On a beautiful spring Saturday morning in Southern California my family looked forward to attending our sons baseball game. Just before leaving the house we received a phone call informing us that our father had been rushed to the hospital via paramedics after he was found by two good Samaritans lying in a pool of blood on the street in front of the family lumber business. We were summoned to the hospital and when we saw our father we scarcely recognized him because he had been severely bludgeoned around his head and face.
Apparently when he stopped by the business office that morning he encountered a couple of men in the process of robbing the office. He was overcome by them with blunt force trauma to the head. They drug him to the sidewalk and left him there unconscious.
The doctors advised that our father required brain surgery in an effort to save his life. We consented, waited and prayed. As it turned out, the surgery was not successful in saving his life and he died that day. The perpetrators were never found though the case aired on the television show, Americas Most Wanted. Nothing was taken from the office after all except the life of a faithful husband, beloved father and grandfather, a well known and respected business man. Our family would never be the same.
On the day of the funeral Mass I experienced the presence of Jesus sympathizing with us over the violent death of our father. Jesus is sympathetic to our human emotions He has a human heart. Did Jesus not weep over the death of his friend Lazarus and over the whole town of Jerusalem? We can imagine that Jesus wept over the violent beheading of his cousin John the Baptist too.
That day our family experienced the reality of a culture of death. We experienced how someones life can be considered of little value. The dignity of the human person is trampled upon by selfish choice. Our innocence was lost that day and the culture of death became very personal to us.
Jesus gave us the law of love that requires we uphold the dignity of all human life without exception. In fact, if there is a life to be laid down it is my life to be laid down so others can live! Jesus said, No greater love has anyone than to lay down his life for a friend (Jn 15:13).
Not only are the unborn and elderly vulnerable in the culture of death but young people are increasingly succumbing to suicide. In this week I am aware of three young people who committed suicide. The escalation of violent crimes, suicide, and murders are all the effect of a culture of death. When my maternal grandmother laid in the nursing home for six years suffering the effects of Alzheimers, it was a battle to allow her to be fed.
Recently while praying in front of a local abortion clinic during the 40 days for life campaign, one clinic worker said, You people are making it even more difficult for the girls to do what they must do! Right there is the crux of the matter girls are led to believe they have no choice but to end the life of the child within them.
For the many women who may be post-abortive please remember that there is no sin that is greater than Gods mercy! Jesus and his Church are here to embrace you in merciful love for we acknowledge, All men sin and fall short of the glory of God. There is a corporate culpability for the culture of death. Let us pray and work to overcome this darkness by doing good since Jesus taught, overcome evil by doing good (Rom 12:21). Let us pray this prayer together right now:
Intercession for Mothers of the Unborn
Merciful Father, I bring to you any woman who may be considering abortion. Lord, only you know the disposition of her heart and the details of the circumstance that brings her to this point of decision. Father, bless your beloved daughter with every grace necessary to love, forgive, hope and care for the life she bears within her womb. Father, lift the heavy burden of her situation so she can put her life and that of the unborn child into your Almighty Hands.
Fill her with the Holy Spirit and consecrate her in the truth of your love. Allow her to experience your paternal care for her and the child within her womb, so they are brought to the light of love. Preserve mother and child from the darkness of abortion. Lead her to the right persons for good counsel and maternity care. Divinely guide her path in the hour of her great need. Father, infuse your grace into her mind, heart and soul that she is receptive to carrying her child to full term. Reveal the beauty of her child and gift that she possesses within her. Grant her a long range perspective so that she does not reduce the situation to this moment that passes into a new day.
Bless her with pro-life counsel, care givers and medical personal. Bless her with supportive family and friends. Protect her from persons willing to take the life of this child. Protect her from the lies of the enemy and the spirit of death. I plead the Precious Blood over her pregnancy and entrust all life unto you, Creator God.
Father, please continue to show me how to intercede by prayer and sacrifice for all women in difficult pregnancies. I desire to bring to Jesus the little children who are vulnerable as they grow in the wombs of their mothers. Father grant wisdom to your children on earth so we uphold the dignity of each human being. Teach us to love life in all its stages. Amen.
Fathers of the Unborn
In April 2009, I was invited to speak at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy Shrine, St. Stanislaus Kostka, home of Our Lady of the Sign; Ark of Mercy, Chicago, Illinois. The Saturday morning before the evening presentation, I joined a group of young families and singles to pray the rosary in front of an abortion clinic on Division Street. I witnessed a myriad of reactions that morning from people passing by us whether on foot or in cars, buses, or taxis. Most people were supportive. I recall a taxi driver who stopped and leaned over to us and said with a smile, My mom had nine children! No abortion for us! There were others who yelled inflammatory curses at us and those who became exceedingly agitated by our prayerful presence. Self righteousness or condemnation had nothing to do with our presence there, love alone compelled us.
Suddenly, my attention was drawn to a solitary man waiting in his parked car after his girlfriend entered the abortion clinic. He was denied entry, not allowed in the clinic at all. He waited with tears streaming down his face. One of the ladies with us approached him. He rolled down the window and began to talk with her. He did not want the child to be aborted. He could not talk the woman out of it. He seemed sincerely brokenhearted. This was his child too. He was another victim of a culture of death wherein life has become incredibly disposable. Please join me in this prayer today:
Intercession for Fathers of the Unborn
Merciful Father, through the intercession of St. Joseph, I pray for the fathers of unborn children that they may be courageous in taking responsibility to protect the child they fathered that is at risk of abortion. Lord, give them anointed words to influence the mother of the child for the protection of the unborn in her womb. Jesus, grant that men would have wise paternal hearts to know how best to serve the life of the mother and child. Please show them the way to exercise faith, hope and love. Jesus, please come to their aid and be in the center of all life and death situations. Jesus, heal all men, women and children who suffer the effects of abortion at any level.
Lord, please speak to my heart what you would have me do to build a culture of life? As I reflect on Saint Josephs loving solicitude for Mary and her unborn child, I confide all men, especially fathers, to the intercession of Saint Joseph. Amen.