Filed under: Evangelium Vitae
Salvador Dali, Christ of Saint John of the Cross, c.1951
Lent starts in just five days; Ash Wednesday, February 6th. Here’s a great idea for you! Have you ever read the inspiring and prophetic Letter by John Paul II, THE GOSPEL OF LIFE (Evangelium Vitae)? If not, or if it was many years ago (it was issued on March 25, 1995) reading this amazing document could be your Lenten project!
It is not an easy read. That’s where the effort and self-discipline comes in. It’s about 155 pages in the Daughters of St Paul edition, divided into 105 sections. If you read 2 or 3 sections every day of Lent you will have read one of the great prophetic works of our time – written by a Saint? – and be all the better for it. Your intellectual effort and persistence will be pleasing to God without a doubt.
Here is a beautiful quote from the GOSPEL OF LIFE:
“In the early afternoon of Good Friday, “there was darkness over the whole land … while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (Lk 23:44, 45). This is the symbol of a great cosmic disturbance and a massive conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil, between life and death. Today we too find ourselves in the midst of a dramatic conflict between the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. But the glory of the Cross is not overcome by this darkness; rather, it shines forth ever more radiantly and brightly, and is revealed as the center, meaning and goal of all history and of every human life.” #50
IN A FEW DAYS WE WILL BE LETTING EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT OUR BRAND NEW “GOSPEL OF LIFE” PROJECT WHICH WE SHARED AT OUR MARCH FOR LIFE EXHIBIT IN WASHINGTON.
Filed under: Pro-life
Father Pavone has a talk he gives called Twelve Reasons the Pro-life Movement is winning. One of the twelve reasons he cites is:
‘More and more women who have had abortions are standing up and saying, “I regret my abortion!” (And the more abortions there are, the more women are standing up against what they have done.)’
At the March for Life, the presence of these women is felt. Each year at the March, the group Silent No More, speaks out in front of the Supreme Court. ‘Men and women who have lost children to abortion gather in front of the Supreme Court and publicly share their testimonies of pain and healing.’ About fifty-seven people got up this year and gave their testimonies. Silent No More is a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life.
Another group that had a booth at the March for Life convention was Operation Outcry. I happened to have been assigned a seat at their table at the Rose Dinner so I was able to speak to these wonderful people. I was seated next to Lisa Dudley who is the Director of Outreach and Rebecca Porter the Florida State Leader for this group. Operation Outcry is a project of the Justice Foundation.
The Justice Foundation represents Norma McCorvey, who was “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, and Sandra Cano, who was “Mary Doe” in Doe v. Bolton, in their legal efforts to reverse their 1973 Supreme Court rulings that made abortion on demand legal in America.
After reading testimonies of women who regret their abortions, the Supreme Court acknowledged that women have been hurt by abortion but ‘stated it had “no reliable data to measure” the extent of the problem.’ The Justice Foundation decided that an effective way to show the Court the magnitude of the problem was to collect a much larger number of testimonies.’ They are now trying to collect a million testimonies of women who have been hurt by abortion to present to the Court.
Besides reaching out to assist women who have had abortions Operation Outcry is working to help The Justice Foundation collect these testimonies to present to the Supreme Court. Please visit their website to learn more.
One final note – the Silent No More website has a page with resources to help women who have had abortions.
Last Thursday, January 24 was the feast day of St. Francis de Sales.
While at the March for Life I attended the Rose Dinner. At this dinner, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America Most Blessed Herman prayed a beautiful prayer in which he detailed the many times in the Old and New Testament that Biblical figures were called by God or mentioned in the Bible while still in their mother’s womb. (I am trying to get a copy of this beautiful prayer.) This reminded me of a quote from St. Francis.
“God also appointed other favors for a small number of rare creatures who he would preserve from the peril of damnation, as is certain of S. John Baptist and very probable of Jeremias and some others, whom the Divine providence seized upon in their mother’s womb, and thereupon established them in the perpetuity of his grace, that they might remain firm in his love, though subject to checks and venial sins, which are contrary to the perfection of love though not to love itself…” Treatise on the Love of God : St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622)
Here are the prophets that St. Francis was referring to:
“And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength)” (Isaiah 49:5)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
John the Baptist
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)
Two other great men who were called from their mother’s womb but probably don’t quite fit St. Francis’ description:
“Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.’ But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'” (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)
“But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased…” (Galatians 1:15)
Jacob and Esau are also mentioned as wrestling in their mother’s womb
“Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, ‘If this is to be so, what good will it do me!’
She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’
When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.” Genesis 25: 22-24
And of course Blessed Herman highlighted the most important unborn person mentioned in the Bible – Preborn Jesus.
Filed under: Pro-life
I got back from the March for Life late last night. It was a great experience to be in Washington D.C. with so many wonderful pro-life people.
One thing that really impressed me were all of the different groups that are fighting abortion and how many of these groups are fighting for the unborn in creative and new ways. I will be highlighting some of these organizations in the next week or so.
The March for Life is probably one of the largest protest events to take place annually yet the news media largely ignores it. I asked Nellie Gray if she knew how many people were at the March – she told me that they were trying to estimate the numbers and would put it on their website in a few days. She told me that the police no longer give an estimate because a few years ago a liberal group who had a rally on the Mall was disgruntled by the low estimate that the Police had given and really made a lot of trouble for the Police department.The result is that the Washington D.C. Police no longer give estimates for any march in Washington.
Here are some statistics from past years:
|The Marchers Keep Marching|
|The First March 1974||20,000|
|Marches 1977-1998||Up to 100,000|
|The 25th March 1998||225,000|
|Marches 2003 – 2006||200,000|
Nellie Gray also told me that her organization no longer prepares press releases after the March because the press never has given the March any coverage. In the past they sent out press packets and found it very frustrating when they were ignored.
People bus and fly into the March from locations all over the country. I met people who had been traveling by bus for 12, 15 and even 25 hours to get to the March. What an inspiration!
While us old folks just marched – the young people in the crowd added the real energy. As I walked in the march – it was the enthusiasm of these young marchers that made me smile with their chants and songs.
As a Catholic I was really impressed with the young priests, seminarians and sisters that were sprinkled throughout the crowd. Also at the beginning of the March – they read off the names of the Bishops and Cardinals that were marching – I got the impression that there were at least 15 or 20 there. I’m going to try and get a list so I can post it in the future.
At the beginning of the March there are wonderful speakers of all denominations. The March is truly an ecumenical event. President Bush addressed the crowd – I believe – from the White House. Quite a few members of Congress and the Senate got up and spoke. One Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul spoke to the crowd and Senator Sam Brownback read a message of support for the March from Presidential Candidate John McCain. We had a bit of a scare when Nellie Gray fell and had to be taken to the Emergency Room but she has recovered and is back to work doing post March wrap up.
The march then followed a route which started at the Ellipse of the National Mall and continued down Constitution Avenue. The march formally ends at the Supreme Court building. It was a truly wonderful event that I felt was a privilege to attend.
Here is a picture of what you find at the Supreme Court (which is barricaded so no one can go up the steps). A little startling – isn’t it?
Filed under: Pro-life
Theme for March for Life January 22, 2008:
“Build Unity on the Life Principles throughout America.
No Exception! No Compromise!“
The March for Life, in Washington, D.C., is on January 22. This is the 35th year for this March. In a previous blog, I mentioned that I attended the March for Life in 1980. Well, Unborn Word Alliance will be having a booth at the March for Life Convention (Sunday-Tuesday, January 20-22) this year so I will be there. I’m pretty excited about being able to attend the March this year. The Convention and Rose Dinner are held at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill.
I won’t be posting for a number of days because I am leaving for the Convention and the March today. If any of you who receive the newsletter or read the blog are attending – please drop by the booth – I would love to meet you.
I wanted to also mention that while the March for Life is the big event on January 22 there are many other pro-life activities besides the March and March for Life Convention happening in Washington during the days surrounding the sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Here is a list of many of the different pro-life conventions and activities:
In his book, Treatise on the Love of God Creator, St. Francis de Sales tells of a vision that St. Bernard of Clairvaux had as a young boy.
“The most sweet St. Bernard, as yet a little boy at Chastillon-sur-Seine, was waiting in Church on Christmas night for the divine office to begin, and while waiting the poor child fell into a light slumber, during which he saw in spirit, yet in a vision very distinct and clear, how the Son of God, having espoused human nature, and becoming a little child in His Mother’s most pure womb, was with a humble sweetness mingled with a celestial majesty, virginally born of her:-As a bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber: a vision, which so replenished the loving heart of the little Bernard with gladness, jubilation and spiritual delights, that he had all his life an extreme sense of it, and therefore, though afterwards as a sacred bee he ever culled out of all the divine mysteries the honey of a thousand sweet and heavenly consolations, yet had he a more particular sweetness in the solemnity of the Nativity, and spoke with a singular relish of this birth of his Master.”
Treatise on the Love of God Creator: St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622)
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, Inspirational Pro-life leaders, Medical/Bioethical Issues
Pharaoh’s Daughter Finds Baby Moses. Nicolas Poussin 1638
“In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. “They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live” (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: ‘the midwives feared God’. ” #73 Evangelium Vitae
Pro-life professionals are increasingly being put in positions similar to these Hebrew midwives. Many are taking courageous and principled stands for life.
In the past year one doctor in England was censured for persuading women not to have abortions. There is a chance that Dr. Tammie Downes may be forced out of her profession because she saved the lives of these children.
Doctor’s are not only fighting abortion but they are also having to resist groups that are trying to force them to refer women to have abortions.
In an article on the Physicians for Life website we see that this is an ongoing fight.
Many courageous pharmacists are also resisting and working to ensure their right of conscience when it comes to dispensing the Morning After Pill and birth control.
Catholic Hospitals are increasingly being forced to administer Plan B – one Bishop in Colorado has taken a courageous stand against this:
These courageous pro-life professionals are continuing the tradition of the midwives in the Old Testament – they are resisting the pressure of those in authority because they fear God and love the life that He has created.