Memorial of St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr; Day of Prayer for the Protection of Unborn Children (United States)

The verse before the gospel today says that “Our Lord Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). This passage is providential in America, as we remember today the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and its tragic aftermath. This passage provides us with hope, as it assures us that Jesus has destroyed and is destroying death in the world. It also reminds us that ultimate victory over death comes through Jesus Christ, rather than through our own efforts, advocacy, or political actions (good as these are). The option of wearing purple vestments–a penitential color– on this day is also a reminder that we have no cause to be triumphant. Rather, we pray for those affected by abortion and repent of our own sins and involvement, however tangential, in creating a culture of death. As we do penance and consider these things, we will have a good companion in Dorothy Day.

Dorothy Day, Servant of God, had an abortion in 1919, at age 21. Today, her cause for sainthood is open. She did not often speak of the subject in general, and almost never discussed with others her own abortion. Yet those occasions when she did speak on the subject, it was with the clarity and gentleness of one who knows redemption. If others have a change of heart, it will be due less to our arguments and more through our living out the Culture of Life as a good and attractive thing. In the end, it is God’s grace that will bring triumph over death, both in the world and in our own hearts. On Saturday, many of us will march in protest against what Day herself called “a form of genocide.” Today, we pray in penance, examine our sins, and trust that Jesus Christ is destroying death.

January 22nd, 2015