Today is the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that legalized abortion in the United States. For Catholics it is a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. The March for Life is being held in Washington, DC and the Apostleship of Prayer’s Youth and Young Adult Director, Jesuit scholastic Santiago Rodriguez, has gone to represent us there.Last year Pope Benedict XVI tweeted a message of support to the March, saying that he would “join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life.” This year Pope Francis tweeted: “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
There are several options for the prayers and readings at Mass today and one of them involves wearing the violet vestments that are seen during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent. This is also a day of penance and reparation for sins against life.Reparation is what Jesus came to do. It means repairing the damage that sin has caused, balancing the evil that has been done with prayer, sacrifice, and works of charity. Jesus suffered and died on the cross and in that way took away the sins of the world. We can join him in that ongoing work as we offer our sacrifices, inconveniences, and hardships.
St. Faustina, the Polish nun and apostle of Divine Mercy, wrote in her diary about making reparation for the sin of abortion. The following is section 1276:“September 16, 1937. I wanted very much to make a Holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament today. But God’s will was otherwise. At eight o’clock I was seized with such violent pains that I had to go to bed at once. I was convulsed with pain for three hours; that is, until eleven o’clock at night. No medicine had any effect on me, and whatever I swallowed I threw up. At times, the pains caused me to lose consciousness. Jesus had me realize that in this way I took part in His Agony in the Garden, and that He Himself allowed these sufferings in order to offer reparation to God for the souls murdered in the wombs of wicked mothers. I have gone through these sufferings three times now. They always start at eight o’clock in the evening and last until eleven. No medicine can lessen these sufferings. When eleven o’clock comes, they cease by themselves, and I fall asleep at that moment. The following day, I feel very weak.
“This happened to me for the first time when I was at the sanatorium. The doctors couldn’t get to the bottom of it, and no injection or medicine helped me at all or did I myself have any idea of what the sufferings were about. I told the doctor that never before in my life had I experienced such sufferings, and he declared he did not know what sort of pains they are. But now I understand the nature of these pains, because the Lord himself has made this known to me. Yet when I think that I may perhaps suffer in this way again, I tremble. But I don’t know whether I’ll ever again suffer in this way; I leave that to God. What it pleases God to send, I will accept with submission and love. If only I could save even one soul from murder by means of these sufferings!”Several weeks ago, on December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, during my weekly radio show on Radio Maria, I interviewed Peggy Hamill, the director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, who is a regular participant in the monthly All Night Vigil of Prayer and Reparation that is held on First Fridays in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. We talked about the importance of prayer and making reparation for the evil of abortion. You can hear the interview at the Radio Maria website here.