January 23, 2023
by Andy Alexander, S.J.
Creighton University's Collaborative Ministry Office
click here for photo and information about the writer

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Lectionary: 317

Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
Psalms 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6
Mark 3:22-30

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.

This Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children is a special day on the Church Calendar in the United States. It is an opportunity to pray - to turn to our God, the Author of all life - to ask for the graces we need to protect, by means of the law, the lives of unborn children. It is a special occasion to reflect on the sacredness of all life from conception to natural birth. When we find ourselves reaching out, in our reflection, to human life we can not see - human life in its development - we can grow in a deeper respect for all human life. Defending unborn human life can help us be more conscious advocates for all human life after birth. Especially, the human lives of those who are not so easy to defend: murderers on death row, enemy combatants, people are on the margins of our society.

In the gospel for this Monday in the Third Week of Ordinary Time, Jesus is confronted by religious leaders who try to twist what he is saying and represents, to such a degree that they call Jesus evil. The debate over the sancity of human life has too often resulted in each side demonizing the other. It's hard to imagine it any other way. Jesus is clearly not evil. Demonizing is really not of the Spirit.

To pray for the legal protection of unborn human life is to become an advoctates for "safeguarding the dignity of every human life." It is praying that our God will help us find ways to protect the identity of unborn life as human in its origin, and worthy of legal protection. At the same time, we must pray for those who find themselves in unexpected, unwanted, even forced prenancies. We can ask how we can together aid those women in their difficult circumstances, in ways that protect the life developing within them, and support those women with their difficult decision to give birth to that life. To pray today for the protection of unborn human life, invites us to be advocates for all human life, for dignity of each human person, at every stage of life, in every circumstance. May the Author of Life help us find a way.

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