Today it has been announced that the Supreme Court has finally overturned the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. That fateful decision has resulted in the loss of many millions of lives in the womb over the past 49 years, and – please understand this – many more millions of wounded women (and men) who have participated directly or indirectly in the tragic event of abortion.
I do not judge anyone and I beg you not to judge anyone: abortion can happen to anyone. Some of the holiest people I know are people who have had an abortion experience in their past. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1). A young woman, a married woman, a teenage girl – a woman in any of these situations can find herself desperate and afraid and pressured to do what her heart really doesn’t want to do.
All too quickly it happens, and that traumatic experience scars her deeply. Many will subsequently experience depression, suicidal feelings, and try to medicate their pain through a variety of unhealthy behaviors. From that day forward so many things will trigger the painful memory and make it very difficult for her to forgive herself, much less to ask God to forgive her.
My friends, please understand that today’s news will be a trigger for many millions of post-abortive women (and men). I beg you to pray for them. PLEASE pray for them to be given special graces in this moment to turn to God and to ask for forgiveness. Pray for this news to motivate them to come to the Sacrament of Mercy and confess their sins and be given the grace that only God can give. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
In the course of my twenty years as a priest I have had the privilege to intervene in the lives of young women in crisis pregnancies. A young woman who is in an unhealthy relationship becomes pregnant and wants to end the pregnancy. She is scared and alone and already has other wounds and burdens in her life. Thanks be to God she finds herself open to talking with a priest. What an amazing gift it is to be God’s instrument in those dramatic situations and even baptize those precious children who have been saved.
Today’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of life marks a significant step forward toward building a Culture of Life in which every human being – regardless of size or age or health – is reverenced and loved.
We love the baby in the womb; we love the mother who is afraid and feels tempted to choose abortion; we love the baby with special needs; we love the elderly person who cannot feed himself or herself; we love the man on death row who has committed terrible crimes. Love is either unconditional or it is not love at all.
My friends, be very careful of the words you speak when the topic is abortion. Always assume that a post-abortive woman is within earshot. And so do not use words that judge or condemn; speak in a way that assures her that God cares for her. Especially as Catholics we have a duty to be ambassadors of God’s love and mercy.
This week we will have “Five Holy Hours for Life and Mercy” to ask God’s blessing on our nation. Each Holy Hour will take place in the church at 3:00pm, the Hour of Mercy. Kindly mark your calendars and participate. I also suggest that you mark your calendars for June 24, 2023 – I’m betting that we’ll no longer assemble in Washington DC to march for life on January 22 but rather on this new date which marks the day that the healing of our nation began