of life”, for as he says, “no one must feel excluded”!

This is where prayer comes in. An individual can mobilize his or her prayer life to support those pro – life activities that are underway in his/her own community and country.

“…a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.” # 100

One person can mobilize him or herself to a prayer commitment for the unborn and others whose right to life is at risk or whose human dignity is being questioned. John Paul’s perspective is on a grand scale, beginning within “the heart of every believer”, a swelling tsunami of peaceful prayer “which will rise up throughout the world”.

See Catholic Fire for:

Pope John Paul II’s Prayer for Life