18 January 2014

9 Days for Life 2014: Day I

For each day of 9 Days for Life, I want to write down some of my thoughts in each stage. Here is what Day One looks like.

Intercession: Today's intercession is for mothers who have had abortions. We pray that they will come to Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for love and healing.

I absolutely love that our first intention for the novena is for women. Cries of "End abortion!" from pro-lifers are often mistakenly interpreted as if we care only for children and not for women. This couldn't be further from the truth. The true pro-life stance embraces life at all stages and in any circumstance. Therefore, we wish to show women the love of Christ. We wish to tell them that none forgives like Christ. We wish to tell them that in Him they will find peace.

Reflection: Today's Gospel reading is Mark 2:13-17.

Jesus went out along the sea. 
All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, 
sitting at the customs post. 
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 
And he got up and followed Jesus. 
While he was at table in his house, 
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;  
for there were many who followed him. 
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners 
and tax collectors and said to his disciples, 
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  
Jesus heard this and said to them, 
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
To the surprise of the Pharisees, Jesus sits with sinners. "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" they ask. Even Matthew, one of the Apostles and one of the Gospel writers, was a tax collector. The people with whom Jesus associates seem unworthy and unlikely. Jesus answers, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do."

This reading goes well with today's intention. It is easy to look with judgement upon someone who has sinned. In the case of a woman who has had an abortion, we are incredulous as the Pharisees: how could she have done that? Jesus reminds us to look with compassion on others, for all have sinned. Those who have gravely sinned require our love and prayers most. This thought reminds me of:

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” - G. K. Chesterton

Act of Reparation: Pray for your deceased relatives and those how have no one to pray for them.

As a convert, this prayer is always a little bit strange for me, since I can't really recall relatives who were very devout Catholics (they were too many generations in the past). However, this is my one way to connect with them and I like to think that they would be happy I have joined them in their faith years later.

This prayer also encourages us to pray for those living and dead who have no one to pray for them. How many souls there must be in Purgatory praying for us while we do not know them. Having completed their earthly life practicing holiness and continuing the holy practice of prayer for us, we are indebted to the souls in Purgatory. While we benefit from their prayers, let us not forget to pray for them to sooner meet God face to face.

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