Quo Vadis: He Is Out of His Mind! The March for Life and Being Christian in a Neo-Pagan Age
rights movement is now clearly a Youth movement. You can hear the implications of this undeniable fact in the dispirited comments of its opponents who lead the Anti-Life Movement. I will not spend any words quoting them.
The most intense experience I had related to the March for Life unfolded after I braved the snow and ice and drove many hours to get back my chosen home town; so few back home were even aware of the event. That did not surprise me. I write, speak and engage in cultural, social and political participation precisely because of this fact.However, what did surprise me was that even among many who were aware, there was simply no interest.
In fact, there is a growing chorus of voices expressing the unthinkable to me, that the killing of these children is just a part of the culture now and there is little we can do. They just want to move on, to close their ears to the cry of the poorest of the poor. Sadly, I even experience this reality in my own extended family circle. Some wonder why I would continue to March, especially as I age; particularly in such inclement weather.
So, when I awakened and began my morning prayer on Saturday, the short but poignant Gospel passage for Holy Mass was particularly apropos: "Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." (Mark 3:20,21)
Even the friends and family of the Lord questioned his lifestyle and thought that many of his choices were crazy. So, I guess I am in good company. You see, just when so many seem to have decided to withdraw from our obligation to social, cultural and political participation as Christian citizens, I have decided to redouble my efforts.
As I left Washington DC yesterday, still fighting back the tears which flowed throughout the days there, I thought of one of my favorite stories from the multitude of stories about the apostles. It involved the Apostle Peter who, while he was fleeing the City of Rome because of persecution which followed the Resurrection, met the Lord Jesus walking into the City. Peter asked him, Domine, quo vadis. The Latin is loosely translated "Where are you going Lord? His response to Peter was, "I am going to Rome to be crucified".
I know that the Lord Marched in Washington D.C. this week. I saw Him in the face and eyes of the hundreds of thousands who lined the streets and walked the way - especially the young. He is also identified with all of the victims of the horrid evil of procured abortion because he identifies with the "least of these" (Matthew 25). We are living in what many decry as a Post-Christian age. I reject the notion. I prefer to call it a Pre-Christian age. We must make the difference.
Yet, I admit, it is a Neo-Pagan age. It is a difficult age. However, it is our age. Our task stretches out before us and we have a duty to engage it. It will require every ounce of energy we have. However, we will not be exhausted. Because it is just when we run out of our own energy that the energy of the Living God begins to flow most freely - in and through us. That is what we is called grace.
During that cold March for Life, while my heart set on fire by the witness of all of those young men and women kept me warm, I repeatedly thought of words from one of my favorite poems.It was written by G.K. Chesterton and is taken from the Ballad of the White Horse:
The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.
"The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.
Maybe I am 'out of my mind'; or, to quote an old Paul Simon song I loved when I was younger, maybe I am 'still crazy after all these years'. However, I know I am not alone. And I will never leave the City while the work of the Lord of life remains to be done.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Quo Vadis, March for Life, Pro-Life, Right to Life, faithful citizenship, Jeanne Monahan, Patrick Kelly, faith and culture, faith and action, priests for life, Fr Frank Pavone, Deacon Keith Fournier
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