In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul encourages the new Christians there with these words: “Let us not grow weary of doing good; if we do not relax our efforts, in due time we shall reap our harvest” (Gal. 6:9).
The harvest that we all hope to reap is the harvest of eternal life; but those early Christian communities needed to be reassured again and again that their faith and perseverance in the face of persecution and other hardships were not in vain. So do Christians today need the encouragement that comes from the word of God.
For 45 years now, so many faithful Catholics — and many other men and women of good will — have given themselves wholeheartedly to the work of restoring the protection of law for every innocent human being, in particular for the unborn who have not enjoyed that right in the United States since 1973.
These dedicated pro-lifers have heeded the words of St. Paul. They have hung in there; and by their work and prayers we have come finally to the day when the majority of American citizens now appreciate the fact that abortion is wrong because it is the murder of an innocent human being. And there is absolutely no justification for such a heinous act. I salute and thank those good people — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — who have refused to give up the fight, who would not relax their efforts, even in the most discouraging of times, and so are now beginning to reap the harvest of a slow but sure movement back to respect for all human life.
Don’t get me wrong . . . the fight is still far from over. But we are gaining ground, and for that we must give thanks to God who, we are confident, will bring this good work to completion. Even though the tide is turning, we now count more than 50 million babies who have been killed in the last 45 years through abortion. As we begin our annual observance of Respect Life Month, I ask all the faithful to give themselves anew to the following:
Prayer. In whatever good we hope to achieve in this world there is nothing more powerful and effective than prayer. As we know from Scripture, perseverance in prayer is absolutely essential. God answers all our prayers, but in his own time and way. Respect Life Month reminds us to renew our fervent prayer to God and not to lose heart. In all things God reminds us to ask. If we ask, we will surely receive.
Education. We must be clear and knowledgeable about the life issues. Those who support abortion propose lies and illogical arguments to which people fall prey every day. We cannot afford to rely on the misinformation provided by the secular media. For example, we are told that abortion is “good” for a mother who does not want a child. Not true! It is virtually impossible to find a mother who has had an abortion that does not now suffer the remorse that inevitably follows the taking of an innocent life. We are told that in vitro fertilization does nothing more than assist a husband and wife in their desire to have a child. Also not true! In this process a number of fertilized eggs — in other words, human beings — are destroyed or frozen. We are told that the direct killing of a person who is suffering from illness or old age is an act of “mercy” — definitely not true! Nothing justifies our usurping of the power of God over life and death. These lies, and many more, are thrown at us constantly. We must understand clearly what is at stake, or we, too, will be taken in by the fabrications of the pro-abortion movement.
Action. With prayer to fortify us and clarity of purpose that comes from being educated about the issues, we can — and must — participate in those activities that can bring an end to abortion. We must do all that we can to ensure that laws favoring abortion are struck down and new pro-abortion legislation does not come to pass. Be prepared to be told that pro-life efforts, especially those of Christians, have no place in the public forum. Be prepared to be intimidated into backing off from appropriate political activity. Stand strong! As Christians we have every right and duty to make our voices heard, especially at the polls.
This Sunday is Respect Life Sunday. A significant feature of this day throughout the United States is the Life Chain, a peaceful and prayerful demonstration of our support of the right of every person to be born and live a happy and fruitful life. I encourage all those faithful who are able to gather on Academy Blvd. near Austin Bluffs, or in Monument on Highway 105 near Safeway and Park n Ride, and take part in the Life Chain. I have participated in the Life Chain many times since my days in St. Louis, and I have always been edified by the dedication and prayerfulness of those who make up the Life Chain. Unfortunately, I will not be able to be present this year. I have accepted an invitation to address the priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis at their convocation. But be assured that I will bring the message of life there, and I will be with all of you in spirit.
Again, let us not grow weary of doing good. Our brothers and sisters yet to be born need us. And, yes, life will be victorious!