Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Unborn as Lazarus

In today's Gospel (Luke 16: 19 - 31) we heard about Lazarus and the rich man. As our priest pointed out during the homily, the plight of Lazarus was not due to anything the rich man did to Lazarus - he didn't make him poor or hungry. The sin came from inaction - because he also didn't do anything for him. It was well within the means of the rich man to give shelter, food, alms - but his neglect was complete. Lazarus simply wasn't on his radar. This brought to mind the words we had just prayed in the Confiteor...

"I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do..."

In searching our hearts for acts of charity we must ask the question: what wrong have I done, what right have I failed to do? So how do we answer these pertinent questions when it comes to the unborn? We aren't necessarily the ones who have the abortions, perform the abortions or pay for the abortions. The ones of us who are already of the pro-life mindset would never dream of doing so. Even if we are converts to pro-life advocacy, we have asked for absolution, received forgiveness, done our penance and moved on as pro-life people of God. But even as we don't do anything to the unborn, how would we stand in the sight of God and answer Him if He said, 'my child, what have you done for them?'

As we move into October - Respect Life Month - let's see what we can do for the littlest souls. Next Sunday (October 6) will present one such opportunity. All over the nation communities will hold the annual Life Chain. This prayerful silent witness spotlighting the right to Life of the unborn and the wrong of abortion, gives us a chance to act. Check your church bulletin for the details, gather family and friends, and give a mere 2 hours of your day to the act of public witness and prayer.

Another positive action could be to participate in 40 Days for Life - going to abortion mills for 2 hour increments to peacefully pray. Hundreds of babies are saved every year from this effort. Others commit to praying the Rosary for Life during October. Another option is to join an online prayer group such as Pro-Life Prayer Partners and cooperatively pray assigned mysteries of the Rosary for the duration of events such as 40 Days for Life.

In Help Your Parish Become a Prayer Partner, I also outlined the creation of a pro-life display to encourage awareness, prayer, and action. These displays are cropping up in churches all over the country and provide information and suggestions. It's time to act! Let's see what we can do for these vulnerable brothers and sisters of ours.

Pope Francis has spoken clearly on the importance of advocating for the unborn:

“I ask everyone to continue to pay special attention to this most important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception... safeguarding every human being from the very first moment of his or her existence.”
~ Pope Francis, Regina Caeli Address, May 12, 2013



**Here are some helpful suggestions and bits of information to get you started:

Prayer and Adoration

Say the Rosary or go to Adoration, and offer it for the unborn.
Find your nearest 40 Days for Life and join them in prayer - www.40daysforlife.com .
Search Facebook for - 40 Days for Life Prayer Partners – and join their community Rosary.
Add a Pro-Life Petition to your family prayer or ask your parish to add to the Mass Intentions.

Fasting and Almsgiving

Give up something you like – food, Facebook, dinner out, entertainment – and donate the money to a Pregnancy Care Center.
Find a local group and volunteer.
Save funds as a family and buy supplies for a struggling mother and her baby.

Learn and Inform

3 weeks - Her heart is already beating
6 weeks - She has her own bloodstream with blood circulating.
- Brain waves are present.
9 weeks - She squints, swallows, moves her tongue, and makes a fist.
- All of her organs are present – all she needs to do now is grow!
Understand and share the humanity of the unborn – they are complete people, just waiting to grow.
Encourage churches, schools, and organizations to allow a Pro-Life display.
Let the pro-life discussion enter into your everyday consciousness and conversation.
Volunteer for a Crisis Pregnancy Hotline such as Opportunities for Life. They answer calls 24/7 and gently support women and girls who find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy.

Encourage post-abortive women to seek out Rachel’s Vineyard for healing. Be kind and supportive.