This week, our hearts and
minds turn to the 46th anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court
decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized
the killing of unborn children through the terrible evil known as abortion.
Since that dreadful day on January 22, 1973, more than 60 million unborn babies
have been killed in this nation, founded on the very principle that every
person is given by their Creator the inalienable right to “life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness.”
To put that number in some perspective, some 1.5 million Americans have been killed in every war in which this country has fought since 1775. Put another way, the number of children killed by abortion in this country so far is greater than the present populations of the States of California and Florida combined. To put it even more starkly, in the same span of time in which more than 60,000,000 children were aborted in our land, just 138,115,440 were born. The number is staggering, and terribly sad, and it continues due to ignorance on the part of many who could have a hand in stopping it but refuse to hear the truth.
The Bishops in the United States have launched a major pastoral initiative calling for prayer and penance to promote and build a culture of life, marriage and religious liberty. This initiative includes “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage,” which began January 14th and continues to January 22nd (2019). It includes daily prayer intentions for the healing and conversion of our nation, for elected officials who support abortion, especially the so-called “Catholic” ones, and for all people whose lives have forever been changed by an abortion.
Pope Francis has reminded us that “faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes.” Everyone who speaks out against the horror of abortion and seeks to give aid to women in crisis pregnancies is living out their faith. Because we believe in the dignity of every human life from the moment conception to the moment of natural death, we must speak out and call for a greater respect for life in society in general and in our nation’s laws in particular.
Whenever the Church teaches about the dignity of all human life, she does not teach merely her opinion, but the truth she has received from Jesus. Because it comes from the Lord, it cannot simply be laid aside. To have faith in Jesus Christ means “choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with Him.” Few have stood so closely with the Lord, after a conversion to the truth, as Saint Augustine of Hippo. He realized a certain psalm was one sung at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. He further noted that the new and ever-lasting temple of the Lord is being built of the sons and daughters of the Church.
We, too, desire to sing a new song to the Lord because of the wonders he has done for us; because He has revealed himself through these deeds, we believe in Him. Our belief in Him gives us hope, even when we are surrounded by darkness. The light of his presence fills our hearts with his love and compels us to share that love with others. Whenever we share the love of the Lord, we offer hope to others. This hope can lead them, also, to faith in Jesus, faith in the one Savior of all. It will, we pray, lead them one day into the fold of his Church.
So, as we turn to the Lord and implore Him: “Mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace on our times,” I hope that all who claim the name of Christian and every person of good will, will pray, especially at this time, for the conversion of hearts and minds, praying that this Culture of Death will give way to the Culture of Life, so that every person who is conceived will be able to “sing to the Lord a new song” and “bless his name.”
In this coming week, the sad anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, I invite you to join in prayer with many Catholic and others who respect life from the womb to the tomb, to pray that laws and hearts may be changed. Please join Bishop Barbarito and me this coming Tuesday, January 22nd, at 11:00 a.m., for an hour of prayer across from the Palm Beach County Court House on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. There we will implore Our Lord to help us save the unborn whose lives are threatened by abortion.