Prayer is at the beginning, through and the end of it all!
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The nation's capital is revving up for the wonderful faith and freedom display of pro-life activists from all over the country to gather together to remember Roe v. Wade - which took away the legal guarantee of life to those in the womb - as the worst decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. But Friday's March for Life also celebrates 50 years of hard and well-coordinated work to have that decision rescinded by the highest court of the land. We must continue to thank the good Lord of Life for allowing this about-face.
Photo credit: Pedro Lima
Remembering the unborn is so important, perhaps more than ever. Though the Dobbs decision of 2022 rescinding Roe broke the federal barrier to protecting pre-born life, it did not immediately change the moral implications of the legal disaster and its effects on the country.
What was legal is now transferred to the people to take up in states, and conceivably in US Congress, to further protect or to solidify nationally what states have already legalized in polar directions -- some to save lives, others to create a so-called constitutional right to abortion -- furthering the disaster of Roe.
The battle continues and what is at stake is not a "right" to abortion, even though 50 years of Roe convinced many to entrench a travesty like murder as "women's rights," "reproductive health" and even "human rights." The shift must go back to the greatest right, and that is the right of the unborn to live, without which they would not enjoy any other legitimate rights given by the Constitution. If you're dead, all your rights die as well.
Which leads to what matters most: Unified efforts to change the conscience of the nation from "my right" to "dead wrong." This can and must come about by shifting the focus to the baby, from which follows mothers' and fathers' rights. Mothers, fathers and unborn human child -- all persons -- are in a special relation one with the other.
Returning to the recognition of the pre-born as persons made "in the image and likeness of God" takes more than laudable persuasion. It takes a conversion of heart from "rights" to "right." From "my body, my choice" to "her body, my voice" for the innocent. We must recognize the supernatural need we have to turn this around through conversion of a nation anesthetized by "what's legal is moral." Prayer -- more importantly, united prayer, is what this nation needs to free itself of the remaining residue of Roe.
Please join Priests for Life at the 29th annual National Prayer Service Friday in Washington, DC. Hundreds have come annually on the day of the March for Life itself, some first to Mass at 7:30 and then at 8:30 for the interfaith lifting up of pro-life efforts to the Lord of Life led by a host of ministers, priests, bishop, and people of faith. This uplifting morning prayer service is held annually at Constitution Hall, 1776 D. Street NW.
The significance of beginning the day with God directly in offering up our prayers, petitions and thanksgiving speaks to the primacy of lifting up our efforts to God first in whatever we do in the pro-life effort. And joining forces in this effort at this prayerful event is a timely and bolstering shot in the spirit and soul of a hesitant and often skeptical nation. We pray not for a decrease in abortion, nor only for a civic advance in legal protection, nor winning an argument in a life-death debate, all of which are good starts. No, it is about the goal of ending abortion and making it unthinkable.
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Fr. Denis Wilde, OSA, Ph.D., is the associate chaplain for Priests for Life. A concert pianist, he was formerly an associate professor of music at Villanova University.