Yesterday was abortion day at our local Planned Parenthood center. Three of us were outside praying for the staff, the parents and the unsuspecting children encased in their mothers’ wombs.
It was bitterly cold. In fact, this is the first time over the past four years when I ever felt cold enough to wear a hooded sweatshirt and gloves. But it was not just the physical cold and wind that was bothersome. It was the pervasive coldness emanating from this place of death on this particular day. If you ever reverently touched the hand of a loved one or friend while praying farewell at their casket, you know the type of cold I am trying to describe.
It seemed more women than normal were entering this evil place and fewer were willing to interact with the sidewalk counselor this day. The honking horn and raised middle finger were auditory and visible evidence of the pleasure the evil one takes in using his minions to belittle and demean the handful who engage in this spiritual warfare.
Despair would be such an easy response to this on-going slaughter!
“What good are you fools doing?” one could imagine Satan whispering in our ears. “Look around! Count the number of woman who flock here! Where are your fellow parishioners? Oh, how happy I am when your pastors do not let you post flyers or notices in your Churches about your prayerful vigils. Where are your bishops and priests? How ecstatic I am when no prayer warriors show up!”
“I particularly relish your sense of helplessness and shame,” he might sneer, “when you approach those entering this evil place and they stop, look you right in the eye, and say “Unless you are able to take care of me and this baby, get our of my way.”
We have so few resources to offer these women. Why? Aside from the salvation of souls, is there any greater priority our Church should have than the protection of human life?
This is no time to despair or end our efforts to protect the dignity of all human life. We know that God in His perfect timing will end this slaughter of human life. Over the years we know, our prayerful presence has made a difference, not only in those women who have changed their minds and not followed through with a scheduled abortion, not only by the fact that a number of these death camps have closed forever, but also by the affirming words of support shared by other women who stop and let us know that we should never cease our prayerful witness in front of this place of death and deception, tearfully telling us that had we been there several years ago, they would never had aborted their child!
How have we as Catholics and as a society come to so devalue the gift of life? There are many reasons one might offer. But in my mind, the primary one is the same one that is at the source of the crisis in our Church – the lack of belief in the living Author of life, physically present with us until the end of time - His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity hidden behind the Sacred Host.
If we valued His Presence here among us, if we spent time before Him in the Blessed Sacrament, if we allowed Him to nourish and penetrate our souls, we could never be absent from the fight for life.