Prayer for Life at Pro-Life Rallies in Fort Wayne and South Bend: January 2021
By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Based on Chapter 1 of the Encyclical “The Gospel of Life” by Pope St. John Paul II.
Let us pray:
Lord God our Father, at the beginning of human history, after Cain killed his brother Abel, you said to Cain: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” Indeed, from generation to generation, the voice of the blood shed by men continues to cry out to you, the voice of victims of armed conflict and war, of violence against life, including the violence against millions of people today, especially children, refugees forced into poverty, malnutrition, and hunger. On this 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we hear the voice of the millions of unborn children killed in their mothers’ wombs. And we hear you saying to us and to our nation what you said to Cain: “What have you done?”
Lord, we repent that our nation allows human life to be struck at the time of its greatest frailty, when it lacks any means of self-defense, life in the womb, and even upon coming forth from the womb: abortion and infanticide. We also repent of the attempts to eliminate the severely disabled, the terminally ill, and the elderly when they are not self-sufficient, through various forms of euthanasia.
Lord our God, you asked Cain: “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain answered you: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” We know the answer to that question is “yes,” because, Lord, you entrust us to one another. You have given us the wonderful gift of freedom, but this freedom destroys itself when we see it as absolute autonomy. The pro-choice philosophy is a corruption of your gift of freedom for it gives to people power over others and against others. As your servant, John Paul II wrote: “To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance.” It is the death of true freedom. Lord, we thank you for the gift of living in our democracy, yet we know that the democratic ideal is only truly such when it is obedient to the truth of your law, when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person created in your image.
Lord, our country pledges to be one nation under You with liberty and justice for all. Help us to understand that liberty is only true when linked to truth, the truth of the dignity of every person created in your image. Help us to work for true justice and to eradicate injustices, to eradicate racial injustice and the injustice of the denial of the right to life.
Lord, it is not only the voice of the blood of Abel that cries out to you. The blood of every other human being who has been killed since Abel is also raised to you. The voice of the blood of your Son, of whom Abel is a prophetic figure, cries out to you. His is the sprinkled blood that the letter to the Hebrews tells us “speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.” We thank you for His Precious Blood which redeems, purifies and saves. It reveals your love and shows how precious we are in your eyes and how priceless the value of human life. Your Son’s blood was poured out as the gift of life. It is no longer a sign of death, but the instrument of life, eternal life. It is from His blood that we draw the strength to commit ourselves to promoting and defending life. His blood is the most powerful source of our hope, the foundation of our certitude that in your plan, Father, life will be victorious. Give us hope and give us courage to bear witness to the Gospel of life, to build a culture of life and love, all to your praise and glory, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.