We were blessed to have beautiful weather at the March for Life in Washington D.C., on January 27. It was a great experience for the Theology III seminarians to be there with so many people who continued to march against the 1971 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. It is a sad history for our nation that a majority of our states who had laws to prohibit abortion was forced to change them when the Supreme Court overruled the decision of the lower courts.
However, a new movement began to be born out of this tragedy and people began to march for the rights of the unborn in 1973. It is now 2017 and for forty-four years, people have been faithful to the March for Life. It is inclusive; you will find Catholics, Christians of other denominations, and those who want to defend the sacredness of human life regardless of their faith perspective.
I have been blessed to participate in the March for Life a few times in my life, but this march was different than the rest. The state of our country was different back then and I guess I have matured since then. The other marches seemed to be more aggressive in defending life, which is a good thing, but the Catholic faith was being attacked profusely, which caused us to be more defensive at times. However, this March for Life was not like that. The march was about defending life but done in a compassionate manner, which really reflected Pope Francis’s 2016 Year of Mercy theme.
All of the homilists and speakers spoke of the personal hurt and social damage that abortion causes. They didn’t stop there—all spoke about loving those young mothers who had unplanned pregnancies and who felt pressured to terminate the child within them.
Vice President Mike Pence expressed this merciful approach so elegantly in his speech at the youth rally, “We will continue to win the hearts of and minds of the rising generation if our hearts first break for young mothers and their unborn children.” This approach is beginning to happen because I saw it on the March for Life this year. So many young women were marching and even talking to the protestors to change their minds. The female marchers were kind to these other women who were protesting against life.
Our nation has been hurt and abused so much through the damage of abortion and social injustices that we long for a time of hope and healing. This was my prayer as I was marching. I felt compassionate love as I prayed for those who were against the sanctity of life.
The words of Vice President Pence were still in my mind, “Life is winning . . . The truth is being told. Compassion is overcoming convenience and hope is overcoming despair.” I then heard the voice of Jesus saying to me within my heart, “This is what I long to give to my people, my love and desire for their healing. I want them to immerse them within my love to be a Father to my wandering sheep.”