Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Innocents in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. This feast celebrates the deaths of innocent children who literally died for (in place of) Christ and whom the Church has venerated as martyrs officially since about the sixth century. Their feast day has always been located in the Octave of Christmas to emphasize their intimate connection with the baby Jesus. We are reminded on this day of both the fragility of new life and our obligation to protect it and so it is fitting that as we enter this new year I challenge each of you to renew your commitment to the defense of innocent life.
First, contemplate. The Holy Innocents' feast day serves both as a reminder of a tragic historical event and as a grim reality check for those of us who live in this society where abortion is practiced as casually as shopping! A short moment of reflection on this scriptural passage will help us to discern the parallels to the abortion industry in our society: the irrational command of a powerful person to kill, the executioners with blood on their hands, the suffering of the innocent victims and the secondary victims who were scarred forever by the deaths of their children. We also contemplate the truth that "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more," (Rom 5:20) in order to see how God brings good out of so much evil.
Second, pray. Pray for those who are blinded to this reality and ask God to grant them the grace of conversion. Remember that we are all tainted by this massacre of innocents because our lives are intertwined with the culture of death, so we must pray with humility for the gift of perseverance to bring it to an end. Prayer will bring the power of Christ to bear on this sinful institution of death. He alone can transform the world.
Third, act. God does not work through prayers only. We are His hands and feet in this world so our pro-life resolutions for 2007 have to be very direct and specific; if you are not sure what to do, I have given some suggestions below on how to meet the challenges set before us:
- Find the local abortion clinic in your community and make a promise to pray there at least three times in 2007—minimum.
- While you're at it, find the local pregnancy care center and make contact with them. It is likely they are in need of volunteers. Be one of them! They all operate on shoe-string budgets too so support them!
- Speak up in some forum and defend life, be it on the internet, in a letter to the editor, or in conversations with friends, family and co-workers. Of course they will call you a fanatic! It does not matter. You must think of that Day when the Lord will ask you what you did to defend His precious little ones. You must be able to say you spoke out on their behalf.
- Boycott the businesses that fund the death industry. These groups don't deserve one dollar of our hard-earned money if they are material cooperators in the killing of innocents. The most reputable boycott group that I know of is Life Decisions International whose detailed corporate boycott list you can order from their website (www.fightpp.org) and who provide ongoing insight into the activities of Planned Parenthood.
I'm sure there's much more we can all do, but these things are good for starters! I will be praying for you and your families as we finish this year of pro-life election losses and enter into a year full of hope and promise. May the Holy Innocents guide our commitment to be more active in saving their innocent brothers and sisters!
Fr.'s third directive is quite important. Most of us sit on the sidelines watching and allowing others to do the work. (btw...under Fr.'s #3-3 "Speak up in some forum and defend life, be it on the internet, in a letter to the editor, or in conversations with friends, family and co-workers." It's quite easy to blog. Once you set up your blog, you can email/inform family & friends a pro-life spot/bulletin board of information for them to share with others too!)
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."