Christmas Reflections on Pro-life, and Looking Ahead to Jan. 22

Christmas Reflections on Pro-life, and Looking Ahead to Jan. 22

Below is my latest column, The Imperative of Christmas, but first let me give you some other important updates.

We are gearing up for the January Pro-Life events in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA.  Please join me for the 20th Annual National Memorial for the Preborn and Their Mothers and Fathers on January 22, the day of the March for Life, from 8:30-10:30am at DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC.   I will be joined by clergy from across the country and across denominational lines.   There will be a Catholic Mass before the event at 7:30am at the same location.   For more information see NationalPrayerService.com.

The National Memorial is open to the public and clergy of all denominations are invited to take part in reciting the prayers and reading scripture passages Any clergy who are interested in participating should email Christa at memorial@priestsforlife.org.   We are also looking for people who like to sing to join our combined choir to lead the congregation in song.  If you are interested, you can also email Christa at the same email address above.

Are you leading a bus/group to Washington DC for the annual March for Life? Or do you know the organizer(s) in your community who are doing so? We will once again make special materials available for the people on your bus. Just let me know if you are interested, at orders@priestsforlife.org. (If you are a bus captain yourself, please let me know that, too!)

For more information on March for Life events in Washington, DC and San Francisco, see PriestsForLife.org/MarchForLife .

During this Advent season please join us for an Advent Prayer for Life from December 1–December  23.  You can find the text of the prayers at PrayerCampaign.org.

I have written an e-book, Christmas for the Unborn, that will enrich your Advent and Christmas.  Advent is a perfect time to re-dedicate ourselves to proclaim, celebrate, and serve the Gospel of Life and you will draw strength and courage for this work from this e-book.  Order at  PriestsForLife.org/ebooks.

Finally, please continue to pray for the success of our lawsuit against the HHS Mandate.  The Priests for Life case was heard in U.S. District Court last Monday, December 9 and we expect a decision in this case very soon.  Go to PriestsForLife.org/HHSMandate for more information.

Blessings,

pavonenew.jpg

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Praise for our work:  I burst into tears when I saw that I had received a reply from Priests for Life [about my testimony]. Yes, I am grateful to write my testimony and you have my permission to post it on your website. I thank you for your kind words of compassion, the promise of prayers and the knowing that someone cares about what happened to me in this life.

The Imperative of Christmas

by Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Christmas is about God teaching us what love means. As Scripture tells us,

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son  into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for  our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

God took on a body at Christmas, and became visible, so that love could become visible. By having his own blood, he could shed it for us. By having his own body, he could offer it on the cross for us. And he shows this visibly so that we can imitate it. Hence Saint John writes,

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).

That includes our brothers and sisters still in the womb, the children who are deprived of legal protection of their very lives (and therefore of all their other rights as well).

We are to lay down our lives for them! This is no abstract, make-believe, or half-hearted commitment. This is discipleship, which admits of no cheap grace. A passionate adherence to Christ — who took on a body at Christmas and has it to this day — means a passionate imperative to rescue the needy and to save them, not just spiritually but physically.

Basil of Caesarea, for instance, fought intensely against abortion and infanticide in the 4th century Roman Empire.

“So passionate was Basil in his concern for life that apparently, late one evening after Vespers, he and several deacons from the church actually went outside the city to dismantle the old Caesarean infanticide shrine with their bare hands. He knew that such direct action could very well have jeopardized his standing, but he was driven by an irrepressible spiritual imperative…

“Hearing of Basil’s solitary crusade, the Emperor Valentinian took the first step toward the full criminalization of child-killing in 374…’” {Third Time Around: A history of the Pro-life Movement from the First Century to the Present, by George Grant, 1991, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, pp.20-21)

Notice the reference to being “passionate,” and to the “irrepressible spiritual imperative.” It is that expressed above by Saint John. Because Christ came among us physically and gave his life on the cross, we can give our lives for one another. We can take risks to protect one another. Basil was stirred by a physical evil, inspired by a God who became physical in the Incarnation,  and impelled to physical action.

God becoming visible at Christmas is not only a blessing we receive; it is an obligation we accept. In receiving the one who took on a body precisely to sacrifice it for us, we accept the duty and privilege of sacrificing our own bodies, possessions, and lives in order to love one another, especially the oppressed, first among whom are the unborn.

Read and listen to this column online at Priestsforlife.org/columns/4825-the-imperative-of-christmas

Comments on this column? Go to Askfrfrank.com

Fr. Frank’s columns are podcast. See Priestsforlife.org/podcast

Remember to support our work at Priestsforlife.org/donate

Lo Fundamental de la Navidad

La Navidad se trata de Dios enseñándonos lo que el amor significa. Como nos dice la Escritura:

“Miren como se manifestó el amor de Dios entre nosotros: Dios envió a su Hijo único a este mundo para que tengamos vida por medio de Él. En esto está el amor: no es que nosotros hayamos amado a Dios, sino que Él nos amó primero y envió a su Hijo como víctima por nuestros pecados.” (1 Juan 4: 9-10)

Dios se hizo de un cuerpo en Navidad, y se volvió visible, de tal manera que el amor se volviera también visible. Al tener ahora sangre propia, puede derramarla por nosotros. Al tener cuerpo propio, puede ofrecerlo en la cruz por nosotros. Y Él hace esto a la vista de todos para que podamos imitarle. De ahí que San Juan diga:

“Y en esto hemos conocido el amor; ahora también nosotros debemos dar la vida por los hermanos.” (1 Juan 3:16)

Eso incluye a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que están aún en el vientre, los niños que son privados de la protección legal de sus vidas (y por lo tanto, al mismo tiempo, de sus derechos).

¡Estamos dispuestos a dar nuestras vidas por ellos! Esto no es abstracto, ficción, o un compromiso tibio. Esto es discipulado, que no admite gracia barata. Una adhesión apasionada a Cristo – quien se hizo carne en Navidad y aún lo tiene hasta nuestros días – significa una apasionada obligación a rescatar a los que necesitan ser salvados, no sólo espiritualmente sino físicamente.

Basilio de Cesarea, por ejemplo, luchó intensamente en contra del aborto y el infanticidio en el cuarto siglo del Imperio Romano.

“Tan apasionado era Basilio en su preocupación por la vida que, aparentemente, ya tarde al final de un día después de las Vísperas, él y varios diáconos de la Iglesia salieron de la ciudad a desmantelar el viejo templo de infanticidios de Cesarea con sus propias manos. Él sabía que tal acción directa bien podría comprometer su lucha, pero le movía una obligación espiritual irrefrenable…

Sabiendo de la solitaria cruzada de Basilio, el emperador Valentino dio el primer paso hacia el reconocimiento de la plena criminalización del infanticidio en el año 374…” (Tomado de Third Time Around: A history of the Pro-life Movement from the First Century to the Present, by George Grant, 1991, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, pp.20-21)

Notemos la referencia a “apasionado” y “obligación espiritual irrefrenable”. Es justo lo expresado arriba por San Juan. Porque Cristo vino al mundo físicamente y dio su vida en la cruz, nosotros podemos darla por otro. Podemos correr riesgos al protegernos unos a otros. Basilio se estremeció por un mal físico, inspirado por un Dios que se volvió físico en la Encarnación, y le impulsó a una acción física.

El hacerse Dios visible en la Navidad no es solamente una bendición que recibimos; es una obligación que aceptamos. Al recibir a Áquel que se hizo de un cuerpo precisamente para sacrificarse por nosotros, aceptamos el deber y privilegio de sacrificar nuestros propios cuerpos, nuestras posesiones y vidas para amarnos unos a otros, especialmente a los oprimidos, siendo los primeros los no nacidos.

Esta columna se puede encontrar en la página de Priestsforlife.org/columns/document-sp.aspx?id=4825

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone: 888-PFL-3448
718-980-4400
Fax: 718-980-6515
Email: mail@priestsforlife.org
www.priestsforlife.org

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