When was the last time prayer made the news? It happened this past weekend, as Pope Benedict XVI led a worldwide prayer vigil for nascent human life.
The Pontiff urged bishops around the globe to participate in the event, which was consistently advertised on cable news tickers on Saturday.
Accompanying the prayers were some pointed remarks aimed at defending perhaps the most vulnerable among us—the human embryo.
The Associated Press reported that the Pope remarked that the embryo is “not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and marvelously ordered, a new individual of the human species.”
But Pope Benedict’s concern for human life does not end at birth. As he stated, “Unfortunately, even after birth the life of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, misery, sickness, abuse, violence and exploitation.”
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Most Reverend Joseph P. McFadden, bishop of Harrisburg, led a crowd of people from throughout the diocese in a procession to the city’s St. Patrick Cathedral, where he pointed out that technology should never lead us to decide that certain people should not be born. The bishop noted that decisions of life and death should rest with God alone.
The Pope’s decision to hold a worldwide day of prayer for unborn human beings shows where the starting point should be for faith-filled members of the pro-life movement: prayer. Lobbying, letter-writing, diaper-collecting, and marching are all important—and the pro-life movement won’t succeed without all of them. But the inspiration for our actions should rest with the Author of all human life—God.
Sidewalk counselors, who offer compassion and counsel to help women seek alternatives to abortion, will tell you that things start happening, and hearts start changing, when people are praying in front of abortion centers. The 40 Days for Life campaign, which is fueled by prayer and fasting, has saved the lives of thousands of children and caused dozens of abortion center workers to walk away from the lethal abortion business.
It is also appropriate that the Pope’s worldwide prayer vigil begin on the eve of Advent, a time of waiting for Christ’s coming at Christmas. Pro-lifers are waiting for the day when the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade is overturned and the issue of abortion returns to the states, which can then enact laws which will provide protection for preborn children and empowerment for their mothers.
This waiting period is not a time for idleness, but a period of preparation. We need to pray for the guidance needed to prepare hearts and minds for the overthrow of the Roe regime. We must pray for wisdom when pursuing interim legislation that will provide as much protection for human life as is possible until Roe falls into the dustbin of history, much as the Berlin Wall fell two decades ago. We must pray for courage for public officials, so that they are willing to stand up to the abortion giant known as Planned Parenthood. And we must pray that doctors will not succumb to the temptation of easy money by plying the abortion trade.
Legal abortion may seem ingrained in our society, but it doesn’t have to stay with us another 38 years. An abortion-free America is more than just a dream, because with God, all things are possible.
LifeNews.com Note: Maria Vitale is an opinion columnist for LifeNews.com. She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.