Is it just my imagination, or were the Sunday readings for today perfectly applicable to the pro-life movement?? I will be referring to these passages from today throughout this post.
This year’s annual March for Life marked the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the 44th anniversary of the March. Over the span of those forty-four years, millions of pilgrims have walked the streets of Washington, D.C., praying, lobbying, and hoping for some change in our country’s heart when it comes to the issue of the sanctity of human life.
I was one of those fortunate ones to attend the March this year. Allow me to share some photos from the day. First are some photos from the morning Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center:
Some photos from the outdoor rally before the March:
One of the more notable quotes of the day came from Mrs. Conway, above, who said to the crowd, “We see you… we hear you… we respect you… and we look forward to working with you.”
My family and I have gone to the March for many years, but this year, as most of you know, was particularly special. For the first time in the history of the March, a sitting Vice President came and spoke to us at the rally before the March. This news was made public only the day before, and so many things had to be altered and put into place in order for this to happen smoothly. People seemed very patient with the earlier Mass times, and longer wait times to get through security, because we all knew that it was for a worthwhile reason: to see and hear Mike Pence speak to us.
Pence was, as usual, calm, eloquent, and charitable. His love for Our Lord and the American people came shining through in his words to us. What a blessing to have such a good and faith-filled man as our second-in-command.
But the Vice President’s presence was not the most important presence that day, of course. The Lord’s Presence was there, as always. This is why many begin the day of the March with Mass or some other type of prayer. Without the Lord, we can do nothing.
In fact, one of the things that came to my mind as I was listening to Mike Pence, and observing the people around me cheering for him was a paraphrased line from Scripture: “Put not your trust in princes.” And then, this morning (Sunday) in Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, what did I read? “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men; it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9) I believe that at Friday’s rally, the Lord was gently reminding me that in the midst of all the excitement about Pence’s arrival (and rightly so), there was something bigger to be aware of: the LORD is in charge. Not our politicians- even if they are going to deliver on their good promises. We must still put ALL of our trust in the Lord. As is said in the first reading today:
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
Zephaniah 3:12-13a (emphasis added)
At the same time, I would like to remember something that Nikki recently sent in an email to our 40 Days team. She said:
“I read a quote that I loved in this month’s Magnificat from St. Francis de Sales yesterday while I was on the bus, on my way to the March. Ironically, Mike Pence used the same quote a few hours later in his speech! He said, ‘Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.’ I think that should be our motto going into this Lenten campaign!”
So certainly, our Vice President’s words were not without the power of the Holy Spirit behind them.
Another speaker at the rally was Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director in Texas. Most of you know that she is now a well-known pro-life advocate and founder of “And Then There Were None,” a ministry to help abortion workers get out of the abortion industry.
Abby is a great example of those who are persecuted for the Lord’s sake. Our Lord in today’s Gospel has these words for us:
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Why the crown of thorns? Because we are soon about to enter into our Lenten campaign for 40 Days for Life. And it will be a time for us to focus more on the passion of Our Lord. Let us be willing to not only focus on HIS passion, however, but on our own. We are all able to enter into His suffering in a unique way when we stand for Him and for His little ones on the sidewalk. Let us be unashamed and unafraid… for we belong to HIM, so we have nothing to fear. If we are persecuted for HIS sake, then we will truly be blessed.