Last Monday I had the privilege of participating in the 38th March for Life. It was a bittersweet experience. We were marching to commemorate a shameful landmark in American history, when the Supreme Court decided to legalize the slaughter of babies in their mothers’ wombs. At the same time, however, the four hundred thousand marchers shared a firm hope that one day abortion will end.
This hope is heightened by the youth of the marchers. We saw thousands upon thousands of high school and college students. Many parishes were represented by pro-lifers young and old, including many families with several children each. Young seminarians and religious sisters proudly marched under the banners of their seminaries and orders. It was heartwarming to see so many young priests wearing their cassocks as a testimony of their calling, and there were significant numbers of Oriental Christians, as well as Protestant and Jewish groups. As the march was moving along, I was able to speak briefly with several old friends and fellow warriors in the cause for life. Seeing all these young persons we can see clearly that the future is with us and not with the promoters of the culture of death who are aborting and contracepting themselves out of existence.
The March was preceded on Sunday by a solemn Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Five cardinals, thirty nine bishops and countless priests, deacons and seminarians participated in this Mass. The Basilica was filled to the brim with the faithful from all over the U.S. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant. In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo spoke of today’s “cultural shadows,” noting that they are “cast by the terrible reality of legal abortion on demand.”
Before the Mass I joined several others in praying at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament of the Basilica, and I was moved to see several bishops and priests in silent and fervent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Besides the age and the number of the marchers we have supernatural and natural reasons for great hope. Abortion is deeply anti-natural because a sane nation would never choose to slaughter their children. Rather, what is normal and natural is to defend and protect the young with all our strength. Whenever the destruction of the young has happened in the past it has been seen as a monstrous anomaly. Even pagan Rome judged the Carthaginians harshly for their systematic destruction of their own children: the Romans saw the sacrifice of the children to the monstrous divinities of Carthage as a sign of the inferiority of the culture, and noted how Carthage was bound to disappear from the face of the Earth. St. Thomas Aquinas often insisted that what is anti-natural can not last, so we know that abortion one day will be erased from society. From a supernatural point of view, we know that this slaughter of the innocents is totally against God’s plans for mankind. Hopefully one day we will see the triumph of life, and we will be able to praise the Lord as Simeon praised Him when he held in his hands the infant Jesus at the presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem.
But the dawn of the day when total and integral protection of life will be codified in law will not come to pass until this country fully returns to God. This return will begin when America destroys many of the abominable idols and high places that darken the land as some of the good kings of Israel did. If we read the prophets of old, we can clearly see that the Lord asks from us a total and undivided allegiance; He does not accept a partial or limited commitment. Nor does he accept a partial commitment to defend life. It has to be integral from conception, or the biological beginning of the human being, until natural death. This total allegiance to our Creator should lead us to root away the contraceptive mentality that leads to abortion and in itself is a cause of abortion. This mentality destroys the future of the nation. As with the Carthaginians, this destructive mentality would sacrifice our future for the myopic and selfish choices of some members of the current generation.
If we return to the Lord, He will return to us, and the chastisements that are falling upon our land will fade away as the locusts stopped destroying the crops of our ancestral lands, when our ancestors returned to their Lord and Master. There is no doubt that the economic crisis that is besetting this beautiful land is permitted by the Lord as a sign that we have to return to Him. I am certain that those signs will multiply until we change our path. If as a nation we change our ways, He will smile upon us and bring us back to a land brimming with milk and honey.
May Our Lady of Mercy protect us under her great mantle so that we will be able to fulfill the will of her Son in defending and promoting life and the family in an integral way.