Thursday, January 22, Is A Day of Prayer and Penance

usccb-9-days-square-logo-turq-org-one_2My blog is early this week because I want to encourage you to pray with the Bishops of our country to end abortion!

Thursday, January 22nd, is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Catholics in the United States, and people of good will, are asked to observe that day as a “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.”

Many people from across our nation will gather on Wednesday evening for the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. They will pray throughout the night for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. On Thursday they gather for the “March for Life Prayer Rally” and march to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court.

Not everyone can participate in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. However, all of us can join in praying with the Bishops of our country the nine day novena that all governments, especially our own, will seek a truly just society, in which the common good of all people, including the most vulnerable, is sought.

On Thursday we pray for an end of this modern day slaughter, and we remember the victims of this tragedy. As we remember their brief lives, we are also called to be mindful of the beauty and sacredness of all human life, especially the vulnerable in our midst, and their need for dignity and respect as individuals created in the image and likeness of God.

On that very sensitive day, we should remember that there are people all around us who are still in the process of reconciling with God and the Church because they have had an abortion. As Christians we must show compassion and God’s mercy as we work to restore all and renew all in Christ’s love and life.

Praying in this manner is rooted in a teaching that has come to be known as the “consistent ethic of life,” developed by the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. This principal has been alluded to by Pope Francis in his teaching and preaching. The main feature of the “consistent ethic of life” is its insistence on the interconnectedness of life issues across the span of life from conception to natural death. Such issues obviously include abortion and euthanasia at the beginning and end of the life, but would also include a myriad of issues between those two points along the span of life – concern for the poor and for immigrants, the death penalty and health care.

The denial of respect or even the diminishment of respect for any one aspect of life would lead adversely to a denial or diminishment of the respect for life in other aspects of life due to the fact that they are all related. In other words, since they are tied together, to pull out the thread of any one issue would lead to the unraveling of the whole cloth, hence, the “consistent ethic of life” came to be known by many as the “seamless garment” of life. It should be the foundation of our prayer for the respect of human life today and every day.

A few suggestions for you to think about doing this week to enrich your commitment to fostering a respect of all human life:

  • Pray for those who work in varied ministries in service of the dignity of the human person – crisis pregnancy counselors, hospice workers, medical professionals, confessors and therapists.
  • Pray for those who have been wounded by abortion.
  • Say a Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
  • Engage in some form of fasting.
  • Visit the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and pray the “9 Day Novena for Life.”

Question – What form of prayer and penance will you embrace this Thursday?

January 17th, 2015 |