Essential to the spiritual life of Catholics is the need to praise God in our distress. Praise and adoration are what we need to do before we engage in supplication. It is tempting in difficult times to rush into pleading our heart’s desire. But praise and thanksgiving give us a necessary perspective for our petitions. They help us to see all that is good in our lives, and how God is the source of it all.
In so doing, praise and thanksgiving are restorative in our distress. In counting all of the good, the bad seems less capable of overwhelming us, and our faith in a loving Father’s providence is sustained and renewed.
Today is a perfect day for praise and thanksgiving in light of the potentially devastating passage of legislation this weekend that threatens life on both ends of the spectrum as never before. We may begin by focusing not on those pro-life legislators who turned and walked away, but on those who stood strong, and what that means for us going forward. We praise God for the resoluteness of men and women who stood most especially with the unborn and with the redeeming character of our nation.
We look at this past weekend and see how the American landscape has crystallized. In this, I am reminded of the verdict scene in the Spencer Tracy classic, Judgment at Nuremberg, when Tracy as the presiding judge states:
“But this trial has shown that under a national crisis ordinary, even able and extraordinary men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them. Men sterilized because of political belief. A mockery made of friendship and faith. The murder of children.
“How easily it can happen.
“There are those in our own country, too, who today speak of the protection of country, of survival. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way.
“The answer to that is: Survival as what? A country isn’t a rock. It’s not an extension of one’s self. It’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult.
“Before the people of the world let it now be noted that here in our decision, this is what we stand for:
“Justice…truth… and the value of a single human being.”
Indeed, this is where we stand, though not enough of us. Not yet. This Culture of Death has been a long time in the making, and will take more than a few legislative or judicial fiats to turn around. It’s going to take the rebuilding of a Christian civilization of love, based upon an authentic Christian anthropology.
It’s going to take people grasping their intrinsic worth. That makes each of us today an evangelist. That alone is cause for great rejoicing, as each of us is called forth to do the work of building a civilization of love. At least now we know who has stood strong when standing for life and love was most difficult.
Make no mistake, a battle has been lost, but Jesus assures us through His death and resurrection that the war’s outcome has already been determined. And so today we need to lift our heads and hearts in praise.
We give praise for a very sophisticated pro-life movement.
We give praise for the growing numbers of scientists and physicians who are coming forward and using their expertise to tell the truth of what science and medicine have to say about life.
We give praise for an internet that came into maturity just when an unfiltered medium for our message was most needed.
We give praise for the fifty percent of 300,000+ Marchers for Life this year who are under the age of twenty-five.
We give praise for the growing bonds of fraternity between religious denominations uniting around our common humanity after centuries of hostility and suspicion.
We give praise for the technologies such as ultrasound, which have given us an unprecedented view and participation in the wonder of our own development, and for those who employ this technology at crisis pregnancy centers, which save ninety percent of their babies from slaughter.
We give praise for post-abortive healing ministries such as Lumina and Rachel’s Vineyard that are restoring post-abortive women and men to wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
We give praise for the increasing generosity of benefactors who sustain all of these ministries and activist organizations.
We give praise for over one thousand pro-life bloggers who advance the conversation, unite the movement’s efforts and support one another in their prayers.
We give praise for sidewalk counselors and organizations whose mission is to shut down abortuaries.
We give praise for being alive in this time, in this nation, called to this task.
Most of all we give praise for God’s Love, without which we can do nothing, and with which we cannot be defeated. There is little more that we need ask.
He has given us all we need to carry on this great work to which we are called.
Rolling up our sleeves, we move forward.
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