According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this Day, January 22, shall be observed as a particular day of prayer and penance for the end of abortion in our nation. It is now forty years since that tragic day when the Supreme Court handed down the Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized abortion. We are peacefully protesting an unjust law through prayer, penance, and raising our voices. It must be known that the 54,559,615 dead because of abortion in the U.S. is a terrible crime that cries out to God for justice.
He was “cut to the heart” in discovering Christian captives
St. Peter Nolasco was shocked and moved in finding Christians held captive and in danger of losing their faith. Read more about his heroic life and what he did about it on the website of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. (Fr. Joseph Eddy, O. de M. is the vocations director of the Order of Mercy.)
Visit the Mercedarians’ Facebook page.
It is important during this time to revisit the beginnings of our nation and the principles that it was founded upon. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our Founding Fathers were not Catholic; some may not have not even been considered Christians, yet they had the wisdom to recognize the existence of a higher law which cannot be infringed on by any person, community, or state. These men speak of what we, as Catholics, recognize as the Natural Law.
God writes in our hearts
The Natural Law is the law that God has produced in the world of creation which can be known even by those who are not people of faith. God has given us all an intellect which separates us from other parts of creation. Using our minds we can discern certain “truths” that God has written in our hearts. The truths found in the Natural Law can be known by those who have no knowledge of the Old Testament or its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
|January 22 — Day of Penance
In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 37 (USCCB website)
One of these truths is that killing is wrong, and the worst form of killing is the taking of “innocent life.” Basic reason tells us that abortion is wrong. We as a nation are guilty of the genocide of Abortion for forty years. We should know that this is evil from nature and the gift of reason. Besides that, the taking of innocent life goes against the Declaration of Independence and the principles of our Constitution.
An obligation to work to end abortion
The Pharisees in the Gospel put human laws above God’s Revelation about the Sabbath. We as a nation have put human law above the Natural Law, which has been written in the heart of every person. As Catholics we have more than a right to oppose Abortion, we have an obligation to work in every civil and just way to end this genocide.
What can we do now after forty years of the taking of innocent life? Well, we must do penance for our own apathy, for women and men who committed this act, and for those who support it. We all have a part in this genocide.
Now is not the time to condemn, but is the time to ask forgiveness and to pray that we may, as a nation, do better at “remaining faithful to the sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.” May God, who is loving and forgiving, have mercy on all of us! May He enable us to create a Culture of Life and forgiveness where we can begin being better stewards of creation given to our care!