January 22, 2020
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Lectionary: 315

Hebrews 8:6-13
Psalm 85:8 and 10, 11-12, 13-14
Mark 3:13-19

Praying Ordinary Time

U.S. Catholic Bishops' Site for this Day of Prayer

Collect for Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life:

God our Creator,
we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother's womb;
grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.

Because of historical developments, we easily associate a date with some important event, without needing to mention the year. Nine-eleven is deeply ingrained in our memory as the date of the terrorist attack on the twin towers of New York City, when more than 3,000 people were killed. December 7th reminds our nation of the attack on Pearl Harbor, when almost 2,500 people were killed. August 6th is for the Japanese nation a very painful reminder of the destruction of Hiroshima by the first atomic bomb that killed more than 160,00 people. Today, January 22nd, marks another event, the legalization of abortion, that has resulted in many more deaths of unborn children than the above-mentioned dates combined.

That decision has resulted also in the deepest polarization in the country, a polarization that has left almost no room for civic dialog. That decision confronts what is seen as the right of a human being with the right of another human being already conceived, even if not yet born. Within society, however, individual rights do not exist in isolation as absolutes regardless of their effect on others.

Obviously, from an unbeliever’s angle such a conflict would not exist, since the unbeliever would not consider an unborn child a human life, just “pregnancy tissue”. But we are believers and it is our faith that motivates us to focus our prayer at the celebration of the Eucharist. As long as that is the law of the country, it is not in our power to change it, at least not now. That is why our Church has instituted this Day of Prayer for the legal Protection of Unborn Children, even as we wait for conditions to change.

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