Do you know about the Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage? It is a Catholic-led movement to pray from today, 19 January, to 27 January to end abortion. I subscribed to daily emails from the USCCB for these nine days to remember to pray for this issue. When I received the first email this morning, I was groggy from little sleep and my mind was more focused on the errands I had to run during the day. I skipped reading the entire email, thinking I would get to it and pray later.
About an hour ago, I came across this post from a blog I've been recently following while on Twitter. It completely stopped me in my tracks. It is graphic, especially for any post-abortive. But if you are willing, I encourage you to read it. I could focus on the way the "nurse" and abortionists are described as impatient and barking, cold and seemingly sterile as the room. I could point out the fact that the horrific result of abortions is collected and covered up by a sheet; even the operators are aware of the gruesome indecency performed in those rooms. I could talk about how people, when faced with uncomfortable and convicting truth, try to squash down that reality, whether by dismissing it as unimportant, making excuses for their neglect, or ignoring it by covering it with a sheet. And I do want to talk about these things and probably will in a later post.
But today's prayer, and the real focus of this blog post, is on the lives of those women who have had abortions and are struggling with the truth of that decision every day. A lot of the time that I think about abortions, and likely when others do, my thoughts are on the children-who-could-have-been. A picture is painted in my head of helpless babies and self-entitled women who are either impossibly ignorant or entirely proud of their "choice." So often, I think we (or at least I) forget that not all women go into abortion clinics confident or completely unaware. I don't think anyone can be completely unaware of what abortion really does. I think people can ignore it: I think people can ignore the fact that thousands of humans are murdered every day under the guise of a "choice," or even more astounding, "a reproductive health right." I think people can forget that women, and men, wake up the day after, and a month after, and several years after, and they still feel raw grief from abortions.
I cannot begin to imagine what waking up with that grief and despair must be like. I don't ever want to experience it, but I also never want to forget that it happens to women around the world every day. We should never forget that, in whatever circumstances, women make grave decisions, the echo of which never leaves them. We should never forget that they, like all of us, are in need of prayer. We should never assume a higher, judgmental role, never think that we know who a person really is, never pretend that the pain of abortion does not spread its clinging roots throughout our society like a rampant weed.
Remember and pray for women who have had abortions. Remember and pray for the men who have been at their sides. Pray that they will know the all-consuming love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that in Him they will find solace. Remember and pray for us. Pray that we will not twist and drive deeper the knife in their hearts, but bring them the love and peace of the Lord.
"Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things; hold fast that which is good. From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves. And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is faithful who hath called you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us."
—1 Thessalonians 5 :16-25