Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children - January 22nd

by Tom Susanka
January 18, 2018 - 9:19pm

...a day that will live in infamy.

This description of December 7th, 1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is a phrase which drew our nation's attention to the shocking destruction of innocent lives at Pearl Harbor. That destruction, and a determined resistance to the worldwide violence which it anticipated, propelled the United States into World War II.

The unexpected attack on American seamen early on a Sunday morning so many years ago had many terrible consequences. But it also lead to a purifying and reviving national turning to God in prayer, sacrifice, and charity. Our united resistance to a mortal threat to our security and our very life was enriched by a tireless plea for God's mercy and protection. And God was indeed generous.

January 22nd, 1973, is another such “day that will live in infamy.” This was the day the Supreme Court of the United States declared that unborn babies could be destroyed in the womb, for any reason whatever, from the moment of conception to the moment of birth. Since that fateful day, more than 60 million babies have lost their lives in induced abortions in our nation. This gives the term “holocaust” an especially personal meaning. More than 60 million mothers have lost their babies through violence done to their bodies.

A deep sorrow overhangs our national and family lives. But in 2010, our bishops issued a clarion call to Catholics and all Christians to join hearts and minds especially on January 22nd each year in fervent prayer to God for courage and charity in our resolve to restore a culture of life and establish the legal protection of the most innocent among us. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal which governs our daily and Sunday liturgies designates January 22nd our national “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children” and calls us to special prayer and penance on that day.

Already we can see encouraging changes and beautiful graces lighting our way forward. Many states and have passed laws to promote life, not death. Judicial and executive decisions at every level in our nation are again moving us toward a true culture of life. But we are only moving toward, we do not yet live in, such a culture. Let us take seriously our obligation to pray and do penance in the way we each can on Monday, January 22nd, for the sake of the true well being of the unborn among us and for our beloved United States itself.

St. Paul eloquently reminded us this past Sunday in his letter to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” These words can be our prayer on Monday.

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