One pilgrim’s view of the March for Life
Christ is in our midst!
My oldest son and I went to the March for Life in DC this year. This was the first time for both us. What an amazing experience! I had heard about it and watched the news about this event for years, but this year was the first opportunity I’ve had to actually attend it thanks to the efforts of my local bishop, Bishop Finn, and our diocesan Respect for Life office. For their leadership and hard work to make this possible for so many, my son and I are deeply grateful. I can’t thank them enough.
First, this was not just a march. It was a pilgrimage. It was a conversion experience. Even though we had nearly a 24 hour bus ride to DC, we took advantage of our time together. We prayed Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary each day, we read Scripture readings, and we were given an opportunity to go to the sacrament of Confession. There as a Priest on every bus! We also heard testimonies, watched uplifting movies and did other fun activities on the bus, plus we had time to rest. I expected nothing less than a cross-country bus ride to Hades and in stead we were given a glimpse of the Beatific Vision.
Immediately upon arrival into DC we went to Mass at the National Basilica. I actually ran into Newt Gingrich walking out of the Basilica! He was going into the Basilica to pray. Later in the day many also attended the Vigil there at the Basilica as well. Monday morning we attended the Youth Rally with 20,000 other youths from around the country. The USCCB had sponsored this event and it was a well-done event. Many Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops were there leading and participating in all of these events above. From there we poured out the arena and marched down to the Mall to meet the hundreds of thousands of folks already there. We heard many of the new freshmen class of Congress speak as well as a Jewish rabbi, an African-American minister, and an Eastern Orthodox priest. The March for Life is not only an ecumenical event, but an interfaith one. It represents the begging of all of humanity.
From the Mall the March begins. We marched up the hill pass Congress to the Supreme Court by the hundreds of thousands. I can honestly say I couldn’t see the end of people that were on this march with us. I looked and it wasn’t possible to see them all. The pictures give you a sense of how many folks are there. What most surprised me was I didn’t see a single protester on the entire route. I looked continually for them, but never saw any. If there were any, they must have been swallowed by the sea of humanity representing life. On the bus ride home we collectively judged this event together.
Now here’s my judgment of this event after much thought and prayer. Politics does not save. Electing a Pro-Life President who will appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices will not save us. Overturning Roe v. Wade will not save us. Christ is the one who saves. Encountering Him will move us to see the world and ourselves in a new way. He is the one who blows reality wide-open and changes everything. It is in Him that we have to put all of our faith, hope and love. This is the way He showed us and the path we must journey. If I fall into the arms of anyone, it will not be in those of Newt Gingrinch, Mike Huckabee, or Mitt Romney, but in the arms of Our Lady. She is the one who shows us how to say Yes to Christ.
To build an authentic Culture of Life means starting with our own hearts and minds. We should study what Popes John Paul II and B16 have to teach us on this matter. We should read what the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine teaches us. The Culture of Death represents so much more than just abortion. That is just one evil of so many that one can cite from divorce, the breakdown of the family, and the loss of the meaning of marriage. Who understands what the permanence and exclusivity means anymore regarding marriage? Immoral sexual ethics is constantly being crammed down our throats each time we choose to watch the Jersey Shore or the Desperate Housewives. Hooking up is the norm, sex only within marriage is so passé. Do we understand what the evil of contraception means? Do we understand how in-vitro fertilization and embryonic stem-cell research is also part and partial of the Culture of Death?
For all of us who are Pro-Life, how many have taken to the time to pray in-front of a Planned Parenthood clinic and provide street-side counseling? Maybe we should make time to do that. How many support or volunteer to work at their local crisis pregnancy center? Maybe we should do that. Each person knows the gifts and abilities that Christ has given them. Use those gifts, whatever they are, to build the Culture of Life.
Abortion is evil, maybe the greatest evil of our age. Abortion is a holocaust of tens of millions of innocent and defenseless human beings. To end abortion though will take more than just overturning Roe v. Wade or electing Pro-Life politicians as important as that is. It means living the Culture of Life in our own lives, in own families, among our friends and co-workers, and showing the truths of this way of life to everyone we encounter.
Christ works through each of us if we have to the courage to live life as He meant it to be lived. The Culture of Life has to be defended not just one day of the year, but everyday. Christ is the One who makes us victorious!
From an ecumenical standpoint, here’s a frank conversation and critical insights about Abortion from Dr. R.C. Sproul and his son below. (HT – Dr. Frank Beckwith!)