Sunday, March 20, 2016

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 40: Faith creates opportunity

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,

Faith is a gift from God. 

Many of us were instructed in the Christian faith and given the examples of the martyrs, converts, family members and friends who went before us through the centuries. 

But the decision to believe in Christ ... and act upon that belief ... is left to us. 

We also have to answer the question, “What kind of a culture do we want?” 

How we respond to our faith in Christ determines the answer to that question. Over the past 40 days, we’ve seen a heroic response in 273 cities. 

As a result, babies scheduled to be aborted are alive today. Abortion facilities have closed after decades of doing business. And people have prayed, often in freezing weather, piercing the hearts of those who work in the abortion industry. 

We live in difficult times, but we need not be paralyzed by the current culture. We need to embrace the beautiful words of Our Lord: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

Faith creates opportunity – opportunity to change hearts, minds and attitudes in places we least expect it. 

We end this 40 Days for Life campaign with a story that speaks to the seeds that our faith in Christ can plant.

Plano, Texas

“We had the good fortune to chat with a couple college students who decided to pull over and stand with us,” said Steve in Plano. However, they were standing in front of Planned Parenthood with pro-choice signs. 

They said they were libertarians, which provided an opening for one of the vigil participants. He was also a libertarian, he said – and that’s why he was against abortion.

Abortion supporters often use the “it’s my body” argument. But the two young men agreed that there are cases in which individual freedom can be constrained – drunk driving laws, for instance, that take into account the rights of other drivers who do not consent to share the road with intoxicated motorists.

The same principle, they were told, applies to unborn babies, who have not consented to being aborted. Of course, at that point the two questioned whether the unborn have any rights.

The 40 Days for Life volunteer then quoted from the Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

The vigil participant emphasized “created equal,” not “born equal.”

The young men then objected that the baby is not conscious. The two were asked if they’d ever had surgery. And one had. 

“Were you under anesthesia? a volunteer asked. 

Yes, I was, the young man answered. 

Would it be okay if while you were under anesthesia the doctor decided to murder you because you are unconscious and you won’t be aware of it? 

Of course not! the young man answered. 

A second ago, you said consciousness was the barometer to determine whether it’s okay to murder. If you’re not conscious, why is it wrong for a doctor to kill you? 

Because I will regain consciousness, the college student answered. 

Exactly. And if left alone, the babies will become fully conscious – if they’re not already.”

After chatting for a long time, the two college students thanked the 40 Days for Life participants for talking with them. One even shared his email, requesting more information. They said they were surprised and pleased that they were allowed to ask questions and share their views without being ridiculed. 

“Folks, when the pro-choicers show up with their signs, that is a blessing,” Steve said. “It’s a blessing because whether they realize it or not, they’re often being called by God … and sometimes these encounters lead to spiritual conversions … because the Holy Spirit is at work on the grass.” 

Here’s today’s devotional from Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. 
Day 40 intention 

Let us keep our eyes fixed on the New Jerusalem, where death will be no more. 


He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" 

—Revelation 21:4-5 

Reflection from Fr. Frank Pavone 

Every activity we undertake in defense of the sanctity of life is prophetic, inasmuch as it points to the day when "death will be no more." 

Every victory we have when an act of abortion is prevented is prophetic of that day when death itself will be definitively conquered. 

Every triumph of grace in this world, whereby someone is brought to see the value of life and given the strength to welcome it, is a breaking into our history of that definitive future in which the old order of things will have passed, and all things will be made new. 

As pro-life warriors, we must keep our eyes fixed on heaven, and our hearts secure in the hope that the day is coming when all evil will be conquered. It is the future that shapes the present; it is victory that informs the battle; it is the destination that determines the journey. 

Daily, we are called to reflect on heaven. When we weep, we are to think of the day when every tear will be wiped away. 

When we face the destructive power of death, we are to think of the day when death is swallowed up in victory. 

When we labor against abortion, we are to think of the day when we will have the rest and peace of the final triumph of life. 

Heaven is as real as earth, and its joys will be as real as our present sorrows. 


Father, you are the God of hope. Your word fills us with the vision of the world to come, when every tear will be wiped away, and death will be no more. Father, how we need that hope, how we are strengthened by that vision! 

Keep our hearts focused on heaven, and diligent in the labors of earth. As we struggle against the culture of death, root our souls in the assurance of victory. We pray through Christ our Lord, Amen. 

Printable devotional 

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For life,

 Shawn Carney
40 Days for Life