People throughout the US and the world will gather in churches and public spaces on January 22nd the Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion in the US and which was accompanied by similar decisions in other Western nations.
Every year I read articles about whether the Pro Life movement should invest our time and resources in the March for Life and instead direct them to more practical and concrete pro life work. Let me say first of all, having worked for many years in the pro life ministry and encouraging support for our Crisis Pregnancy Centers, etc. I think anything we can do to public and prophetically speak to this very lost and confused culture of death is good. Flood the streets, pray at the street corners, stand in silent prayer at Planned Pregnancy Centers, whatever we can do to witness to life is crucial.
AND we need to do the practical work of accompanying women and families to save innocent lives. Throughout Church history, those scared, in trouble or need, those on the run escaping pursuers, would claim the right of sanctuary as they rushed into the safety of God’s house. That is what we need to be, out in the world, for our brothers and sisters who are hurting and wounded by abortion. We need to pray, but we also need to act. Next year we will have a national election. Those whom we elect will determine, not only the direction of our economy and welfare, but in a real sense, who lives and who dies. We are seeing, in particular in Western nations a rise in the culture of death – euthanasia, the killing of the elderly, the mentally ill. Governments and health agencies are taking upon themselves the power to determine who lives and who does not. This is very disturbing. But it reminds us that the pro life work and ministry of the Church will never end. Death is always seeking a way in…. We need to stand up for life.
Pope Francis, in his ongoing global examination of conscience, that a culture that violently intrudes upon the life of a baby in the sanctuary of his or her mother’s womb, would soon lose reverence for all places intended by God as safe, secure, and nurturing? Is this not happening in our very day? A society that treats the sanctuary of the earth’s environment as a toxic waste dump; would begin to consider homes and neighborhoods as dangerous instead of as sanctuaries where families are protected and fostered; would commence to approach the poor as bothersome instead of brothers? A society that is more and more burdening the dying with guilt for peacefully and patiently savoring each day until God takes them, pressuring them instead to suicide?
Can any of us be safe, can any of us claim a sanctuary anywhere when the first and most significant sanctuary of them all, the mother’s womb protecting a tiny life, can be raided and ravaged? Behold the baby in the sanctuary of the womb. Once that’s violated, once a society deems it legal to invade it, the integrity of the natural and the supernatural are ruptured . . . and we have no place safe and secure left to go.
We still have much to do – march down the streets of America, being the prophetic voice for those who cannot speak out, and to do the hard work in our local communities to ensure that every persons senses and knows that they are of value and inestimable worth.