This was the largest March I have ever seen. Its sheer magnitude astounded and reignited my aging passion for the work. However, even more than the size, what inspired me the most was the age of the participants. I could not believe how young all of these people were as I looked around and passed by them. Oh, I know I am getting older, but I am not that old! This great human rights movement is now clearly a Youth movement.
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
1/27/2013 (1 year ago)
Published in U.S.
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
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - I spent the last few days in events which were historic, yet go unreported or seriously underreported in the main stream media. I spoke, prayed, wept and walked - I participated in the events collectively referred to as the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This year marked the 40th since the insidious, incomprehensible, legally indefensible and socially reprehensible decisions of Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton were issued by the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Medical science has confirmed what our consciences long ago knew - even if we hid the fact from ourselves. Those little boys and girls in the womb are all members of our human family. No-one with even a scintilla of credibility can fail to see the absolute contradiction which is revealed when we allow them to be killed at will for any reason and what we now routinely witness in every 3D or 4D ultrasound. C'mon, we send them around to our family and friends and even use them in our media advertising campaigns. These are children being killed by procured abortion.
We all know that Doctors are using this wonderful technology to reach into the first home of the whole human race and operate on these first neighbors, placing them back in their first home so they can develop, grow and join us at birth. We all know they are members of our human family. Every procured abortion violates our first duty of solidarity. We truly are our brother and sister's keeper.
Yet, those same technologies are the means by which some Doctors target the unwanted little boy or little girl for dismemberment, or suction, or chemical burn - all of which lead to his or her death. We do not want to see those photos. They reveal the first and worst example of an unjustifiable war on the womb, a first preemptive strike of sorts. Yet this perceived aggressor, a child, has done nothing to cause us to fear or ever justify this war.
We are all aware that when a mother is killed in the commission of a crime, or as a result of negligence in the civil law, and that same act kills the child in the womb, we recognize that there are two people who are victims. We prosecute accordingly; as we should.
The only verbal refuge left in the attempt to hide the infamy of abortion on demand is the profane reference to a freedom to take the lives of these little children which is surrounded with macabre terms such as "reproductive rights". Killing a child and wounding a mother are certainly not reproductive. Or the continued crazy use of the word choice when we all know that some choices are always wrong. Taking the innocent life of a neighbor is an example. These children are our first neighbors.
So, I joined the massive crowd this week at the March for Life in Washington, DC, as I have for many years. However, my experience was different this year. After participating in the profound preliminary events, including the National Memorial Prayer Service for the Preborn and their mothers and fathers, where I was brought to tears by the testimony of mothers and fathers who lost their children due to the Abortion lie, I could not stop weeping.
When the March began, I marched right up front this year, at the invitation of one of the great heroes of this Fundamental Human Rights movement of our age, Fr. Frank Pavone, the founder of Priests for Life. I felt like an old war horse next to the Secretariat of the movement. As we marched past the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who reached out to express their appreciation for his steady and stalwart defense of the children, their mothers and fathers and the common good, their understandable admiration for this champion brought me to tears at several moments.
When the history of this great movement is written, after the evil of legal abortion goes the way of the other evil, which stems from the same rotted root, the slavery and racism directed against African Americans in our past, Fr Frank will be one of many whose heroism is recalled and passed on to our children.
Another will be the founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray, who went home to the Lord of Life last August. The tributes to her throughout the March events were inspiring. However, the greatest tribute, and the mark of a true leader, was the very leadership which stepped in to fill her shoes to continue the work. Jeanne Monahan and Patrick Kelly, and all who assisted them, did an extraordinary job.
This was the largest March I have ever seen. Its sheer magnitude astounded and reignited my aging passion for the work. However, even more than the size, what inspired me the most was the age of the participants. I could not believe how young all of these people were as I looked around and passed by them.
Oh, I know I am getting older, but I am not that old! This great human 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.
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