Monday, January 21, 2013

Hope After Abortion

Faith                       Hope                     Love

Whether we realize it or not, we all know and love someone who has been impacted by abortion. After forty years of legalized abortion--at over a million per year--the sheer number of mothers and fathers who have been affected is staggering (not to mention the grandparents and extended family members). We are a nation in need of profound healing.

This week, with the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, our nation has an incredible opportunity for conversion.  Within a polarized and contentious cultural environment, the pro-life movement is often accused of being judgmental and self-righteous; and perhaps the bad behavior of some has warranted these charges.  But the pro-life movement is intrinsically compassionate.  It is a movement of mercy for mothers and fathers, and an invitation to stand with those who are most defenseless.  It is a reminder that our weary culture doesn’t have to continue wandering down a dead-end road.  In many ways, the pro-life movement is encapsulated in the wonderful website,, which speaks to the solidarity at the heart of the pro-life movement.  With opportunities for healing and shared testimonials, plus resources and support, this website stands as a reminder that we have all been recipients of God's overwhelming mercy.  It also gives witnesses to the possibility that our nation can discover a renewed future.

This week hundreds of thousands of pilgrims will travel to Washington, D.C. to show that the time for this renewed future is now.  They will participate in the great civil rights movement of our time, the annual March for Life, a peaceful and prayerful non-violent resistance against the culture of death.  The March for Life is a youth-movement the likes of which our nation has never seen.  Young people living in a generation which abhors being judgmental are witnessing, non-judgmentally, to the grace which guides and sustains their purpose.  Their protest against the loss of innocent life and the pain suffered by so many mothers and fathers is offered without condemnation, out of sincere compassion.  These youth and young adults have re-inspired those who have worked for decades to transform hearts and minds; they have brought a new energy and focus and wisdom to the cause of Life.  As a communion of persons from all walks of life and all creeds, these “Marchers” give witness to the reality of new beginnings for each of us personally and for all of us nationally.

In addition, this week the U.S. Bishops are inviting us to "Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage" for a culture more open to life, to the defense of marriage and family, and the protection of religious liberty. In solidarity with those who are traveling to D.C., there are daily suggestions for small acts of self-denial which can be offered for the good of our nation.  These opportunities remind us of the power that prayer has to change each of us, even as we work to change the world.

One day we will look back on this longstanding national tragedy as a moment of great grace. As we move toward an end to the legalized war against life itself, we will realize the inestimable role played by courageous men and women who have themselves been directly impacted by abortion.  The women who share their stories, along with the men who acknowledge that these are their stories too, will be the heroes of the new civilization of love.  And then there will be Hope, with a capital “H,” for all.