“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).
Reflection: The single largest destroyer of human life in our nation and in the world is not poverty or AIDS; it is not heart disease or cancer; it is not terrorism or war. It is abortion. Some 50 million children around the world are killed each year by this procedure.
Prayer: Save us, O Lord, from the forces of destruction, especially those that we unleash upon ourselves. Enable us to pursue those things that will preserve our species and continue to fulfill your original command to multiply. Amen.
“There is a time for everything … a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
Reflection: Advocates of euthanasia use terms like “help in dying.” But this blurs the distinction between giving assistance to a dying person and causing their death. Mother Teresa “helped” many people “in dying.” She was present to them, assuring them that they were not alone, helping them find courage to face death, reminding them of their dignity, preparing them to meet the Lord. This is the legitimate meaning of death with dignity and of helping people to die.
Prayer: Lord, may we show the dying their dignity and your compassion. Amen.
”The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the Lord … They have built the high places … to burn their sons and daughters in the fire” (Jeremiah 7:30-31).
Reflection: A woman who saw the photos of aborted babies on the Priests for Life website wrote to us, “Let me state first that I am rarely if ever speechless, I am very outspoken and speak what I feel. The abortion images are jolting, and will haunt me the rest of my life. … I will never be silent about this matter again.”
Prayer: Jolt us, Lord; awaken us, and preserve us from sin. Amen.
“Give to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God what is due to God” (Matthew 22:21).
Reflection: When asked whether taxes should be paid to Caesar, Jesus asked whose image and inscription was on the coin. “Caesar’s,” came the answer. Jesus said the coin belongs to Caesar, for it bears Caesar’s image. What then belongs to God? — human beings, because they bear God’s image! The implication of the passage is that what belongs to God includes Caesar himself! Caesar must obey God.
Prayer: Lord, bless all those in civil authority, that they may obey your Divine and eternal law holding all life as sacred. Amen.
“Jesus spoke to men a message of peace, and taught us to live as brothers. His message took form in the vision of our fathers as they fashioned a nation where men might live as one. This message lives on in our midst as a task for men today and a promise for tomorrow. We thank you, Father, for your blessings in the past, and for all that with your help we must yet achieve” (Preface, Liturgy for Independence Day)
Reflection: The pro-life work we do advances the purpose of today’s celebration: liberty and justice for all.
Prayer: Lord, grant the blessings of liberty to our unborn brothers and sisters. Amen.
“If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1).
Reflection: Often, we tend to think that God is advocating against those who have committed sins against human life and dignity. Scripture tells us, however, that if we sin, he advocates for us – not, of course, to justify the sin, but to justify us, to bring us reconciliation, healing, and salvation. This is true precisely because of the dignity of the human person.
Prayer: Lord, as we steadfastly oppose sins against human life and dignity, may we steadfastly proclaim your mercy and healing. Amen.
“May the Lord cause your love to increase and overflow for one another and for everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
Reflection: The Pope and bishops have told us that we are not to “accommodate ourselves” to laws permitting abortion. This means much more than simply not having or participating in an abortion. It means not letting anything keep us from loving and defending the unborn. Laws permitting abortion try to “cap” our love for these children by telling us we cannot prohibit someone from killing them.
Prayer: Lord, let my love overflow all boundaries, that I may resist anyone’s effort to limit my love for those who are in danger of death. Amen.
“And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” – John 16:8
Reflection: Here is the reaction of a ‘pro-choice’ person upon seeing what abortion is: “I have looked at the pictures on this site on aborted babies and I started to cry. I have always believed in freedom of choice but after seeing this, I have to say this is just murder.”
Prayer: Lord, as you promised, your Holy Spirit teaches us about you, and helps us to see the full truth about what is right and wrong. May that Spirit reveal to our world its sin and its salvation. Amen.
“God intended it for good to accomplish … the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20)
Reflection: One of the simplest ways to stop abortions is to go to the facilities where the abortions happen and talk to the women who are walking in. This is called “sidewalk counseling.” It is legal in every state, and has saved countless lives. Training is available from pro-life organizations.
Prayer: Lord, I pray today for all sidewalk counselors who are pleading for the lives of the unborn. Give them grace and wisdom, patience and perseverance. Save many lives and souls through their loving intervention, and call many others to join their ranks. Amen.
“If only my anguish could be weighed …It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas” (Job 6:2-3).
Reflection: Those who have had abortions are more likely to be tempted to suicide. The mother may see death as the only way of being reunited with her child, and escaping the daily pain that the abortion brings. “I deprived my child of life,” she thinks, “and therefore I don’t deserve my own.”
Prayer: Lord, you are the God who overcomes despair, and whose mighty hand keeps us on the right path. Send your Spirit upon all who are tempted to suicide, and refresh them with new hope. Amen.