Friday, January 22 ~ Second Week in Ordinary Time
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Holy Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12a When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Meditation: As Christ’s disciples, we are called by faith to adhere to the moral code – to do good and avoid evil. This can become challenging at times when people and advocacy groups “spin” the truth in order to promote and gain acceptance for their cause. In our world there are many who have watered down the fact that abortion is an evil act; abortion is a mortal sin; abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. There are those who place laws created by humans above the laws of God, not recognizing that laws of human creation are not designed to lead us to eternal life – but adherence to God’s laws and the teachings of Christ and his Church are the path to eternal life. Thus we must constantly be on guard to do what is right and good and true according to God’s way, Christ’s way – not the way of the world. As Saint John Chrysostom once noted: “ ‘I am a victim of violence in my nature,’ you say. ‘I love Christ, yet my nature compels me to sin.’ If you were in fact compelled to sin, if you were the victim of violence, then you would be forgiven for it. On the other hand, if you sin through idleness, do not expect forgiveness. But let us look at the question a moment to discover if we do commit sins by compulsion, under pressure of violence, rather than through idleness or serious negligence. It is written: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ But who compels you to kill? Who forces you to do it? On the contrary, you have to do violence to your own nature to kill someone. Which of us would light-heartedly cut a neighbor’s throat? Who would gladly stain his hands with blood? No one. So the facts are the exact opposite of your contention. To sin, you have to force yourself. God has given our nature the gift of mutual love as a result of which every living creature loves its own kind, every human being loves his neighbor. Do you see? Our nature predisposes us to virtue. It is the vices that are contrary to nature. If they win a victory, it is the fault of serious negligence on our part. The conclusion is clearly apparent: virtue is consistent with our nature, whereas vice is opposed to it.” On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, let us always be mindful of the virtues grounded in Truth – the truths of Christ (who is Truth personified), and the timeless truths of sacred scripture. Strip the whitewash and sanitized language of “choice” and “reproductive health” away from abortion to see what it really is – the taking of an innocent, human life in the womb. We also pray for those facing this decision, that they will open their minds and hearts to do God’s will, to follow God’s law of life (“Thou shall not kill.”) and to protect the innocent life in the womb.
Prayer: God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother’s womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer for the Unborn Child: Almighty God, our Father, you who have given us life and intended us to have it forever, grant us your blessings. Enlighten our minds to an awareness and to a renewed conviction that all human life is sacred because it is created in your image and likeness. Help us to teach by word and the example of our lives that life occupies the first place, that all human life is precious because it is the gift of God whose love is infinite. Give us the strength to defend human life against every influence or action that threatens or weakens it, as well as the strength to make every life more human in all its aspects. We pray this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer to end abortion: Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, And never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice not just for some, but for all, through Christ our Lord. Amen!
We pray for all whose hearts ache from the sin of abortion, that God will soothe and heal them with the balm of his love, compassion and mercy;
We pray for mothers broken by the memory of a child lost to abortion, that through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, the gentle and merciful love of God may heal their innermost being;
We pray for everyone who is haunted by the memory of abortion, that they might come to know repentance, forgiveness, mercy, and peace.
Contemplation: What is the good life, the ultimate end and the purpose of life? Is it not happiness, which is none other than the complete good, the sum of all goods, leaving nothing more to be desired? Jesus addresses this question in his sermon on the mount. The word “beatitude” literally means “happiness” or “blessedness.” The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness that God has placed in every heart. They teach us the final end to which God calls us, namely the coming of God’s kingdom (Matthew 4:17), the vision of God (Matthew 5:8; 1 John 2;1), entering into the joy of the Lord (Matthew 25:21-23) and into his rest (Hebrews 4:7-11). Jesus’ beatitudes also confront us with decisive choices concerning the life we pursue here on earth and the use we make of the goods he puts at our disposal. God alone satisfies – far above that possible by any human. And so we must ask ourselves: Do you seek the highest good, the total good, the moral good, which is above all else?
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.