“So now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5).
Reflection: What was different about Jesus’ glory after he ascended to heaven than when he was in heaven before coming to earth? Now, he is in heaven in a human body and soul -- the same human nature that you and I share. The Ascension teaches the world the meaning and destiny of human life: We are called to be in the heights of heaven.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you took our humanity to the heights of heaven. When that same humanity is being thrown in the garbage, may we respond. 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.
“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will gather me up” (Psalm 27:10).
Reflection: Blessed Margaret of Castello (13th c.) is Patron of the Unwanted. When her parents, who were respected nobility, discovered at her birth that she was a badly deformed dwarf, hunchback and blind, they decided that they did not want anyone to see her. They refused to give her a name, locked her up in a small cell, and eventually abandoned her while traveling. Had we been among those who knew what Margaret’s parents were doing to her, would we have spoken up?
Prayer: Blessed Margaret, pray that we may speak up for the unwanted. Amen.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16-17).
Reflection: Our Lord referred to the Holy Spirit as another advocate, the first one being Jesus (1 Jn. 2:1) Because we cannot save ourselves, we need an advocate to speak up on our behalf and plead for our forgiveness and salvation. What, then, does the Holy Spirit do when he comes to them? He makes us advocates for the helpless!
Prayer: Come, O Spirit Advocate. Give speech to my tongue, to always defend vulnerable human lives! Amen!
“One of the soldiers thrust a lance into his side, and immediately a flow of blood and water came forth” (John 19:34).
Reflection: We worship Jesus’ heart. It is the core of the pro-life movement, which is a movement of self-sacrificing love. Nothing can stop the love of the Heart of Jesus, which is the meaning of the flame we see. This love is met by rejection and hatred, symbolized by the wound in the heart.
Prayer: Lord, when my love for the unborn is met with misunderstanding, ridicule, and persecution , fill my heart with yours, that I may continue to love those who cannot love me back. Amen.
“They lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash” (Ezekiel 13:10).
Reflection: Late-term abortionist George Tiller tells couples who come to him to abort, "The hard part is saying goodbye to the hopes, dreams and relationships that you have with your baby." He explains that patients may speak directly to their baby, and even has a chaplain who conducts spiritual services and baptisms for the children who are killed.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy. Move to repentance those who misuse the faith of others to justify wrongdoing, and heal all those who turn to you. Amen.
“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” (Job 6:11)
Reflection: Studies have shown that those who aborted their first pregnancy were four times more likely to engage in subsequent drug or alcohol abuse than those who never had an abortion. Sometimes this behavior is aimed at dulling the pain abortion brings, or it is done because the mother feels unworthy of living any more, unworthy of being protected, safe, and healthy.
Prayer: Lord, I pray today for those who are in pain and who feel unworthy of life. Reach down from heaven, heal their spirits, and give them new hope. Amen.
Reflection: If a mother has the right to choose to kill her innocent, unwanted child, why doesn't the child have the right to kill her innocent, unwanted mother? The deadly “logic” of putting choice above life endangers everyone. The “right to die” movement has nothing to do with people wanting to die. It has everything to do with people wanting to kill others whom they believe would be better off dead.
Prayer: Lord, I affirm today the primacy of life over choice. May every choice be guided and guarded by the immeasurable value of life. Amen.
National Director, Priests for Life and Missionaries of the Gospel of Life
President, National Pro-life Religious Council
Pastoral Director, Rachel's Vineyard
Fr. FRANK PAVONE is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. Originally from New York, he was ordained in 1988 by Cardinal John O’Connor, and since 1993 has served full-time in pro-life leadership with his bishop’s permission. He is the National
Director of Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels throughout the country, to an average of four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He produces programs regularly for religious and secular radio and television networks. He was asked by Mother Teresa to speak in India on the life issues, and has addressed the pro-life caucus of the United States House of Representatives. The Vatican appointed him to the Pontifical Academy for Life and to the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. He was present at the bedside of Terri Schiavo as she was dying and was an outspoken advocate for her life. He was invited by members of the Class of 2009 at Notre Dame to lead an alternate commencement ceremony for those students who refused to attend the ceremony in which President Obama was honored. Fr. Frank was invited by members of Congress to preach at the prayer service they had in the Capitol just prior to the vote on health care reform. He received the “Proudly Pro-life Award” by the National Right to Life Committee, and numerous other pro-life awards and honorary doctorates. He is the author of four books, Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It; Pro-life Reflections for Every Day; Abolishing Abortion, and Proclaiming the Message of Life. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade abortion decision, called Fr. Frank “the catalyst that brought me into the Catholic Church.