On November 21st, 2013, I had the honor to be the keynote speaker for Heroic Media’s first ever “Prayer breakfast for Life.” The event took place at the Hilton Lincoln Centre in Dallas.
Good morning everyone! I’m not a morning person, which isn’t a good thing if you are a priest…So I hope and pray my message today makes some sense.
We just finished watching some of Heroic Media’s ads and I must say they inspired me. But they also inspired the artist in me. So if Mike ever got the awful idea of asking me to design an ad for Heroic Media, I would do the following: I would have a baby in the middle of the screen with the number of abortions per year superimposed. That number would begin to go down from over one million to zero. And then John Lennon’s song would be heard: “Imagine all the people, LIVING.” That’s it. It would stop right there, right after the word “living.” Living is fundamental.
Life is what makes earth special. Living is what makes life so special. I find it bizarre – weird – how we must organize events to promote, yep, LIFE! I find it very Orwellian how we must advertise for… LIFE.
Imagine for a moment if NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, discovered a living cell. The major media outlets would be screaming “THERE IS LIFE ON MARS!” And yet, very few are willing to acknowledge the life found in a mother’s womb.
How ridiculous. How sad. But it is not surprising. Pro-lifers are sane people in an insane world.
We have all read the recent headlines:
BLOOMBERG: “Pope says Church should stop obsessing over… abortion”
CBS LOCAL: “Pope Francis tells Catholic Church to stop obsessing over…abortion”
REUTERS: “Pope says Church must end obsession with…abortion”
HUFFINGTON POST: “…Abortion too much of Catholic Church’s obsession.”
THE GUARDIAN: “Pope Francis sets out vision for more gay people and women in ‘new’ Church.”
THE DAILY BEAST: “The Pope confesses Church’s obsession with…abortion.”
Now you know what I read in the morning! I’m sure you were all expecting FOXNEWS.
But what exactly is the Holy Father saying? It’s simple. A long time ago, our Church leaders basically said, Don’t focus on political parties; focus on issues. So rather than endorse a particular party or specific candidate, the Catholic Church decided to focus on the issues. Now, Pope Francis is taking it one step further. He is asking us to not only focus on issues but more importantly on people, all people. All sorts of people: atheists, gays, the poor, the abandoned, etc…
This is both new and old.
Jesus saw a tax collector. He looked at him with love and said, “Follow me” (cf. Mt 9:9). He even looked at the adulterous woman with love and said, “No one has condemned you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (cf. John 8:10).
What has made the Pro-Life movement so successful in the United States? Again, it’s simple. While the world is truly obsessed with abortion and abortion rights, we have been obsessed with people and their dignity.
You may not realize it, but unfortunately there are places in the Church (and world) where women, who have had an abortion, are shunned and slammed by Church officials. Thank God, not here! And this is why we have been so successful at reducing the number of abortions, increasing the number of Pro-Life supporters and converting the hearts of well known abortion advocates as well as providers.
The Pro-Life movement reaches out to women before and after their abortions. Now, we must begin to do the same with others: boyfriends, husbands, parents and even grandparents! We must change our culture, and it will only happen if we look at people with love.
The Holy Father recently compared the Catholic Church to a field hospital. What is the mission of the Church? Heal wounds. Warm hearts. Hold hands. People need nearness, proximity. The Church is a hospital with lots of wounded.
The Holy Father’s hope is this: That we see not only the child we wish to save, but also child in each and every one of us.
To do this is nothing short of heroic.
Heroic Media saves lives through the power of media. Heroic Media’s mission to connect women in crisis pregnancies with pregnancy resource centers and adoptions agencies changes the lives of women and saves the lives of their babies. For more information, visit their website: www.heroicmedia.org (43)